COPPERAS COVE, Texas - “Save our earth, one drop at a time,” was the theme for the Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful Eco Harvest event at the Copperas Cove City Park here, Oct. 14.
This was 12th year Fort Hood’s Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division supported KCCB in its annual environmental education school event, reaching out to 898 third graders.
“We are grateful for the continued support from our Fort Hood good neighbors and the many resources and connections they share with our Copperas Cove youth,” said Roxanne Flores, executive director for KCCB. “They consistently help us to grow our event, share valuable lessons and leave lasting impressions in the community.”
“We have Fort Hood staff with backgrounds in archaeology, wildlife, water, explosive safety and sustainability, who are committed to fostering stewardship,” said Shawn James, environmental protection specialist for DPW Environmental. “By creating these engaging, hands-on experiences, we hope to have a lasting impression that inspires youth to be environmentally conscious in their daily decisions.”
James used a watershed model to explain how different pollutants like petroleum, oils and fertilizers can impact the environment, fish and organisms. He challenged students to improve water cleanliness in their community.
“You can and should be members of the clean water team at your school by helping us to keep Belton Lake clean, since it is the water source we share,” he said to students. “If you spot litter or recyclables, do your part to place the items in the right containers so that they don’t end up our waterways.”
At another presentation, Israel Lee Salinas and Dustin Shuffler, occupational health and safety specialists for the Garrison Safety Office, explained to students about the dangers of an unexploded ordnance and what to do if an individual discovers a potential UXO.
“The Army’s explosive safety educational program provides us with the tools to help influence behavior and remind the community, especially children, actions to take to avoid injuries,” Salinas said.
Salinas provided inert examples of unexploded munitions they might encounter on Fort Hood and in areas surrounding the post, stressing the importance of never touching or picking it up.
Shanay Cattle-Perry, a third grade teacher at Clements/Parsons Elementary School, said bringing the students to the event was a way for them to see, touch and create experiences outside the classroom.
“It’s nice to have our students outdoors and move them beyond their textbooks to learn, explore and connect with experts on a variety of topics,” she said. “If we can educate our students to
do their part to help the planet then they continue to educate their peers, families and the next generation.”
The school event brought together 25 different presenters including several from Fort Hood’s DPW Clean Water Program and Natural and Cultural Resources Branch, Garrison Safety, Cen-Tex Sustainable Communities Partnership, City of Gatesville, Central Texas Council of Governments and more. Throughout the day, students also made their way to the Copperas Cove Civic Center to be entertained by singing zoologist Lucas Miller.
Third-grader Jeremiah Hogan explained the importance of doing his part to take care of the earth.
“When I am an adult, and if I did not help out with the environment, then this whole world would be a trash filled land,” he said. “Say if helping the environment is a video game, every time you clean up more trash, you get more points. If it’s too hard, then why don’t you call someone for help?”