Ecology Fair a Family Hit Activities Are Fun but Also Pack a Message

By Treen, Dana | The Florida Times Union, April 19, 1999 | Go to article overview

Ecology Fair a Family Hit Activities Are Fun but Also Pack a Message


Treen, Dana, The Florida Times Union


With four grandchildren under 6 years old in tow, Delores Gallegos said she simply stumbled into the most fun the youngsters had seen since she'd come from Texas for a family visit.

"The kids had more fun here than anywhere," said Gallegos, who had already been to Disney World and St. Augustine and only discovered yesterday's Ecology Fair at The Jacksonville Landing during a chance outing to the riverfront venue.

With lizards and snakes to touch and freebies from posters and pencils to Earth-shaped yoyos and foam manatees, the fair was geared heavily toward instilling an ecological awareness in the youngest generation.

A generation ago that awareness and fears of pollution spawned Earth Day, a celebration of ecology and environmental stewardship whose message may have faded in impact over the years. With the 29th Earth Day coming Thursday, some said the message needs to be reinforced.

"We think, `Oh, its [the environment] been patched up,' but we know it hasn't," said Linda Carr, a biology teacher at Fletcher High School who was awarded a $500 minigrant at the fair.

"I see people getting lax," she said. "I hate it when I see high school kids throwing things out the window."

Carr said the grant is paying for a program that allows high school students to take the message about the importance of a clean environment to elementary school students.

"We need to educate the little kids," she said.

Yesterday, more than 50 organizations provided information about environmental issues at the fair sponsored by Earth Day Jacksonville Inc., a corporate-sponsored non-profit group.

Christi Veleta, the program administrator for Jacksonville's Environmental Protection Board, coordinated a children's activities section of the fair. …

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