Precinct One’s Environmental Education Program hosted its annual Earth Day Celebration on April 21 to teach our youth the importance of protecting the planet.
A portion of Deussen Park was converted into indoor-outdoor classrooms where 64 children learned about water conservation, animal habitats and endangered species protection.
“I learned about the predators,” said Terrence, a fifth-grader. “And I played the game about predators chasing the prey. We learned about alligators and I touched a snake.”
Terrence and the other children rotated in groups through six interactive sessions, which included opportunities to touch snakes, an alligator and other live animals.
“I had fun,” said Jakalyn, a third-grader. “And my experience was you can learn new things and be creative.”
Jakalyn and Terrence were part of a group from the nonprofit U.S. Dream Academy after-school program. Also participating were students from Precinct One’s Finnigan Youth Education Town (YET), Lincoln Park and Julia C. Hester House. Students from Berry Elementary and walk-ins also attended the event.
Dipen Bhakta, U.S. Dream Academy’s center director, said the activities creatively engaged the students, exposing them to new concepts and ideas about how they can interact with nature and their environment.
“It might be just getting them exposed to a fishing rod,” he said. “It’s a basic skill but it can create a spark. That spark can lead to other conversations. And it’s also engaging in the community.”
In addition to Precinct One staff, also on site to expose the children to animals and educational activities were representatives from Harris Health System, Downtown Aquarium, Harris County Flood Control District, Harris County Public Health Department’s Mosquito and Vector Control, Eddie V. Gray Wetlands Center/Baytown Nature Center and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, including its J. D. Murphee Wildlife Management Area.