Photo and poster image courtesy King County Housing Authority AmeriCorps
King County Housing Authority AmeriCorps is sponsoring the Earth Day Extravaganza 2012 Environmental Fair at Saltwater State Park in Des Moines Friday, April 20, together with Highline, Federal Way, and Kent public schools, and Washington State Parks & Recreation. Pre-K through middle schoolers are invited to the free event. Kids from Burien, Des Moines, Sea Tac, Tukwila, Federal Way & Kent have participated in this fair for three years.

Young area students to celebrate Earth Day at Saltwater State Park April 20

Program sponsored by King County Housing Authority AmeriCorps & others

On Earth Day more than one billion people around the globe will participate and voice their appreciation for the planet and demand its protection. That, according to www.earthday.org.

Earth Day officially falls on Sunday, April 22. But youngsters in our area will get a head start and gather at Saltwater State Park Friday, April 20, 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for the fourth annual "Earth Day Extravaganza 2012 Environmental Fair".

The event is presented by King County Housing Authority AmeriCorps, Federal Way School AmeriCorps teams, and Washington Parks & Recreation.

Participating are elementary and middle school students from Highline, Kent, Federal Way schools, the local Head Start and Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) classrooms, local private school and day cares, and local homeschool networks. The public is welcome and the event is free.

"We currently have about 400 students registered to attend our event and more to come," said an enthusiastic Jaimee Robinson, Community Builder and AmeriCorps Member, King County Housing Authority, Birch Creek Apartments in Kent. She is no relation to Robinson Newspapers. Birch Creek is a public housing complex that serves many immigrant refugee families.

"A lot of the kids have not been out of their community, and it is great to get them outdoors, and to experience nature in all its beauty," said Robinson, a 2009 Washington State University graduate who said she wanted to do something meaningful with her talents.

"The kids get to play with 'touch tanks' and hold sea creatures which is really exciting for a lot of them," she said. "They get to learn about nature while they are in nature rather than by sitting in the classroom. We're going to have craft activities, like building jellyfish out of recycled material, collecting material borrowed, or things around our house. It's really fun to pull things together and see where we can go with what little we have."

Robinson just started a girls club, ages 6 to 13. She explained, "Half of my time is spent as an after school tudor with Kent Youth and Family Services with high schoolers and middle schoolers and I have a girls club there where we talk about girl issues and life skills. We just started my environmental unit. Just yesterday we did a unit on the water cycle. We had a big bucket of water with cups set out. I had each girl scoop out some water and show us how much they thought was in our Earth, in our body, in a tree, in our brain, and they got to see that these are 75 to 80 percent water. And they were amazed.

"The fair is scheduled during the school day but it is open to the public and is a free event," she said. "But our main focus is our classrooms, giving teachers a free resource to bring their students and have an extremely fun day."