By SUNNY LOCKWOOD
Kids sang about rain, got a close look at water insects, practiced extinguishing fires with a hose and explored rotting logs Tuesday, Wednesday and yesterday during the Stanislaus National Forest Service's annual Earth Day celebration at White Pines Lake.
About 750 elementary students from schools in Calaveras, Stanislaus and Tuolumne counties learned about the human connection to Earth, plants, water, air and animals through music, short hikes, stories and demonstrations.
Joy Barney, event coordinator, said Forest Service biologists, hydrologists, fire experts and naturalists took eager youngsters through high-energy, hands-on experiences to teach the Earth-friendly concepts.
This year's theme was "Our Earth and Us, Everything is Connected."
Volunteers from the Calaveras County Sheriff's Office, Calaveras Big Trees Association and the Federal Bureau of Reclamation staff from New Melones Reservoir were also involved.
Barney said the Earth Day program has been in existence for seven years. It moved from Tuolumne to Calaveras County last year to enable more schools to take part.
"Last year, we got snowed out one day. This year, it's been perfect," she said.