Sunday, June 15, 2014

Earth Week 2014

As the readers of this blog probably already know, Earth Day 2014 was April 22. 

U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day in 1970, sparking the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of acts such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act.

On that first Earth Day, approximately 20 million Americans joined the rallies. By 1990, 200 million people and 141 countries were celebrating Earth Day and talking about environmental issues, and participation has been expanding ever since.

Me (Johanna) and Patriot
I spent my Earth Day in Jefferson City, MO.  Missouri American Water graciously paid for the World Bird Sanctuary Director of Education, Mike Zeloski, and me to travel to Missouri’s state capitol for four days.  Mike and I brought raptor awareness and the importance of clean water to local schools and the community. 

We spent most of the week doing radio interviews and visiting local elementary and middle schools.  Since I’m still a fairly new staff member, Mike did most of the speaking during the shows, with me only speaking about a few of the birds to gain confidence and experience. 

The crowds enjoying Earth Day activities on the steps of the Missouri State Capitol
On Friday, April 25th, we brought our program to the capitol steps as a part of Jefferson City’s Earth Day celebration, put on by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
This year marked the 20th anniversary of Jefferson City’s Earth Day celebration on the capitol lawn.  Being new to Missouri, I have no experience with previous years’ celebrations, but I thought this year’s celebration was fantastic.

The south lawn of the capitol was crowded with people, many of them 5th grade classes that had been let out from school to take a field trip to the event.  Numerous tents were scattered across the lawn sponsored by groups such as the Missouri Stream Team and Runge Nature Center.  These tents featured educational activities and, of course, freebies for the students.

In the center of it all stood a raised stage, where drawings and the Environmental Survivor game show were hosted.  All of this was against the beautiful backdrop of Missouri’s capitol building.

The sun was warm, children were darting to and fro after Frisbees, and everyone was learning something about the environment. It could not have been a more wonderful day, and I could not have had a more wonderful introduction to Jefferson City.

Submitted by Johanna Burton, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist 

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