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From decorating paper bags to testing ph balance: Students kick off Earth Day celebrations

April 06, 2001|By LAURA MACKENZIE, Staff Writer

IMPERIAL — Milton Covarrubrias, 12, finished coloring and proudly showed his art work to his admiring friends and teacher.

Milton, a sixth-grader in Kathy Abubo's class at T.L. Waggoner Elementary in Imperial, grinned at the praise from his audience.

Milton is one student who participated Thursday in the "Earth Day Educational Kickoff" at the Imperial Valley Expo's Plaza de la Cultura

His art work is a paper bag decorated like a "Dr. Seuss" book to encourage people to recycle.

"Dr. Seuss says ‘Red fish, yellow fish, green fish, dead fish — please help clean earth and recycle," reads Milton's decorated bag.

Milton's class was at the paper bag-decorating session of the Earth Day kickoff.

There event featured a host of activities sponsored by the Imperial Valley Environmental Task Force, the Imperial Valley Waste Management Task Force, and the Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program. The activities were designed to help students learn about protecting and conserving the environment.

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"We hope to give a few classes the opportunity to supplement their classwork by an introduction to a variety of environmental topics," said Madeleine Ochinang, co-organizer of the event. "It gets them informed about local community environmental projects."

She added this is the second year of a local educational Earth Day.

Classes attended three of the scheduled activities, rotating between the stations, with sessions at each station lasting an hour.

"We're working with different schools to incubate wood duck eggs," said Marie Barrett, project coordinator for the New River wetlands cleanup project.

Barrett's groups of students were painting homes for the duck eggs.

"We're hoping the ducks come back to the Imperial Valley next year," Barrett said, adding wood ducks usually return to the place they were hatched.

Many students were able to attend a session with the Splash Science Mobile Lab, which journeyed from San Diego to participate. The mobile lab included a technology component complete with computers and microscopes.

"We use an interdisciplinary approach," said "Dr." Marlon Barcelona, science mobile lab staff member, "We travel about 120 times in the school year to various schools in San Diego, and Orange and Imperial counties."

The science lab included units on weather, water quality and wildlife species around ponds.

One of the students' favorite activities was the "Paul Cash Environmental Magic Show."

Cash used his "magic" rabbit, Glitter, to help teach students about water conservation.

Sarah Robertson, a fifth-grade teacher at Westmorland Elementary School, said she brought her class to "give them a sense of environmental awareness they don't get in the classroom."

Her fellow fifth-grade teacher from Westmorland, Michele Perez, agreed with Robertson.

"I hope they get an educational awareness about conserving the earth," Perez said, "The students seem to like it. They really like the hands-on stuff more than just me talking to them."

Her students agreed.

"It's more interesting than Mrs. Perez's class," said Perez's student Ruben Celis, 11.

Other activities included a water cycle station, responsible camping, a session from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, coloring paper bags to recycle and a recycling resource relay.

Educational Earth Day is a forerunner to Earth Day, which will be celebrated Saturday.

"There will be a lot of kids' activities, like making paper, doing solar art and decorating paper bags," said Stephanie Collins, co-organizer of the Earth Day activities.

Collins added the junior high and high school environmental- related science projects will be displayed and judged Saturday.

The community Earth Day activities will be at the IV Expo in the Plaza de la Cultura from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

Alejandra Penuelas, 11, a fifth-grader from Westmorland, summed it all up, "I love science!"

Staff Writer Laura MacKenzie can be reached at 337-34442.

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