Earth Day Festival Makes A Big Impression On Some Small Children

"That one scares me daddy," says the young Serena Goldsberry.

"Noo, he's not gonna hurt you," her grandfather, Chris Goldsberry, replies.

Serena says, "I want to see that one!"

For Serena Goldsberry and her grandfather Chris, it's not every day you can pick up a sea creature. But everyday is an opportunity to appreciate nature.

Goldsberry says, "That's everyday with us in the family, Earth Day. We try to keep our environment as clean as possible. We don't litter. In fact my children got in trouble one time just for throwing a bubble gum wrapper out the window. They couldn't understand it at the time, but now they know."

At Saturday's Earth Day Festival at Gulf Islands National Seashore, kids learned to put trash where it belongs.  To Mother Nature, age is no excuse for littering.

Faye Walmsley with the Gulf Islands National Seashore says, "They can help us protect it, preserve it. Also to connect the resource, To be not afraid of it, to learn, to explore, to grow."

Parents and organizers say that the interactive activities at the earth day festival are what's most important. They hope that the hands on learning really resonates with the kids, creating an appreciation for the environment that lasts a lifetime.

Goldsberry says, "If they don't start caring for the environment now, then they're not going to have the quality of environment we have now."

If the amazed expressions and anxious hands are any indication, it appears that this Earth Day made a solid impression.

Serena asks, "Can we go to the beach tomorrow?"

Many of the kids at today's event were part of a "Junior Ranger" program at Gulf Islands.

Visiting all the work stations put the kids one step closer to officially becoming a Junior Ranger through the National Parks & Wildlife Service.