By JOSH ALDRICH
The Kerry Wood Nature Centre took full advantage of Easter Sunday to hold an early Earth Day Eco Fair.
Earth Day is not until Tuesday, but with the long weekend, the Red Deer centre hosted several environmental groups to speak with children and families about their initiatives, in addition to their annual Easter egg hunt and nature walks.
Kathryn Huedepohl, the public events programmer and special events co-ordinator for the Waskasoo Environmental Education Society, said days like this are important.
“If you get them at this age and make them stewards, then they’ll get their parents involved as well and it’s just better for everybody,” she said.
Environmental groups at the nature centre on Sunday included ReThink Red Deer, Medicine River Wildlife Centre, Alberta Bike Swap and Green Deer.
For Green Deer it was an opportunity to promote their litter cleanup initiatives throughout the spring and summer.
“There are a lot of adults excited about doing this because it does instill some good values and some good habits,” said Suzanne Jubb, a community and program facilitator with Green Deer.
“We encourage people to pick up garbage in the city of Red Deer, it can be as simple as in their own back alleys for 15 minutes or an hour, whatever they want to do.”
There were approximately 120 kids taking part in the day at the centre, taking advantage of the finally warm temperatures and sunny skies.
Still this meant digging plastic Easter eggs out of the snow-filled yard at the nature centre. Inside each egg was an animal that needed to be matched up with a clue on chart by each kid before they could get their candy.
The educational day, which also included crafts and other activities, was appreciated almost as much by the parents.
“It’s very important to teach them about the environment and enjoying nature and to respect the environment,” said Laura Davis, who was there with her three kids — Kai, 7, Clara 7, and Rachael, 9 — and a friend’s kid — Marie Conteh, 7.
One casualty of the late-week snow storm was the planned tree planting at the centre, though kids were still provided with an invitation to return and plant them at a later time.
Huedepohl is also encouraging everybody to do something for Earth Day on Tuesday, to make one simple small change in their life that will benefit the environment.
“Something they can do in their everyday life that is a little greener than what they were doing before,” she said.