MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Eager to learn, the third grade classes from Berkeley Manor Elementary School had an educational visit from Earth Dude and his friends April 19, where they learned about Earth Day and what they could do to help conserve the environment.
During an assembly held at the school Dianne D. Ward, James P. Mahoney and Pete Black from the Environmental Management Division here talked to the children about how riding their bikes to school will help save the environment, turning off the water while brushing their teeth will conserve water and a number of other Earth saving tips.
“It is just one of the things we do to make the children aware there is an Earth Day and to make them a little more aware of some of the things they can do to help conserve the resources that we have,” said Black.
Black, the base forester, explained how to plant and care for a Yellow Poplar tree as each student received one after the assembly. He held up a bucket to demonstrate what size the hole needed to be for the tree, and he made sure they knew to only water the tree once every third day.
“We gave them Yellow Poplars because it is a species that naturally occurs here,” said Black. They are also giving different species of trees out to different schools around the base when they visit with them.
The students asked many questions, but the most popular asked was if they could take the tree with them when they have to move.
Black let them know that is important to leave the tree where it is planted so it will continue to grow without any damage, but they could plant a new tree at each place they move. This way, they would be giving back to the environment at each place.
Once Black was done presenting, Mahoney, or better known as “Earth Dude”, made his way to the front of the auditorium.
Mahoney, wearing his cartridge belt bearing the recycling symbol, informed the group about the effects recycling could have on the Earth and landfills.
Approximately 91,000 tons of garbage a year goes into the landfill here. That equals 17,583 tons a month, 1,895 tons a week and 270 tons a day. To give the children a feel for how much that is, he had one of the students who weighed 70 pounds stand up.
Wearing his suit partially made from recycled milk cartons, Mahoney said the student would have to walk across the scale 7,714 times a day to equal that much weight.
Mahoney stressed the importance of using the recycle bins and taking the extra time to sort trash before it’s thrown away.
“Earth Day is a celebration of the resources the earth has for us to use and to promote the wise use, or conservation, of those limited resources,” Black said. “Some of these resources are renewable like trees and some are nonrenewable like petroleum and its products. We just want to promote the use and reuse of products that can be recycled and reduce the consumption of those products that can't be recycled or are nonrenewable.”
At the end of the assembly, the speakers gave the teacher some bookmarks and informational booklets to hand out to the children, and Earth Dude signed some autographs for his newly found fan club.