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Earth Day lessons for local youngsters

April 17, 2002|By JENNIFER RALTON-SMITH

Staff Writer

Dateline: Imperial

Who says you can't change the world for the better, one small thing at a time?

Saturday is Earth Day, celebrated in many countries around the world and here in Imperial Valley, the third annual Earth Day Education Fair is part of that celebration.

Students from several elementary schools attended the fair Tuesday and were introduced to three major environmental themes: water resources, wildlife management and recycling.

"It absolutely is possible to change things one small thing at a time," says Madaleine Macholtz, environmental technician with Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program.

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"Kids are open-minded and have fresh ideas. If we can just get them thinking about the environment, they'll be able to come up with some creative answers to our most pressing issues. Kids have the ability to think ‘out of the box," Macholtz said as she acted as master of ceremonies for a fast-paced recycling quiz show for a group of students from Desert Garden Elementary School in El Centro.

Meanwhile, a group of fourth-graders from Calexico's Dool Elementary were busy at another activity station drawing and coloring Earth Day messages on paper grocery bags. Local grocery store Vons has undertaken to distribute the bags to customers this month as part of Earth Day celebrations

Intently coloring a picture of planet earth, Sofia Camacho, a 9-year-old fourth-grader at Dool, expressed the opinion, "Kids are better at recycling than adults because they learn about it at school. I hope the adult who uses this bag will use it again … that will save trees."

Back at the quiz show station, Desert Garden teacher Ron Mitchell watching Macholtz put his fifth-graders through their paces, said he'll have his students divide into groups when they go back to class and prepare an oral report on what they learned at the fair.

"They'll also research the net on subjects they've covered here today and we'll have group discussions and eventually each group will write a test and test the other students."

Ten-year-old Tiffany Romayor, a fifth-grader at Desert Garden participating in the quiz show, had a passionate opinion as to what Earth Day means to her.

"I want older people, people older than me to know that recycling is very important because if we don't do it, our society won't be clean, it will be all messy and that's not right.

Delivering her message in a firm voice, the fifth-grader finished by saying, "I want a nice world to live in!"

You can be part of local Earth Day activities by going Saturday to the 2002 Earth Day Festival at the Imperial Valley Expo in Imperial. The festival is sponsored by the Imperial Valley Waste Management Task Force and will be in the Plaza de la Cultura from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

You can sign up for special bird and nature tours of Imperial Valley on that day by phoning the New River Wetlands Project at 353-0465.

>> Staff Writer Jennifer Ralton-Smith can be reached at 337-3442 or dingo87@earthlink.net

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