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Kids learn about helping protect environment
Manteca Library’s RuthAnne Bassett leads a group of kids in an Earth Day song - photo by HIME ROMERO
Reena Sodiny didn’t know what activity she was going to do with her daughter for Earth Day when Friday rolled around.

But all it took was mentioning to her young daughter, Medha Boddugari, that the day was finally here to learn where she would be spending part of her afternoon.

“She’s known about Earth Day since she was three-years-old, and when I told her that it was today when I woke her up she said we had to go down to the library for the event they have,” Sodiny said. “She knew that they do crafts with recycled paper and things like that, and she was excited to be a part of that.”

More than two dozen children packed into the McFall Room at the Manteca Public Library Friday afternoon to hear Earth-related stories and partake in crafts that center around reusing existing items that can be found around the house and making sure to incorporate recycled items into daily life.

Librarian Ruthanne Bassett, who read two Earth-conscious stories to those in attendance before turning them loose to the arts-and-crafts tables, believes that the subtle introduction of recycling and reusing materials is right on part with the Earth Day message for young people.

“We’re not going to solve the Earth’s problems in one day, but these small changes that show them you can reuse paper that has something on the other side or make crafts with what they find around the house,” Bassett said. “It gets them to see Earth Day in a different light.”

The Earth Day itself was created by a United States Senator in 1970 as an environmental teach-in, and primarily focused on the status and the needs of America rather than the globe as a whole. By 1990 the event had gone International and was being observed and celebrated in more than 141 countries.

Initially the early events were either overshadowed or mixed-in with the civil unrest of the period – which included protests about the U.S. involvement in Vietnam and the civil rights movement – and the first ever event was watched with keen interest by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and J. Edgar Hoover who were on the lookout for subversive elements.

But on Friday, Sara Senft celebrated Earth Day by taking her nieces to celebrate nature in its purest form and expose them at a young age to what they can do to ensure that the Earth remains inhabitable.

“I think that it’s important for kids to learn at a young age how to take care of the earth,” said Senft, who was seated next to nieces Hailey and Taylor King. “I also think that events like this are great because it gives kids a chance to get to know other kids that aren’t in their class. All around it’s just a great idea and a great event.”