Reduce, reuse, recycle
Discovery center gives kids an environmental education
A lab coat and an oversize magnifying glass were all Isabella Sheldon needed to be transformed into an "energy detective."
» On exhibit: Through Aug. 31
» Place: Hawaii Children's Discovery Center, 111 Ohe St.
» Hours: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekends
» Admission: $8; $6.75 children 2 to 17; $5 seniors
» Call: 524-5437 or visit www.discoverycenterhawaii.org
"Go green" concepts are not unfamiliar to the 7-year-old from Maryland. At home she saves earthworms and eats organic vegetables, she said. "I rescue worms at home. ... I put them in puddles because they need water. They help our soil."
But there's more to learn about saving the environment, as Isabella found during her visit to "Recycle City," a temporary display at the Hawaii Children's Discovery Center that provides lessons in caring for the earth.
Liane Usher, director of exhibits and programs at the Discovery Center, hopes the exhibit will inspire families to make Earth-friendly changes in their daily lives.
"Nowadays it is hard to ignore the fact that we all need to play a part in protecting the environment and caring for the earth," Usher said. "There are so many levels to going green, and we are demonstrating the most basic level of simple things that families can implement immediately, with very little effort. Our hope is that after implementing small changes, families will challenge themselves and make a commitment to do more."
CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL /
Arlene Sato, left, helps niece Leah Jamile, 4, make "junk bugs" from recycled materials at the Hawaii Children's Discovery Center's "Recycle City."
The exhibit includes a pretend vegetable garden "free of pesticides and fertilizers"; a recycling center that teaches how to sort recyclables (paper, aluminum and plastic); and a small house where children become "energy detectives" to root out energy wasters and energy savers.
The sorting section attracts even children too young to read, as recyclable items can be sorted by shape and color.
An art table initiated a "turn trash into treasures" mentality. Keiki built sculptures out of household objects that are typically thrown away -- old puzzle pieces, plastic bottle caps and packing materials, among them. Projects ranged from caterpillars made with old marker covers and coffee stirrers to butterflies made with Popsicle sticks and tissue.
"It's a good idea to introduce recycling at an early age," said Valerie Mimura, of Ewa Beach, who was visiting with her 3-year-old daughter, Jazzmyn. "Nowadays we need to be more conscious. If we don't take care of it, we will have unhealthy water -- the water will affect our food, like the fresh fish that we enjoy in Hawaii."
Although her young daughter might not understand all of the exhibit's messages, she has much to gain, Mimura said. "When they get older, the kids will become responsible and take care of the environment."
CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL /
Tanner Johnson, 10, gets a close look at earthworms in a composting display during a "Kids Going Green" event held last month.