Copperas Cove 3rd graders learn at 17th annual EcoHarvest

By PAMELA GRANT
Cove Leader-Press

Hundreds of Copperas Cove students had the opportunity to learn about our environment and what they can do to protect it.

Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful hosted the 17th Annual EcoHarvest for CCISD students.

The theme for this year’s event was “Saving Our Earth: One Drop at a Time.” 900 students in two large groups attended the event which was held at Copperas Cove City Park and the Civic Center from 9 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.

“We kinda outgrew the Civic Center, so we only have our performer and our hospitality inside and everything else is outside, and it makes a huge difference,” said Roxanne Flores, KCCB Executive Director proudly. “The kids learn with hands-on activities…The kids get to go outside, have fun, and learn.”

Flores said that she hopes the kids learned something new during the EcoHarvest and that they are inspired to go back and talk to a teacher or a friend or family member and tell them all about what they learned.

“I hope they are having conversations, continuing to learn, and learning that they are always learning whether they are outside, indoors, in a classroom, or in a store, they are always learning,” said Flores.

Students were separated into one of five colors: blue, green, purple, orange, and pink. Groups were determined by which schools the students attended with each staying in their “zones” and visiting five different stations out of the many available stations. All of the students had a chance at seeing Lucas Miller the Singing Zoologist perform inside the civic center and all of the other stations were outside in the shady area by the park’s stage.

“I think it’s awesome,” said Teresa Gorres, a 3rd grade teacher at Fairview/Miss Jewell Elementary School, about the EcoHarvest. “I love the fact that they have everything spread throughout the park. We’re in a natural ecosystem setting. There are lots of different booths for the students to see. They’re raising awareness on explosives, on water systems and keeping them clean, we had people from Gatesville talking about how to conserve water, the dental clinic passed out free toothbrushes and talked about how to keep their teeth clean, a recycling station to teach the kids about recycling and what that does for our planet, so it’s been awesome. Inside, we got to listen to the Zoologist, and he was great. The kids got to sing songs and learn things about animals. It’s a great grade level to start raising awareness of things they can do to help our ecosystem and our planet.”

Scott Summers, Environmental Protection Specialist, ran one of the many stations seeking to teach the students about how the Army balances natural resources with sustained Army training.

Summers and his assistants talked about how they work to keep natural landscapes intact and maintain biodiversity on Fort Hood.

“I lead off with explaining the importance of balancing natural resources with the military mission,” said Summers about what he’s trying to teach his young audience. “They get a snapshot of the animals that live on Fort Hood and how these animals have adapted to survive.”

Mark Turner, Superintendent of Residential Collections of Solid Waste for Copperas Cove, ran another station along with his fellow workers in the Solid Waste Department.

They showed off three different solid waste vehicles, demonstrating how they use them to pick up larger bulk items which excited the children every time.

“They like watching the arm move and seeing the couch go up and down and they’re startled when I clack the claw together,” said Turner.

Turner said that he and his fellow workers enjoy volunteering their time to work with the children.

“It helps when you educate them at this age,” said Turner. “I hope they understand how important the solid waste department is to the community.”

“It’s really fun,” said Kamrya Sims (8). Kamrya said that her favorite part of the Eco Harvest was Lucas Miller the Singing Zoologist and that her favorite song was a remix of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” about a skunk. Kamrya said that she learned a lot at the Eco Harvest. For example, she learned that “You should never leave your water unattended.”

“Don’t ever waste water,” said Jeffrey Smart (8) who also learned about the importance of water conservation. Smart said his favorite part of the Eco Harvest was learning about explosive safety. “If you see one, don’t touch it,” said Smart, sharing what he’d learned about explosives.

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