Hundreds turn out for 9th annual Eco Harvest

By LYNETTE SOWELL 
Cove Leader-Press 

More than 300 attended the ninth annual EcoHarvest, hosted by Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful on Saturday morning. 
The event featured interactive booths which promoted sustainability, recycling, and conservation, with a free pancake and sausage breakfast prepared by volunteers from the Copperas Cove Rotary Club. 
Annie Zehr is the president of KCCB and led the EcoHarvest committee for this year. 
“It’s an interactive, engaging, educational event that’s geared toward our youth,” Zehr said. “All of our presenters, when they do their booths, they talk to the kids. This isn’t geared toward mom and dad. This is so that kids will understand, and they can make an impact.” 
KCCB volunteers ran booths with activities to include paper recycling, a recycling relay, seed planting with recycled K-cups, and making bracelets from straws. 
The Copperas Cove Solid Waste Department was on hand, distributing the calendars for recycling and trash pickup, as well as answering questions about the city’s single-stream recycling program. 
Christine Luciano with Department of Public Works Environmental Branch on Fort Hood, showed the crowds a glass Coca-Cola bottle that was found on post.
“It takes about one million years for glass to break down, so we have a glass bottle right here that was thrown away just a mile from where I work on Fort Hood. It was thrown away 60 years ago. It stayed there. We were digging up the ground on construction for a project, and we found this. 
“I want people to think about, that over 60 years, this bottle did not get weaker over time. It’s so important that we find ways to reuse, reduce, recycle, and repurpose. We have a variety of items here to show you, some of the items that we recycle on Fort Hood can be reused. We are so excited to be part of EcoHarvest. Fort Hood has been a strong partner of this event for nine years, and we are happy to help educate and go green.”
Scott Summers is an environmental protection specialist with Fort Hood’s Department of Public Works Natural Resources Branch. 
On Saturday, Summers had skulls on display and other items related to native and non-native animals that live on Fort Hood’s more than 200,000 acres, such as deer, sheep, foxes, and more
He said keeping the biodiversity on Fort Hood is very beneficial to the area at large. 
“The more biodiversity we have, the cleaner our air is, the cleaner the water is. If we start losing our biodiversity, it’s not as good. Anybody who likes clean air and clean water, benefits from the work of our branch.” 
He also talked about the importance of using native plants in landscaping. 
“If people decide to native landscape, instead of the traditional, not only use less water but the native landscape plants don’t need the water, provide more pollinators that are native here to have a home.”
On Saturday, KCCB also gave away several door prizes, including a $50 H-E-B gift card, with the winner being drawn from those who completed event surveys and also voted for their favorite booth. 
This year, the favorite booth as voted on by attendees was that of Young Miss Five Hills Allyssa Kimball, who ran a booth in which old crayons were melted with hot glue guns, with the melted crayons poured into molds. 
EcoHarvest began on Friday, when 237 fourth graders from Halstead, Martin Walker, and Williams/Ledger Elementary schools attended an event just for them. KCCB volunteers were backed up by DECA students from Copperas Cove High School.

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