DEQ Hosts Earth Day Celebration
May 5, 2017
Gila River Indian News
A common practice among Native American tribes is stewardship over the land and responsibility of taking care of it for future generations to bask in its bountiful gifts.
Emphasis on being a good steward over the land and the environment is something the Gila River Indian Community continues to promote for future generations.
At the Ira H. Hayes and Matthew B. Juan Memorial Park, the 2017 Department of Environmental Quality Earth Day celebration was in full effect on April 21, with over 400 guests in attendance.
DEQ hosted the event to inspire the next generation of Community members to seek careers in environmental sustainability and preservation, which focuses on environmental stewardship.
DEQ Environmental Education & Outreach Specialist Althea Walker said the event is about showing the Community what they are doing to promote environmental stewardship over tribal lands like the wetlands and bald eagle watchers program, and how they are utilizing other departments to help restore parts of the Community.
She said inviting other organizations can help bring outside resources into the Community, especially from companies and universities that are leading the way in environmental knowledge and technology.
To start things off, a troupe of basket dancers opened the event with singing provided by Leland Thomas and District 5 Council Representative Robert Stone.
Liberty Wildlife was on hand presenting their red-tailed hawk, bald eagle and peregrine falcon, which are used as educational tools to teach children about Arizona’s native wildlife.
“It’s about letting them know what we are doing and making it fun and inviting and having the Earth Day participants leaving wanting to learn more,” said Walker.
At the event DEQ gave out plants and seeds.
“Being able to give out plants and seeds, allows people to nurture their green thumb,” said Walker “They get to leave with a plant that they can watch grow.”
Visiting organizations and tribal departments set up 35 booths for event goers to learn how to incorporate a little more green into their life and community.
Students tried out some neat science projects by conducting electricity through bananas and even learned about traditional Akimel O’otham foods.
The event also promotes environmentally conscious jobs that will help motivate students to go into fields that protect the environment.
“[We] want the event to make a strong impact on not only the lives of those who attend, but also on the Community and our environment, and the world that surrounds us,” said Walker.