Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs visited the Twentynine Palms and Condor Elementary Schools to recognize the finalists of the first Earth Day poster competition, May 1, 2015.
The theme for this year’s Earth Day was “think green, save blue,” to raise water conservation awareness throughout the community. The NREA wanted to bring more artistic ideas to this year’s Earth Day celebration and decided on a poster contest for Condor Elementary and Twentynine Palms Elementary.
“We held the poster contest because children are so creative,” said Lt. Col. Timothy Pochop, director, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs. “They have a great perspective on things and we want to share that creativity.”
The children’s poster ideas came from what they believed to be important about Earth Day. Keeping water conservation the main idea for their creativity they submitted their posters.
“Earth Day is important because we need water, said Bryce Newland, Earth Day poster finalist, Twentynine Palms Elementary. “If something goes wrong and we don’t have water, we can’t grow crops or raise animals.”
According to Pochop, the NREA’s hope is to change the way people think about conserving water. Teaching children about the importance of conserving water allows for a greater impact on the community through the youngest members of the family.
“We reached out to the youth to let them be an engine for change,” Pochop said. “We wanted to teach the children to conserve so they can take the knowledge home and help bring water conservation to the rest of the household.”
One hundred twenty-five posters were submitted by the schools’ students. All entries were separated into groups based on grade and considered by NREA representatives until nine finalists were selected. The finalist’s posters were displayed during the Earth Day Extravaganza, April 24, 2015, in which members of the community voted for their favorite. The nine students were each given a plaque by the NREA recognizing the creative message displayed in their posters.
“This was a unique opportunity for the school to work with an entity on base,” said Paul Gattuso, principal, Condor Elementary. “I feel like having the NREA come to the school and present the plaques to children really drives their hard work home.”
The posters will be shown in this year’s Consumer Confidence Report. This report goes out in July to Combat Center patrons and covers different topics such as water quality issues and consumption rates for the base.
“Usually the report just has pictures of signs and water faucets,” Pochop said. “We wanted to do something a little different this year.”
NREA wants to continue to promote the event and make the celebration of Earth Day bigger next year.
“We want to see this grow much larger,” Pochop said. “We will figure out the best way to do that in next year’s plan.”