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EcoFest at Eagle Creek Elementary

Matthew McGuire, 5, David McGuire, 8, Danilo Carrasco, 8, and Mila Carrasco, 5,  learn about recycling while their parents plan the first EcoFest at Eagle Creek Elementary School which runs all day April 30. - Courtesy photo
Matthew McGuire, 5, David McGuire, 8, Danilo Carrasco, 8, and Mila Carrasco, 5, learn about recycling while their parents plan the first EcoFest at Eagle Creek Elementary School which runs all day April 30.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

ARLINGTON — Parents at Eagle Creek Elementary School are making good use of a grant from PUD while helping the school's teachers teach the kids.

The school's PTA applied for grant in October and received the money in November.

"We've been planning this event since then," said the Eco-Fest co-chair Laura Denovan.

Most of the cash was used to purchase books on salmon and hydropower for the accelerated readers list, but they had a bit of extra to help pay for the many projects presented at the day-long EcoFest Thursday, April 30.

The event was organized primarily by co-chairs Laura Denovan and Hillary McGuire and parents Kimberly Stevenson, Suzanne Garrett and Verlaine Meyers.

Teachers didn't have to help plan or do any extra work during the event, unless, of course, they wanted to, according to the parents.

They did get a lot of help from two teachers, however. The librarian, Jacqueline Arnold and Vicki Grende were part of the planning committee, Denovan said.

"Since the Arlington School District is trying to do the right thing in stewardship, energy conservation and recycling, we wanted to support them by helping teach the students," said Denovan.

Running during the entire school day from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursday, April 30, EcoFest 2009 features a variety of stations that will teach students and the public about recycling, energy and water conservation, salmon, watersheds and other environmental issues.

"Teachers have to sign up for time slots at the event," Arnold said.

One of the stations features stories from some of 40 new books paid for by PUD. "The new books are a part of our efforts to update the school's outdated non-fiction collection," Arnold said.

"Even the students have been asking for books on recycling and the environment as they have an interest in the environment and are eager to learn as much as they can," she added.

Students from kindergarten through fifth-grade will participate in many different activities.

"The students will learn from visiting experts and will participate in fun learning activities," Denovan said.

Along with story times showcasing the new books, stations also include:

• Tulalip Tribes Qualco Power offering a demonstration on using cow manure to create power

• Snohomish County PUD display on energy conservation and building a wind turbine

• A puppet show features characters that act out the life cycle of a salmon, presented by students in the school's enhanced learning program

• Arlington's resource manager, Bill Blake will take a group of kids bug hunting in the river.

• Snohomish Conservation District is offering displays on the watershed and how toxins erode into the river.

• One of the student's father is offering a fish printing project

• Make a salmon-shaped hat

• Hooks and Ladders obstacle course for salmon

• Composting exhibit will be located outside

• Fifth graders will plant a tree down by the creek behind the school with Franchesca Perez from the Stillaguamish Tribe's natural resources department

• Recycling game in which the contestant has to decide which items are recyclable and which are not.

• Build a salmon life cycle bracelet, with beads purchased with money from the grant.

"The pink beads represent salmon eggs," Denovan said.

Many of the projects come from the state Fish and Wildlife Department's Salmon Trunk, that the school has borrowed for a month.

"It's full of a whole bunch of stuff," said the environmentally-aware parent who is restoring a stretch of Eagle Creek on her property on the lowland behind the school.

Lucy DeGraves, of Skagit Fisheries is helping, as is Outback Power, a local company that produces solar power equipment at the Arlington Airport.

"They are offering solar race cars," Denovan said. "When the sun hits it, the car goes."

"We know that hands-on learning experiences will make lingering memories for our students," said McGuire.

"We hope this event will last in their minds for many years to come," Denovan said.

The PTA welcomes cash donations to help pay for EcoFest materials such as paper and ink for fish prints.

"We are also very grateful for another grant from the Stillaguamish Tribe," McGuire said.

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