DEQ’s Earth Day Celebration returns
May 5, 2023
Gila River Indian News
On Friday, April 21, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) hosted its annual Earth Day celebration within the DEQ’s administration grounds in District 3. This communal event brought together youth and Community members to learn about the importance of wildlife and environmental preservation through many conservation program booths and activities.
“Planting seeds for tomorrow” was this year’s theme, noted by Tison Gill, Education and Outreach Specialist at DEQ. “Planting a seed, as in making youth interested in environmental studies,” said Gill.
The celebration began at 10 a.m. with opening remarks from Tison Gill and a song followed by a blessing from 2023-24 Miss Gila River Lehua Lani Dosela. Following the blessing Blackwater, Gila Crossing, Sacaton, and head start, students formed lines with their teachers to tour the informational booths.
Booths included DEQ’s divisions of air quality, water quality, fuel and restoration efforts. Along with, The Maricopa Audubon Society, Bureau of Indian Affairs Pima Agency Fire, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Tohono O’odham Community College, Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Jax Felling Company, Pima-Maricopa Irrigation Project. And also joining were other GRIC entities like Gila River Health Care, The Community Garden Project, Gila River Police Department, GRIC Tribal Education.
These educational conservation agencies informed many about their preservation efforts that also connect with the Community. For example, the Maricopa Audubon Society has helped with the Gila River Winter Bird Count for many years to preserve the natural habitats of birds that reside close to the Gila River and wetlands in the Community.
By noon, youths, teachers, booth attendants, and Community members gathered for hamburgers and chips for lunch provided by The Ranch. Then the Keli Akimel Hua Modk Cudkdam (Gila River Basket Dancers) performed songs and dances for everyone to enjoy as the event rounded out.
The celebration ended at 1:30 p.m. with closing remarks from Lt. Gov. Monica Antone and 2023-24 Jr. Miss Gila River, Eleanor Lynch.