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A brief history of the natural world [photo gallery]

Environmental Fair at Five Rivers explores the present and past

Children play a game while learning about the emerald ash borer on Thursday, May 16, during the Environmental Fair at Five Rivers Environmental Education Center.

Children play a game while learning about the emerald ash borer on Thursday, May 16, during the Environmental Fair at Five Rivers Environmental Education Center. Photo by John Purcell.

— “We used the oil absorbent pads that float to keep oil off of the pond simulation,” said DEC Environmental Engineer Rob DeCandia. “In beginning we try to give them a little overview of land and groundwater. These guys were third graders … so you kind of have to tailor it a little bit. Some of the fifth graders … talked about it in school so they understand it and you can get into a little more detail.”

Presenters in another group discussed invasive species affecting the forest, such as the Asian longhorned beetle that bores in maple and other hardwood trees. If an infestation is severe the beetle can kill off a tree because it basically eats deeper and deeper into the tree.

This presentation’s game involves the emerald ash borer and how the pest is attracted and stuck to a trap. Children in a relay race ripped off ping-pong sized balls stuck to a stump and then stuck the balls, or emerald ash borers, to a mock purple trap similar to what is designed to catch the pest.

Video

Asteroid hits Five Rivers

Watch an asteroid come crashing down onto a T-Rex during the "Walk Thru Time" presentation at Five Rivers Environmental Education Center's Environment Fair on Thursday, May 16.

Watch an asteroid come crashing down onto a T-Rex during the "Walk Thru Time" presentation at Five Rivers Environmental Education Center's Environment Fair on Thursday, May 16.

The “Walk Thru Time” presentation added some Hollywood flair to the day. The first surprise was a smoldering volcano standing more than five feet tall that without warning erupted red streamers and a debris cloud made of Cheerios.

Right before the last stop on the tour was the showstopper, as a faux asteroid came careening down from a nearby tree to the ground right next to a blow-up T-Rex. It let off a stream of smoke as it fell and shot the T-Rex up in the air as is landed, signaling the end of the days of the dinosaurs.

For environmental educators, the hope is children will want to return to Five Rivers after to explosions and volcanoes are gone.

“Hopefully they … have their parents bring them back out,” Evans said. “These kids are the future stewards of the environment. We won’t be around forever, but hopefully with the next generation that comes up we teach them some reasons why we feel it is important to protect the environment and keep open space and natural areas like this available.”

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