CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – More than 500 students from Kolda Elementary School, Corpus Christi, took part in a fun-filled day of environmental education during an Earth Day fair, April 24.
The fair was sponsored by the Corpus Christi Army Depot’s Environmental Team, which began planning almost six months earlier, said Nicole Garcia, CCAD environmental protection specialist.
Almost a dozen groups were on hand to share information about their respective fields and help the students understand what Earth Day encompasses, said Garcia.
Groups included the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Texas Master Naturalists, Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi’s Islander Green Team, and the City of Corpus Christi.
Garcia said the premise behind starting the fair is twofold – to share CCAD’s environmental experience with others and provide children with awareness on the importance on keeping our planet green.
“Children are very intuitive when it comes to the environment… they want to learn more,” said Garcia.
For 9-year-old Rafael Massey, the fair helped him gain knowledge of subjects beyond what he already knew about our environment.
“There are a lot of consequences if we pollute, but I didn’t know how plastic and waste can hurt our environment,” said the Kolda 3rd grader.
Massey said he was thankful the CCAD team organized a fair that teaches more than pollution, such as Earth Day subjects from reusing and recycling to protecting our watersheds and animals.
The variety of guest organizations was key for the children to understand that Earth Day extends further than learning about recycling or water pollution, said Kim Musser, work lead, CCAD.
“We want to engage with students about the history of Earth Day, the Texas ecosystem, archaeology and how to protect our sea life,” said Musser.
Local animal expert, Chad Huckabee, volunteer with Texas Master Naturalist program, said people don’t often realize how animals help with the ecosystem and what we can learn about environment from them.
“Most people don’t appreciate why animals are important to our ecosystem,” said Huckabee. “We are helping the children understand how (animals) survive and protect us from pests and rodents, and being able to identify local animal bones.”
Garcia said the selected organizations are just the beginning, as the CCAD team plans to make this an annual event throughout the local area.
“Our team has been great, and (Kolda) has been so supportive that we want to keep doing this for students every year,” said Garcia.
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