• SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Michael Gruver, 7, cleans a dirty car on the ground at Bishop Museum's Water Works exhibit, as Rhonda Suzuki, chief compliance branch, Environmental Division, Directorate of Public Works, chats with him. Michael said, "You should wash your car on the grass because, if not, all this dirt goes down the storm drain, and it might kill the animals." The Earthday Festival was held April 19 at the Kalakaua Community Center.

    Earthday Festival: AHFH promotes sustainable communities

    SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Michael Gruver, 7, cleans a dirty car on the ground at Bishop Museum's Water Works exhibit, as Rhonda Suzuki, chief compliance branch, Environmental Division, Directorate of Public Works, chats with him. Michael said, "You...

  • SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Mike Poteet engages children at the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center exhibit during the Earthday Festival at the Kalakaua Community Center, April 19. Poteet explained why compost is so important to the aina, or land.

    Earthday Festival: AHFH promotes sustainable communities

    SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Mike Poteet engages children at the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center exhibit during the Earthday Festival at the Kalakaua Community Center, April 19. Poteet explained why compost is so important to the aina, or land.

  • SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Coloring iron-on transfers for T-shirts and canvass bags scores a big hit at the Earthday Festival at Kalakaua Community Center, April 19.

    Earthday Festival: AHFH promotes sustainable communities

    SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Coloring iron-on transfers for T-shirts and canvass bags scores a big hit at the Earthday Festival at Kalakaua Community Center, April 19.

  • SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - (Left to right) Dominic Iverson, 5; his brother Brysen, 6; and their friend, Dylan Lacoran, 4, await plants to put in their painted pots at the SYNERGY Kids Club exhibit during the Earthday Festival at the Kalakaua Community Center, April 19.

    Earthday Festival: AHFH promotes sustainable communities

    SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - (Left to right) Dominic Iverson, 5; his brother Brysen, 6; and their friend, Dylan Lacoran, 4, await plants to put in their painted pots at the SYNERGY Kids Club exhibit during the Earthday Festival at the Kalakaua...

  • SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Naryssa Kerr, 10, gives apt attention to Mike Poteet, with the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center (HARC) during the Earthday Festival at the Kalakaua Community Center, April 19. HARC helps students, teachers, farmers and other businesses learn more about environmentally friendly was to live and work.

    Earthday Festival: AHFH promotes sustainable communities

    SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Naryssa Kerr, 10, gives apt attention to Mike Poteet, with the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center (HARC) during the Earthday Festival at the Kalakaua Community Center, April 19. HARC helps students, teachers, farmers and...

  • SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Eleven-year-old Alvaro Martinez listens attentively while Mike Poteet with Hawaii Agriculture Research Center (HARC) explains why grass clippings and food elements are essential components of compost during the Earthday Festival at the Kalakaua Community Center, April 19. HARC helps students, teachers, farmers and other businesses learn more about environmentally friendly was to live and work.

    Earthday Festival: AHFH promotes sustainable communities

    SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Eleven-year-old Alvaro Martinez listens attentively while Mike Poteet with Hawaii Agriculture Research Center (HARC) explains why grass clippings and food elements are essential components of compost during the Earthday...

  • SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Amber Mirafuentes, 10, a fifth grader at Mililani Mauka and winner of the Arbor Day poster contest. Amber was recognized at the Earthday Festival, held April 19 at the Kalakaua Community Center.

    Earthday Festival: AHFH promotes sustainable communities

    SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Amber Mirafuentes, 10, a fifth grader at Mililani Mauka and winner of the Arbor Day poster contest. Amber was recognized at the Earthday Festival, held April 19 at the Kalakaua Community Center.

  • SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Earth is unmoved to symbolize a tree planting at the Earthday Festival, April 19. Pictured (from left to right) is Jacqueline Ralya, with the Kaulunani Urban & Community Forestry Program; Claire Ridding-Johnston, Army Hawaii Family Housing project director; Amber Mirafuentes, 10, a fifth grader at Mililani Mauka and winner of the Arbor Day poster contest; and Col. Matthew Margotta, commander, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii.

    Earthday Festival: AHFH promotes sustainable communities

    SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Earth is unmoved to symbolize a tree planting at the Earthday Festival, April 19. Pictured (from left to right) is Jacqueline Ralya, with the Kaulunani Urban & Community Forestry Program; Claire Ridding-Johnston, Army...

  • SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Brysen Iverson, 6, shows off how he is coloring his "Protect Hawaii's Plants & Animals" drawing while Dylan Lacoran, 4, examines what else needs to be done. Soon afterwards, the boys watched as their drawings were ironed on complimentary T-shirts. The Earthday Festival was held April 19 at the Kalakaua Community Center.

    Earthday Festival: AHFH promotes sustainable communities

    SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Brysen Iverson, 6, shows off how he is coloring his "Protect Hawaii's Plants & Animals" drawing while Dylan Lacoran, 4, examines what else needs to be done. Soon afterwards, the boys watched as their drawings were ironed on...

  • SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Compost, kukui nuts and plants take center stage at the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center (HARC) exhibit during the Earthday Festival at the Kalakaua Community Center, April 19. HARC helps students, teachers, farmers and other businesses learn more about environmentally friendly ways to live and work.

    Earthday Festival: AHFH promotes sustainable communities

    SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Compost, kukui nuts and plants take center stage at the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center (HARC) exhibit during the Earthday Festival at the Kalakaua Community Center, April 19. HARC helps students, teachers, farmers and...

  • SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Melynda Cervantes, 6, cleans a dirty car on the ground at the WHAT exhibit during the Earthday Festival at the Kalakaua Community Center, April 19. Melynda and her brother, Andrew, 5, are enthusiastic recyclers, according to their mom, Lou, who accompanied them to the festival.

    Earthday Festival: AHFH promotes sustainable communities

    SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Melynda Cervantes, 6, cleans a dirty car on the ground at the WHAT exhibit during the Earthday Festival at the Kalakaua Community Center, April 19. Melynda and her brother, Andrew, 5, are enthusiastic recyclers, according...

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - "When is my interview'" 10-year-old Aaron Washington eagerly inquired, repeatedly.

The Solomon Elementary School fourth grader wanted to make certain he would be on-the-record concerning his views about Earth Day. He came prepared to share his environmental wisdom.

As Washington and his friends patrolled the second annual Earthday Festival at the Kalakaua community center, here, April 19, their youth was a central component of the event.

Sponsored by Army Hawaii Family Housing (AHFH), the Earthday Festival kicked off "Green Movement," a campaign to increase environmental awareness with young people.

"Of course, change comes with generations: getting younger generations in early and helping them understand what change is about, what environmental responsibility is about, and using kids as advocates of change," said Claire Ridding-Johnston, AHFH, project director, emphasizing the role Washington's generation plays in the future of the movement.

Free plants and dozens of conservation and environmental exhibits rimmed the site with children, education and the Month of the Military Child as predominant themes of the day.

More than two dozen displays offered insights and educational opportunities for children and adults concerning garrison conservation initiatives.

Recycling, water conservation, soil management and biodegradable household products were highlighted. Farmers and landscapers showcased native and locally grown plants, fruits and vegetables, and they provided tips to home gardeners.

The exhibits combined with a variety of youth-focused activities, such as T-shirt and face paintings, inflatable jumpy castles, dramatic storytellers and plenty of keiki food were more than enough activity to keep Washington and his friends engaged for a sunny afternoon.

"Earth Day is important because it reminds us to conserve and take care of our environment," Washington said, when he was asked about the significance of the day.

Washington's moment had arrived, although he did need to have a friend hold his shave ice during his media encounter.

Eighth grader, Nikki Stuart, 13, from Mililani Mauka Middle School wanted to immediately share some of her newfound knowledge with her parents, and set some new standards for herself.

"I would tell (my parents) to conserve water because we use much more water than we should. After today, I will take shorter showers because I take them too long," Stuart said.

The Earth Day movement evolved as a natural extension of Arbor Day. In the spirit of Arbor Day, a tree planting ceremony took place designating Schofield Barracks as a "Tree City USA" community.

Col. Matthew Margotta, commander, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii; members of AHFH; and a young local artist, Amber Mirafuentes, helped plant the tree. Mirafuentes, a Mililani Mauka Elementary School student, was recognized as the winner of the Arbor Day poster contest after the planting.

"It all starts with trying to change a generation of young kids. They're our future," said Margotta. "That's the way it is in our household.

"My two boys come home from a field trip, and they talk about sustainability, conservation, the environment ... and they tell us what they learned."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16