Free event at Nutter Field House features hands-on activities, displays, more
What are the best ways to ensure clean air, fresh water, healthy forests and diverse wildlife?
The answers to these and many other questions about the natural world and humanity’s place in it will be on display April 26, when Fort Leonard Wood holds its 2019 Earth Day event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Nutter Field House.
The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature a variety of hands-on activities, presentations and displays covering a wide range of topics, from air and water quality to recycling, endangered species, gardening, hybrid vehicles and more.
“We encourage the public to ask questions and participate,” said Melissa Lyon, Environmental Protection assistant and Earth Day organizer.
“There will also be some live animal displays and an endangered species booth, which help to inform the community about some of the animals that you may encounter on the installation and in your own backyard,”
The Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division and Fort Leonard Wood’s Public Affairs Office have collaborated to offer the event to the installation and its surrounding communities.
Among the organizations attending the Earth Day event are:
— Raptor Rehabilitation by Missouri Birds of Prey;
— The United States Geological Survey;
— The Ozark Rivers Audubon Chapter;
— The Big Piney Stream Team;
— Missouri Master Naturalists;
— The University of Missouri Extension Master Gardener program;
— Ozark National Scenic Riverways;
— The United States Department of Agriculture;
— The Fort Leonard Wood Environmental Division;
— The Fort Leonard Wood Weather Team;
— The Fort Leonard Wood Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Outdoor Adventure Center;
— Fort Leonard Wood Environmental Health;
— The Fort Leonard Wood Emergency Services Game Warden;
— The Fort Leonard Wood Logistics Readiness Center, which will feature a hybrid vehicle display.
Interactive and hands-on activities taking place during the Earth Day event include:
— A recycling toss game, which teaches students methods of identifying recyclable materials;
— The Fort Leonard Wood Natural Resources Branch fishing game;
— Herb planting, during which students will add soil and seeds to cups and take home to grow;
— A storm water wheel game, which teaches how illicit stormwater discharges
effect our water quality.
Visitors of all ages can also interact with several costumed mascots, including Smokey Bear from the United States Forest Service, Casey the Clean Water Turtle from the Fort Leonard Wood Environmental Division, and Sparky the Dog from the Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department.
An ongoing tradition for Fort Leonard Wood Earth Day events will continue this year with tours of students from area schools. Lyon said that, while planning for Earth Day, DPW reached out to several school districts and expects more than 1,000 schoolchildren from seven area school districts to view the displays during the morning hours.
“The responses have exceeded our expectations, and we are absolutely thrilled to have so many people interested in helping Fort Leonard Wood make this a great event,” Lyon said.
School tours will take place from 9 a.m. to noon. For visitors who wish to tour the displays outside the school-tour hours, Lyon recommends arriving in the afternoon between noon and 2 p.m.
“Earth Day is open to the public. We welcome everyone to join,” Lyon said.
During the Earth Day event, public parking will be available on the south lot between Nutter Field House and the USO. The north parking lot will be cordoned off and designated as school-bus parking only.
“Please drive slowly and be alert for children,” Lyon said. “Once inside the building, we only ask that if there is class to try your best to avoid separating the groups.”
In conjunction with the Earth Day event, a Free Household E-Cycling Event for the Fort Leonard Wood Community will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the southwest corner of the Nutter Field House parking lot.
The E-Cycling event is limited to servicemembers, their dependents, military retirees and employees of Fort Leonard Wood, who are invited to bring in their old computers, printers, fax machines, televisions, audio equipment, cell phones, microwaves and household batteries.
“Recycling old electronics is a great way to keep these items out of area landfills,” explained Ronald Blevins, Qualified Recycling Program manager and event planner for Earth Day.
“Electronic items contain materials such as mercury and lead, which could be hazardous if improperly disposed of,” Blevins said. “The recycling process reduces these products to their raw materials which can then be reutilized in the manufacturing industry to produce new products.”
No government or business electronics or appliances, such as refrigerators, washers or dryers, will be accepted during the event.
For more information about the E-Cycling Event, contact Blevins at 573.596.3843 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Editor’s note: Photos are courtesy of Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs.)