Community celebrates Earth Day at Space Park Leicester

Michelle Reader with her new sculpture at Space Park Leicester.

School children and members of the community descended on Space Park Leicester to take part in a major Earth Day celebration.

Wolsey House Primary School pupils and members of the public joined experts from the National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO) at the University of Leicester’s £100 million science and innovation park on Monday 22 April for a range of biodiversity activities held to mark Earth Day.

The event raised awareness about environmental conservation and featured a range of eco activities including bulb planting, recycled insect making, litter picking, camera trap footage from Space Park Leicester’s grounds and a bird walk led by Professor of Astronomy and Space Instrumentation Mark Sims.

Professor Sims said: “At Space Park Leicester, we’re committed to promoting environmental sustainability.

“Our Earth Day event was fantastic and we were delighted to bring together schools and the wider community to explore the crucial role of science and technology in safeguarding our planet’s future.”

A highlight of the event was the unveiling of a new sustainable sculpture, called For Harmony and Wonder, by renowned artist Michelle Reader which is primarily made from space-related waste materials.

Its design is based on the interlinking of the circular seals of the Terra Carta and Astra Carta – two charters which have been developed to act as a commitment for international corporations to act in a way that is sustainable and thoughtful.

The sculpture includes a door housing from India’s first dedicated Space Astronomy Observatory and parts of two mandels that were used as formers to create mirror cones for the Mercury Imaging X-Ray Spectrometer for the BepiColumbo mission which is on its way to Mercury.

It also features familiar domestic objects linked to sustainability and recyclability such as bicycle wheel rims and aluminium cans. 

Michelle said: “I didn't imagine when I asked for materials and objects to use in the sculpture that I’d be presented with such fascinating and precious objects, and this made me approach the commission in a different way than I might when working with more mundane materials.  

“I carefully disassembled objects and made sure I was absolutely certain about decisions before cutting or joining anything. 

“After the first community event during COP28 last year, when I introduced the idea and shared some of the materials, it was great to finally deliver the sculpture and unveil it on Earth Day.”

Earth Day is a global annual event which is held as a reminder of the importance of environmental conservation and sustainability.