VICENZA, Italy -- The community celebrated Earth Day with multiple events during the week that led up to the April 22 observance.

Directorate of Public Works representatives visited Vicenza Elementary School April 16 to talk to students in Kindergarten through 5th grade about the day and what they can do on a day-today basis to improve the environment around them. DPW representatives were Kurt Brownell and Jamie Ramirez.

Ramirez demonstrated how our actions can directly impact the quality of water that runs off the landscape after rain. Brownell used photos of his home state of Wisconsin to educate students about Mississippi River ecology and what we can do to make the Earth a better place.

Early in his career, Brownell played a part in the production of a documentary about dolphins, "Where Have all the Dolphins Gone?"

The students watched the documentary, and discussion followed on how a person's buying habits can be used to stop unsustainable practices.

This was demonstrated in the movie by showing how hundreds of thousands of dolphins died to catch tuna prior to the movie being aired in 1990. Brownell and a small group of activists organized a worldwide tuna boycott. With the airing of the documentary, the practice of catching dolphins to catch tuna was halted.

This type of activity demonstrates how individuals can affect positive change.

Three students were chosen to give speeches about Earth Day and improving the environment. They were Grace Diaz, 4th grade; Lasia Owens, 5th grade; and Luca Powell, middle school Student Council President.

Luca had these insightful words during the tree-planting ceremony: "Research shows that landscapes that include trees help us relax, lower our heart rates, and reduce stress."

Grace added, "Trees provide shade for us humans. Imagine a hot summer day and all you need is shade, then you find a tree."

And Lasia said, "It shows that when we cut down trees, our main source of oxygen, which is our lovely trees, also decreases."

The student speakers; school principals, Stephanie El Sayed and Allison Peltz; Deputy Garrison Commander, Frank Lands; Brownell; and DPW Environmental Division Chief, Carlos Rivero-deAguilar then planted the tree, a beautiful magnolia to close out the ceremony.

To complete the Earth Week events, Environmental Division personnel manned an information booth in front of the Post Exchange here to inform shoppers about the environment and things they can do in everyday life to protect the environment.
(DPW Environmental Division)