28 Earth Rangers complete KRB camp

July 28, 2012 • Local News

Kids participating in Earth [auth] Camp from A to Z shovel rocks to cover a weed barrier at the Roswell Boys & Girls Club, Friday morning. Mark Wilson Photo

Children who participated in Keep Roswell Beautiful’s Earth Camp this week were provided all sorts of lessons and activities in recycling and conservation, working their way toward becoming certified Earth Rangers, Friday.

KRB coordinator Renee Roach said the camp included 28 children ages 10 to 12, who were all offered valuable insight on the importance of caring for the planet.

“For their generation, when they become adults, if they don’t start doing something now, they’re not going to have these resources to work with,” Roach said.

The second annual Earth Camp began Monday with lessons on trees, and took children to Bottomless Lakes State Park on Tuesday to listen to speeches from the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish representatives about ecosystems, rock formation and water conservation.

About 20 guest speakers provided lessons to children throughout the week, and on Wednesday campers were told about the harmful effects of graffiti during a Community Enhancement program called Graffiti Hurts.

Mike Matthews, Community Enhancement director, talked to children about the different laws and punishments for vandalism, as well as how much it costs taxpayers to remove graffiti. Graffiti Hurts took children under the bridge at Cahoon Park, Friday, where campers took part in the eradication of existing graffiti.

Roach said that with programs like Graffiti Hurts, KRB aims to make a difference in the lives of adults, too. “This age group is so beneficial to educating adults, because it’s really hard to change adult behavior. But through kids, we feel that we can reach adults.

“And if we can’t change adult behavior, then we know that we’re creating future leaders for environmental stewardship. … It’s like spokes on a wheel. They’ve learned everything from beautification, landscaping and the importance of green spaces, and all three R’s of recycling: reusing, reducing and recycling.”

KRB received assistance from Spring River Park & Zoo, which for 16 years has held a zoo camp that Roach said helped to serve as a model for the Earth Camp.

Elaine Mayfield, Spring River Park & Zoo director, said Earth Camp is all about making everyone more aware of their planet.

“With every generation, it gets more important,” Mayfield said. “We’re just going to run out of room! We have to learn to coexist and take care of our planet. It’s the only one we have right now.”

The final activity at Earth Camp was a community outreach project at the Boys & Girls Club, where children beautified areas around the club and planted a vegetable garden so that club participants can learn about agriculture, Roach said. Upon becoming Earth Rangers, each child was given a framed certificate of a pressed leaf at the camp’s conclusion.

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