Getting Down and Dirty: Colorado State’s Earthfest Day of Fun, Environmental Education for 2,500 Poudre School District Students

Pants rolled up and hands buried deep in the bed of the Cache la Poudre River, thousands of elementary-school children in the Poudre school district will search for hands-on insight into river ecology, wildlife, and environmental preservation at Colorado State University’s Earthfest ’99.

Earthfest ’99 will take place at Colorado State’s Environmental Learning Center April 16 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event will involve students in celebrating the environment through hands-on programs put on by Colorado State environmental education students as well as by representatives from private, governmental and non-profit organizations. Scheduled for presentations are representatives from Rocky Mountain National Park, the Colorado State Forest, Rocky Mountain Search and Rescue and the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

More than 25 different programs will be presented, and special presentations throughout the day will include: * Animal Tracks. Children will search through beaches, woods and brush for animal prints. * Insect Scavenger Hunt. Searching the nooks and crannies of the Environmental Learning Center for nature’s six- and eight-legged creatures. Children will find, catch and identify the different species they discover. * The Mountain Man. A real-life mountain man in full dress will share stories of the Old West. * Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition. The coalition will bring a natural gas powered vehicle and talk about the environmental benefits of alternative fuels. * Live Raptors. The Rocky Mountain Raptor Program will have many species of birds of prey on hand for children to learn about and observe.

Students in Colorado State University’s Recreation and Special Events Programming class organize Earthfest each year for students in the Poudre School District. The class teaches the fundamentals of organizing an event like Earthfest ’99, focusing on topics such as planning, fundraising,

promotion and event logistics. The class is a "service-learning" class, teaching the concepts of programming in both a classroom setting, and in an applied service situation by actually planning and organizing Earthfest ’99 for children in the Poudre Schools. The class is one of many service-learning based classes offered at Colorado State University.

Earthfest ’99 is a cooperative effort made possible by Colorado State University, Colorado State’s Environmental Learning Center, Poudre School District and the city of Fort Collins’ Fort Fund.

The Environmental Learning Center is located one-half mile east of Timberline Road on Drake Road. For more information about the event, contact Bert Ballard or Glenn Haas at (970) 491-2687.