In April 28 IssueBy Kim GrahamTimes Journal Reporter
Eco savvy folks came out to pay homage to our natural world and learn more about being environmentally conscientious last Saturday at Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery's Earth Day celebration.
From booths giving away tree seedlings, recycle containers, and bird houses to guided hikes, wetland walks, and other hands on activities, the event offered many endeavors for the 525 attendees throughout the day.
Some moseyed down to Hatchery Creek for a day of trout fishing while others toured exhibits and learned how to better connect with the great outdoors.
"It was a great success," said WCNFH Environmental Education and Outreach Specialist Amanda Patrick. "This year was our best Earth Day event yet."
Since its beginning four years ago, the Earth Day Celebration at the hatchery has offered not only educational opportunities but also free goodies.
For the first time in the event's history, visitors who brought an item to recycle received a free recycle container from Russell County Soil Conservation District.
"I thought it was a good day," said Jennifer Hardwick, Russell County Soil Conservation District Office Manager. "Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves."
She said soil conservation provided information and gave away recycle containers, wren bird houses, and Pin Oak, dogwood, and pawpaw tree seedlings.
Soil conservation received a $2,700 PRIDE Environmental Grant to fund the eco friendly give-away items and Russell County High School FFA members constructed the birdhouses from kits purchased with grant money.
Friends of Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery, Inc., an annual partner in the event, also provided free tree seedlings as part of the celebration.
Inside the education center, Brigette Williams, a Certified Wildlife Rehabber and Educator, with Second Chances Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, taught visitors about the work they do for their furry friends and how everyone can help to care for wildlife and the outdoor world.
Williams demonstrated feeding a three week old baby raccoon and explained the importance of raising orphaned wild animals in a way that gives them the best chance of survival once released.
In the afternoon, youngsters and their families ventured outside to explore wetlands and learn about tiny animals living there.
"We had a big turnout for the Wonderful Wetlands Exploration," said Russell County Middle School Science Teacher Jean Clement. "The kids and parents had fun dipping their nets and catching critters in the wetlands."
At Laker PRIDE Club's Energy Carnival, students taught attendees about energy transformation through hands on activities.
Personal Responsibility In a Desirable Environment (PRIDE) is a 21st Century after school program in its 12th year at Russell County Schools.
Throughout the day, children also flocked to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's Mobile Science Activity Center to learn by hands on experiments such as making homemade lip balm in the science lab on wheels.
"We always try to provide an adventurous day of fun, educational activities the entire family can enjoy," said Patrick. "Connecting kids and their families with nature promotes healthy lifestyles and preservation of natural resources."
"Our Earth Day celebration is one of many opportunities at the hatchery to enjoy the outdoors and learn more about the natural world," she said.
To learn more about visiting the hatchery and programs offered, contact Amanda Patrick at 270-343-3797 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.