Community learns about environmental issues at Earth Day celebration
Gila River Indian News
Earth Day brings youth from across the Community for a day of learning about how to preserve the land through conservation. The Department of Environmental Quality hosted their annual Earth Day celebration at the Rawhide Wester Town and Event Center on April 23.
Darius Enos, DEQ Environmental Technician said, in recognition of Earth Day, the department “Honors the Community’s cultural heritage, by protecting, conserving and restoring the Community’s environmental resources. Our vision is a healthy sustainable environment for future generations.”
Susanna Osife, Jr. Miss Gila River, said “Although we honor and are so grateful for our land and environment, today we learn how to care and protect and honor the land.”
Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis and Lt. Gov. Robert Stone were also in attendance to mark the importance of Earth Day.
“We really have good partnerships [here] to talk about the environment,” said Lewis, “This is one of our biggest Earth Days yet.”
He said it really speaks to DEQ’s commitment to provide education on how to look out for the land (O’otham jived). “We need to teach our children to respect and build upon our connection to the river and land and how these things are important to our Himdag,” said Lewis.
“We have to all be aware of our part in being good stewards over the land, the river, so that future generations can continue to learn how important it is how we can respect it and the animals that live [here],” said Lewis.
At the Earth Day event, several informational booths were setup by DEQ’s various divisions, from air quality, water quality, eagle nest watchers program and fuels & restoration efforts. Other GRIC departments who joined the event were the Huhugam Heritage Center, Geographic Information System, Community Health Nutrition, Dept. of Public Works, Chemical-Tribal Emergency Response Commission and Office of Emergency Management.
Educational conservation agencies, also lent their time to teach the youth about conservation. Among them, was Liberty Wildlife, who rehabilitates and when possible release birds back into the wild. The National Parks Service, University of Arizona and Intel Corporation, also provided information on the important role of land preservation, environmental issues and how green technology can be used to move away from fossil fuels.