News Release Details


EAC?s Discovery Park Campus celebrates Earth Day

Story Photo
[Click Image to Enlarge] EAC’s Discovery Park Campus celebrates Earth Day

By Lexi Lee

Thatcher, AZ—Eastern Arizona College’s annual EARTH DAY! at Discovery Park Campus (DPC) event last month provided opportunities for local youth to interact with individuals from several state and federal agencies involved with environmental protection and public use. Over 150 fifth grade students from Pima and Thatcher Elementary Schools participated in activities and lessons about the importance of protecting nature and the environment.

“From tree rings to frogs and from water quality to fire safety, Earth Day at Discovery Park Campus provided youngsters a chance for hands-on instruction through a series of fun activities,” said Bill Brandau, director of the U of A Extension Office.

Students learned several different aspects of nature and the environment as they used test kits to determine the quality of the DPC pond’s water with Mel Taylor and Byron James from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. Students also learned about differences in animals while they held and observed several types of animal skulls and skins with Devin Skinner from the Arizona Department of Game & Fish. Another learning opportunity involved the process of safely removing copper ore from the ground and the steps taken to prepare and restore previous mining areas with Brian Ford from Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold. Fernando Henry and his wild land firefighting crew from the Safford District of the U.S. Forest Service taught fire safety and had some fun as they revved up their fire truck and cooled the students down when the weather started to get warm. Cindy Pearson and Lori Knight, from the U of A Extension Office taught about the water cycle with an activity using colored beads to emphasize the importance of keeping our water clean.

Several EAC biology students were on hand to explain their work with the endangered Chiricahua Leopard Frog, and how the EAC Biology Department is using its ranarium to increase the population of these colorful frogs.

Several Discovery Park Campus staff were also on hand for activities. In “Dendrochronology” with Chris Woods, students studied tree rings to see indications of the weather patterns that a tree has lived through. Larissa Beus and Janelle Hardcastle surprised many of the students by having them observe the microscopic life forms that can be found in a single drop of water. Haleigh and Darrin Wahl demonstrated the variety of animal tracks found in one area; then, using ink and a variety of animal foot stamps, students identified the animals and what type of terrain they were best suited to travel on. Spencer Lee demonstrated the special adaptations that animals have made to be successful in a variety of environments with stories, pictures, and real skulls.

“EARTH DAY! at Discovery Park provides an absolutely wonderful opportunity for the educational, environmental, and public agencies of the Gila Valley to come together in promoting interest in the sciences and their practical use in protecting the environment,” says EAC Discovery Park Campus director, Paul Anger. “Our youth are our greatest natural resource, and by teaching them, we can improve the environment and the world for generations to come.”

For more information about EAC’s Discovery Park Campus, contact Anger at (928) 428-6260.