Michael Brandy, Deseret News
Jake Johnson, 9, left, Nate Osborne, 9, and Tyler Woolstenhulme, 8, plant grass seeds in pods Monday during a pre-Earth Day event.

CEDAR HILLS — A group of Cedar Hills residents gathered at The Charleston, an assisted living facility, for an early Earth Day celebration aimed at youngsters.

The Charleston does several activities a year where they invite the community to participate, and on the eve of Earth Day they wanted to get youths involved.

"Earth Day is really important and it is getting bigger and bigger each year, which is great," The Charleston's director of marketing Annie Kaiser said. "There is a lot of things within the community you can do to improve the environment and even though these guys are really young they can do something to help out."

The children that came by the event were treated to a lesson about recycling, an opportunity to plant grass seed, as well as going through puzzles and coloring games that relate to the environment.

Leann Jackson, a registered nurse for The Charleston, brought her two sons and a few of their friends to help them understand the importance of maintaining the environment.

"I brought them so they can be involved in the Earth Day activities," she said. "We are trying to be more green at our house and I want them to know that we need to grow trees and take care of the environment."

Throughout the two-hour event different groups came and went, including a local Scout troop that has been studying recycling throughout their meetings over the past month.

"If you don't recycle the earth might go bad," said 9-year-old Parker Griffes. "We need to throw stuff away the right way."

Griffes was part of the local troop whose members have been learning how to improve their recycling habits. Throughout the past month they have been collecting old newspapers and recycling them. They felt like the timing of Earth Day couldn't be better.

Then-Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day 38 years ago today. The Environmental Protection Agency was launched later that same year.

Den leader Kathy Vinson-Mack remembers the launch of many programs during the '70's, but said she was surprised with how slow the movement still was when she moved to Cedar Hills four years ago.

"I lived in Connecticut for 20 years and when I moved here I was shocked that there wasn't a lot of curbside recycling, until about a year ago," she said.

Vinson-Mack said she was very excited when Cedar Hills started their curbside recycling a little over a year ago.

"I was so happy and I want more people to know about it," she said. "I think a lot of people are still just not that aware of it so I am thinking of starting an environment group in the area."

While the children enjoyed the activities, several elderly residents at The Charleston came out to enjoy the festivities as well. Kaiser said that is another reason why they invite the public to these events. "It has been fun because I love the interaction between the residents and the kids. Some of these residents see kids a lot, but not always in this type of environment."


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