Nonprofits hold event to educate families about local environment

One organization is working to help educate children outside of the classroom by teaching them about the local environment.
Published: Sep. 24, 2023 at 5:37 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - One organization is working to help educate children outside of the classroom by teaching them about the local environment.

The Cape Fear River Watch is working to ensure all children have the opportunity to learn about the world around them.

“I think if we start teaching our kids younger about it, they’re gonna start making better and more productive changes than even the ones we’re trying to make now,” said Kris Bradley, a parent in the Wilmington area.

Bradley is a teacher and mom who hopes to educate her child and others about the world around them. She and many others attended Lakefest on Saturday.

Lakefest is an annual event held by the Cape Fear River Watch, the goal is to educate kids on the environmental systems found in Southeastern North Carolina.

Marissa Blackburn is the environmental education manager with Cape Fear River Watch. She said giving kids the opportunity for hands-on learning can leave a lasting impression.

“A lot of times kids learn better when they’re outside when they’re engaged in their learning when it’s related to something that they are doing or familiar with. So getting kids outside seeing animals seeing live animals that are found here. And getting out on Greenfield lake and a paddle boat is just sometimes a more memorable and enjoyable way for them to learn about nature and to learn about wildlife,” said Blackburn.

With guided tours and dozens of tables with different activities kids had the chance to expand their minds.

“We live in the environment, we’re part of the environment, and we’re connected to it. So it’s really important to help folks understand that and learn more about the plants and the animals and the impact that they can have on the environment in both positive and negative ways.”

Kids had the opportunity to learn about native animals, see how trash can impact waterways and learn how daily habits can leave a big impact,” said Blackburn.

Kids also had the chance to meet with professionals to learn ways they can better protect the environment.

“I think that environmental education is important because we as people are always going to share the earths environment right? We are always going to be here in our environment, and something that kids and everyone needs to learn is how to protect the ecosystems around us because it’s something we all share and are always going to share,” said Ayla Busch, an environmental educator for the Cape Fear River Watch.

People can help protect the local environment and waterways by doing things like remembering to pick up after pets and watching what kind of fertilizer used on lawns.

“The littlest things you do can make a difference. Something as small as putting the can on the recycle bin reusing something, don’t dump things out. Just be conscious. It’s going to make a difference in what you have now you have in the future,” said Bradley.