Earth Day Sprouts Educational Events

The first Earth Day was in 1970 as a way to increase public awareness of environmental problems. Now it's celebrated every year by more than a billion people in 180 nations.

In Ouachita Parish, events sprouted up with people taking care of the planet.

"Earth Day is every day," commented Cayce Roberts, a student at La. Delta Community College.

New roots dug into the earth, on Tuesday morning at Delta Community College, as students planted a tree, sending a message to protect the planet.

"The more trees we plant, the more oxygen that's released into the air and the more carbon dioxide that the trees bring in," said Chelsea Alford, another L.D.C.C. student. "And it just allows us healthy breathing."

Students interested in preserving the earth are looking for as many signatures as possible on a petition. They want to establish a curbside recycling program in Monroe, similar to one in Shreveport.

"We want everyone in the local community to have access to a recycling center," Alford voiced. "There's no sense in allowing reusable resources to be wasted."

"Everything goes into one container," explained Cayce. "And they come and pick it up. And the sorting happens later. Ideally, that is what I would love to happen because it makes it easier on families and gives them more incentive to recycle. We've only got one planet. And it's very important to take care of the one that we have."

"If we don't, it will be a landfill," warned Larry Roberts, a 3rd grade student at New Vision Learning Academy. "And we will be breathing dirty air and  we'll be drinking dirty water."

Larry organized the school's Earth Day event, where students learned about environment-friendly practices and shared information on display boards about avoiding wasteful behaviors.

"We are doing the three R's: recycle, reuse, and reduce," relayed Larry.

In West Monroe, 5th-graders at George Welch School were taught how renewable products are produced locally at a paperboard packaging facility.

"This is a way to help the kids learn good principles early on," said Tony Diaz with Graphic Packaging, the company that put on the presentation on sustainability.

Keep Ouachita Parish Beautiful says that the local green movement is catching on, thanks to in-part to recent clean-up events like Leaders Against Litter and a household hazardous waste collection.

"[There has been] more participation; people are really getting the message and becoming involved," pointed out Wayne Heckford with Keep Ouachita Parish Beautiful.

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