The Earth provides us with the things we depend on most, such as air to breath, water to drink and soil to grow food, for example.

You can learn more about our amazing planet and have fun doing it with dozens of activities and exhibits that will be on display during Fort Leonard Wood's Earth Day Fair and Celebration. The free event, which is open to the public, is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 29 at Nutter Field House.

"It's been a few years since we've had a celebration of this size, with this scope," explained Ryan Thompson, public affairs specialist and coordinator of the celebration.

Thompson said the event will include interactive demonstrations, games and exhibits from organizations both inside and outside Fort Leonard Wood. He added that the Family-friendly event is meant for all ages, but noted that many exhibitors will have activities geared toward elementary-age children.

"We have something like 450 kids from our area schools coming to Nutter Field House," Thompson said. "It is a special event for us. It's all free, and the event is open to the public. There will be tons of fun stuff."

School-age children attending the celebration will receive eastern-redbud seedlings that they can take home and plant, while supplies last, and visit with costumed characters, such as Smokey Bear and the big, green turtle known as Clean Water Casey.

Children will also be able to plant their own seeds at three of the 13 tables sponsored by the Directorate of Public Works' Environmental Division.

"We're finalizing the seeds right now. They may have a choice between a couple of varieties of flowers or vegetables," said Charlie Neel, DPW Environmental Division chief. "We'll provide a cup, dirt and seeds. The kids can put dirt in a cup and plant a seed. They'll get a lid, and they can take it home and watch it grow."

"One: to educate as many people as we can and let them know that the environment is very important to Fort Leonard Wood and the sustained mission here," he said, "Two: just to celebrate the Earth and take care of the Earth. It's an opportunity for learning and an opportunity for everyone to have some fun."

Other exhibits and activities scheduled as part of the Earth Day Fair and Celebration include:

-- A giant aquarium set up by the Missouri Department of Conservation with several species of fish and aquatic life native to Missouri that will be set up outside Nutter Field House.

-- A hybrid car display with subject-matter experts who will talk about the ways they save energy while providing transportation.

-- An e-cycling station that will allow people who live and work on Fort Leonard Wood to dispose of their used electronics for free.

-- A display chronicling the life cycle of the monarch butterfly.

-- A display showcasing Missouri State Parks. "They'll have information on all the recreational activities available at state parks in the state of Missouri," Thompson said.

-- A square-foot gardening demonstration by the University of Missouri Extension Master Gardeners.

-- A rod-and-reel casting game and trout-stocking information provided by fisheries biologists with the post's Natural Resources Branch.

-- Exhibits on endangered species in Missouri.

-- An exhibit detailing the importance of preserving Missouri's cultural and archeological resources, which will include examples of ancient pottery and arrowheads that children can touch.

-- A program on bats species in Missouri presented by experts with Missouri State University.

-- Information on invasive species, such as feral hogs.

-- FMWR giveaways of nature-themed documentaries on DVD.

-- Door prizes, including water bottles, clip boards, journals, magnifying glasses and other items.

For more information about Fort Leonard Wood's Earth Day Fair and Celebration, contact Thompson at 573.563.4145.