This program has a trickle-down effect

Everyone has the power to protect the environment, says Gina Hungerford, conservation coordinator for the City of Kent — even kids.

  • Thursday, May 1, 2008 6:08pm
  • News

Everyone has the power to protect the environment, says Gina Hungerford, conservation coordinator for the City of Kent — even kids.

That’s why the city and other area organizations sponsor “H2O: The Water Festival” every year, hoping to teach youngsters the importance of protecting water and the rest of the environment. This year’s event took place March 26-27 at Highline Community College in Des Moines, hosting around 1,500 fourth- and fifth-graders from schools in Kent, Auburn, Covington, Federal Way, Renton, SeaTac and Des Moines.

“The main idea is to awaken in kids a stewardship ethic, give them ideas about how they can protect the environment and empower them so they realize that they, too, can make a difference,” Hungerford said.

Sponsored by the City of Kent, City of Auburn, Covington Water District, Lakehaven Utility District, Highline Water District and Soos Creek Water & Sewer, the event has been running since 2000. It includes a number of educational presentations and hands-on science activities for students.

Hungerford said the focus of the festival is water, but includes other aspects of environmental conservation.

“Everything we do eventually ends up in the water, so that’s why we call it the water festival,” she said. “But it’s really a wide array of topics that get kids to realize they have a part in protecting the environment.”

The event was broken up into 35 sessions, with the students rotating through so they could experience all of them. The presenters are experts from the sponsoring organizations as well as hired professionals from other conservation organizations.

In the one session, a representative form Spanaway-based nonprofit environmental education organization Wildlife Encounters brought three special friends to show the students.

“This is Hope,” said presenter Marianne Wilson-Gum with a large, raccoon-like animal perched on her shoulders. “She’s an animal called a coatimundi, but you can call her a coati for short.”

The students in the room were enchanted as Wilson-Gum talked about the animal’s traits and behaviors, including its pointy, flexible nose, keen sense of smell and long, sharp teeth. She told them how the amazing animal is one of the few who have actually extended their habitat from the rain forests of Central and South America up into arid New Mexico and Arizona without human influence.

Wilson-Gum also brought a European legless lizard, which looked just like a snake, and a hedgehog for the presentation. Her main emphasis was how every species plays an important part in maintaining a healthy environment.

“All of it is interconnected,” she said. “Without all of the species, it just doesn’t work.”

Contact Daniel Mooney at 253-437-6012 or dmooney@reporternewspapers.com.

Everyone has the power to protect the environment, says Gina Hungerford, conservation coordinator for the City of Kent — even kids.

That’s why the city and other area organizations sponsor “H2O: The Water Festival” every year, hoping to teach youngsters the importance of protecting water and the rest of the environment. This year’s event took place March 26-27 at Highline Community College in Des Moines, hosting around 1,500 fourth- and fifth-graders from schools in Kent, Auburn, Covington, Federal Way, Renton, SeaTac and Des Moines.

“The main idea is to awaken in kids a stewardship ethic, give them ideas about how they can protect the environment and empower them so they realize that they, too, can make a difference,” Hungerford said.

Sponsored by the City of Kent, City of Auburn, Covington Water District, Lakehaven Utility District, Highline Water District and Soos Creek Water & Sewer, the event has been running since 2000. It includes a number of educational presentations and hands-on science activities for students.

Hungerford said the focus of the festival is water, but includes other aspects of environmental conservation.

“Everything we do eventually ends up in the water, so that’s why we call it the water festival,” she said. “But it’s really a wide array of topics that get kids to realize they have a part in protecting the environment.”

The event was broken up into 35 sessions, with the students rotating through so they could experience all of them. The presenters are experts from the sponsoring organizations as well as hired professionals from other conservation organizations.

In the one session, a representative form Spanaway-based nonprofit environmental education organization Wildlife Encounters brought three special friends to show the students.

“This is Hope,” said presenter Marianne Wilson-Gum with a large, raccoon-like animal perched on her shoulders. “She’s an animal called a coatimundi, but you can call her a coati for short.”

The students in the room were enchanted as Wilson-Gum talked about the animal’s traits and behaviors, including its pointy, flexible nose, keen sense of smell and long, sharp teeth. She told them how the amazing animal is one of the few who have actually extended their habitat from the rain forests of Central and South America up into arid New Mexico and Arizona without human influence.

Wilson-Gum also brought a European legless lizard, which looked just like a snake, and a hedgehog for the presentation. Her main emphasis was how every species plays an important part in maintaining a healthy environment.

“All of it is interconnected,” she said. “Without all of the species, it just doesn’t work.”

Contact Daniel Mooney at 253-437-6012 or dmooney@reporternewspapers.com.

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