SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii Aca,!" Live hula dancers and tales of adventurous sea turtles captured the hearts and minds of hundreds of children, here, during the 3rd Annual Earth Day Festival at the Kalakaua Community Center, April 23.

Nearly two dozen exhibitors engaged a record number of approximately 450 children (with parents in tow) in activities that informed and taught them about all types of environmental sustainability ranging from energy, water, land, coral reefs, oceans and more.

Upon arriving at the event, attendees received an Earth Day passport that was stamped after taking part in educational activities at select exhibits.

The first hundred kids who turned in their completed passports received a 2010 Earth Day T-shirt and were entered into a drawing for fabulous prizes at booths throughout the festival.

Other event highlights included live theatrical performances on the main stage of "The Adventures of Gary & Harry, A Tale of Two Turtles."

The turtles creatively engaged kids in the story with their impersonations of lobsters, squid and other ocean creatures.

The performance was presented by actors from Ohia Productions, an organization that educates children about the environment and island culture through theatrical performances.

In the main activity room, the Hawaii Nature Center and the Hawaii Coral Reef Initiative taught kids about conservation on land and in the ocean through fun, hands-on activities.

Outdoors in the courtyard and throughout the lawn area surrounding the Kalakaua Community Center, dozens more exhibitors spent the afternoon getting kids excited about learning.

"It's amazing to see so many people come out to our event," said Claire Ridding-Johnston, Army Hawaii Family Housing project director, as she took in the crowd. "The event has grown tremendously in just a few years, and we can credit much of this year's success to the members of our Earth Day Festival Committee who spent several months planning it."

The annual event is coordinated by a committee staffed with representatives from U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii's Directorate of Public Works, AHFH, and Actus Lend Lease.

This year the committee was provided with important financial support from the Actus Community Fund, a nonprofit organization committed to supporting military men and women who live in homes and communities where Actus Lend Lease employees live and work.

Col. Matthew Margotta, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii commander, who has supported the event alongside Ridding-Johnston during the past few years, expressed his excitement over how much the event has grown during a brief address to families at the event.

Both Margotta and Ridding-Johnston look forward to the event's continued success, giving more families an opportunity to learn about sustainability, and how they can be part of important Army and AHFH partnership initiatives surrounding conservation.

Many organizations came out to support the Earth Day Festival, sharing exciting activities and information with military families, including the following:

Aca,!AcArmy and Air Force Exchange Services-Hawaii Exchange
Aca,!AcAqua Engineering
Aca,!AcDirectorate of Emergency Services' Military Police
Aca,!AcDirectorate of Public Works' Clean Water Branch, Energy Conservation Branch, and Environmental Services
Aca,!AcHawaii Coral Reef Initiative
Aca,!AcHawaii Nature Center
Aca,!AcHawaiian Electric Company
Aca,!AcMark Gervacio, Hawaii Story Time
Aca,!AcOhia Productions
Aca,!AcPerformance Landscaping
Aca,!AcSchofield Barracks Commissary
Aca,!AcSea Life Park Hawaii
Aca,!AcSgt. Yano Library
Aca,!AcTetra Tech

Check out more photos on Army Hawaii Family Housing's Flickr site or U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii's Flickr site.