Youth conference focuses on environment

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David Heermance (left) and Elijah Martinez enjoy the view at the Ute 3 air monitoring station located approximately 10 miles southwest of Durango.
Elijah Weaver (left) tests different elements during a discussion about acidic rain with Camille Keith (right).
Camille Keith from the Environmental Programs Division gives a demonstration about acidic rain.
Lexy Young learns about acidic rain.
Elijah Weaver tests various elements during the acidic rain demonstration.
David Heermance, air quality specialist, talks to the youth group about greenhouse gases.
David Heermance (right) demonstrates how a portable engine analyzer calculates vehicle emissions.
Lexy Young and Kaylan Weaver feel skunk fur as a part of the Environmental Programs presentation Wednesday, July 27 for the ELKS Conference.
Jon Broholm, Wildlife Technician brings out the fur of a mountain lion and lets the kids touch and get a feel for different animal furs.
Jon Broholm and Henry Whiteskunk, Wildlife Techs, give a presentation about the natural resources on the reservation and what their department does as a part of the ELKS Conference.
Damon Toledo | The Southern Ute Drum
Damon Toledo | The Southern Ute Drum
Damon Toledo | The Southern Ute Drum
Damon Toledo | The Southern Ute Drum
Damon Toledo | The Southern Ute Drum
Damon Toledo | The Southern Ute Drum
Damon Toledo | The Southern Ute Drum
Trennie Collins | The Southern Ute Drum
Trennie Collins | The Southern Ute Drum
Trennie Collins | The Southern Ute Drum
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From July 25 through July 27, the Environmental Leadership and Knowledge Seminar (ELKS) hosted a productive youth conference that studied on the fundamentals of air quality, water quality, and recycling. Youth participants gathered with members from the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) to learn about the department’s duties. The conference was divided into three groups that focused on key issues – Methane Monday, Tainted Water Tuesday, and Recycled Waste Wednesday. Youth participants were given a variety of hands on activities instructed by members from the EPD.

“It’s great that you are all joining us for this conference, because everything you’re going to learn about is already impacting the reservation,” David Heermance, Air Quality Compliance Specialist said. “Having knowledge about how these departments preserve different resources will be a necessity for those of you who may want to go into the same field.”

The youth group kicked off the conference with a game of bingo where they identified various safety equipment and uniforms used in the work field.

Afterwards, Camille Keith from the J&R Environmental Program gave a lecture on identifying acidic rain using dyes and a color chart. The youth group studied with an assortment of elements to determine what would be acidic.

“The group learned a lot on how serious these environmental issues can be,” Keith stated. “It’s important that everyone is aware of what impacts the Earth and our environment.”

Throughout the week, the youth group participated in activities that expanded on these subjects, including field trips to Ute 3 air monitoring station, Scott’s Pond, and Beaver Creek.

“The kids really seemed to enjoy learning about environmental issues,” stated Crystal Kelly, air quality specialist. “They’re enjoying the activities, and we’re happy to teach them about these different topics.”

Elijah Weaver who participated in the activities commented, “I like that we learned about how things impact the environment … there was a lot of information given to us.”

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