Last week, 600 local students attended the 12th Annual “Call of the Wild” Earth Week at the Hendry House. Various stations were set up both inside and around the outside of the Hendry House, and were visited by students from West Glades, Upthegrove, and LaBelle Elementary School. Earth Week attendees learned about current and local environmental issues, and why we all should work hard to make the Earth healthy.
From presentations like “Life in the Soil: Dig Deeper” with Noreen Berden from the Hendry/Glades Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and “A Slough of Fun” with John McCormick, Forester with the Okaloacoochee Slough State Forest to interesting talks like “Aquatic Macro Invertebrates and Florida Habitat” with Terry Cerullo and Martha Avila from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the students were able to dig into dirt, hold earthworms, and learn all about the awesome natural systems that surround them and why they are so very important.
Next, the enthusiastic students were led on a hike through the LaBelle Nature Park with Clark Ryals, Senior Forester from the Florida Forest Service Caloosahatchee Forestry Center. The last stop and one of the most popular stations was manned by Sonya Crawford, Livestock/4-H: Agent, and Patricia Gonzalez 4-H Program Assistant from Hendry County Extension IFAS. Students at this station were given the opportunity to eat roasted crickets and termites, and most happily took part in tasting the crunchy but creepy crawlies. Exclamations about how the termites “tasted like beef jerky” and the crickets “weren’t too bad” were overheard as some even asked for seconds.
As the students boarded their buses, they were chattering about how fun it was to play with worms, hike through the LaBelle Nature Park, and eat bugs and some even discussed how these fun activities actually helped them understand the critical actions they need to take to protect the environment. Some even repeated the message, “Celebrate earth day, everyday!” It was certainly a job well done by all of the environmental educators that participated!