by Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Smith
Fort Carson students celebrated Earth Day with an array of activities last week centered on the message of sustaining the environment for a secure future.
Schools around Fort Carson took part in decorating recycled grocery bags, a poetry contest, a reading of “The Lorax,” tree planting and an educational fair held at the Special Events Center.
“The kids love Earth week and (teachers) love Earth week,” said Jeri Onkle, 4th grade teacher at Patriot Elementary School.
“It’s an opportunity to teach the children about their responsibility to their planet.”
The reading program brought in volunteers to read Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax,” a book that illustrates the harmful effects of pollution and destruction of natural resources.
More than 2,000 recyclable paper bags were decorated by students with their own creative illustrations about Earth Day and saving the planet. On Earth Day, these bags were given to the Fort Carson commissary to be used for bagging patrons’ groceries and passing along the message of Earth Day.
“Natural resource conservation – that would be the message that we’re trying to get across,” said Janine Hegeman, education and outreach specialist for the Directorate of Public Works. “That’s the thread that ties together stormwater management … saving the birds, endangered species, recycling, wildlife and fire management. It’s all about resource conservation.”
To aid in getting this message across to the younger generation, an education fair was held at the Special Events Center. Numerous displays were brought in to teach the children about recycling, stormwater, endangered species and fire safety, among other things.
Most species are endangered because of things that people do, said Chris Kennedy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “We take away the places where they live, put pollutants into the environment … and that has a harmful effect on a lot of species.”
The events were designed to educate the younger generation and instill them with good habits to preserve the future of the planet’s natural resources.
“If you teach them when they’re young, their behaviors will change over time and they’ll be better at managing our resources than we are,” said Susan Galentine, DPW public relations. “(The children) are the future. They’re the ones that are going to make a difference.”