Local students learn meaning of Earth Day

Published 8:17 am Friday, April 24, 2015

Teaching future generations about how to protect the environment took center stage at the Bogalusa YMCA and the Museums of Cassidy Park during Wednesday’s Earth Day activities.

Kindergarten students from Annunciation Catholic and Northshore Charter schools participated in Earth Day activities, which ranged from tossing bird feed in the air to spread it around at Goodyear Park to a ritualistic blessing of the water at Bogue Lusa Creek in Cassidy Park.

The children also visited the site where a garden is to be planted behind the YMCA Building.

As Earth Day Project Director for the YMCA, Emma Dixon said the children seemed to understand the meaning behind the concept of Earth Day.

“Overall, it was a successful event,” Dixon said. “The kids seemed to like it. It was a day-long schedule of events to commemorate national and global Earth Day.”

Adults who participated in the activities were mostly YMCA organizers and teachers from the two schools. Dixon read a proclamation from Bogalusa Mayor Wendy Perrette declaring Wednesday as Earth Day in the city.

“Even if we didn’t get the adults out here, I think it was a success. The children are so important because they are our future, and we’re going to be leaving the earth in their hands. They learned to keep our city, parks and waterways clean.”

Northshore student Rikki Wilson got the message.

“Earth Day means picking up trash. We want to keep the earth clean,” Wilson said.

Organizers said students also learned about pollution’s far-reaching effects. They viewed the film “Love Water,” as part of World Water Day.

Museums at Cassidy Park Director Marcelle Hanemann recited the blessing by the creek to the students as Museums Assistant Director Judith Raborn softly beat a drum in the background. Students threw flower pedals in the stream and watched as they floated away.

Earth Day events and activities were sponsored by International Paper, the Washington Parish Library, Washington Men’s Club, LSU Master Gardeners Program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Energy Wise Louisiana, the Natural Resources Conservation Center and this newspaper, which is holding its annual Earth Day coloring contest.

YMCA officials who attended events at Goodyear Park were board member Keith Varnado, Programs Director Barbara Crawford and board member and Washington Men’s Club representative Elbert Buckley.

“If the students learn how to protect the earth, it will go a long way toward protecting the future,” Dixon said.