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Connecticut Celebrates Earth Day
By Kendra Oates
Scholastic Kids Press Corps

Kid Reporter Kendra Oates with Commissioner Gina McCarthy
Kid Reporter Kendra Oates with Commissioner Gina McCarthy, of Connecticut's Department of Environmental Protection.
(Photo: Kendra Oates)
Earth Day, an international holiday, is a time to focus on environmental issues in communities around the world. I recently had the opportunity to talk to Gina McCarthy, Commissioner of Connecticut's Department of Environmental Protection, about the importance of this day and how young people can get involved in environmental issues.

As commissioner, McCarthy's job is to oversee Connecticut's environmental agency. Some of her responsibilities include making sure that Connecticut's water is clean, the air quality is healthy, and the region's wildlife is safe.

According to McCarthy, one of the biggest challenges for Connecticut is the protection of Long Island Sound, a place where salt water from the ocean mixes with fresh water from rivers and land. The Sound provides feeding, nesting, and breeding for all kinds of plant and animal life. Today, more than 8 million people live along the Sound watershed. As a result, the Sound has become polluted and its fish population is decreasing due to overfishing. The Department of Environmental Protection manages these problems by monitoring fishing piers along the Sound.


Kid Reporter Kendra Oates interviews Commissioner Gina McCarthy.
Kid Reporter Kendra Oates interviews Commissioner Gina McCarthy.
(Photo: Kendra Oates)
McCarthy points out that even though more and more people are working to protect our environment, there is still a great deal of work to be done.

"We need to make our world cleaner," said McCarthy.

When asked what kids can do to help, McCarthy encouraged them to talk to their parents about recycling, so families can stop wasting resources. Her most important advice, though, is to go outdoors.

"I want [kids] to play," she said "I want them to learn how the outdoors works. Explore creatures, plants, and trees. I think that is the best thing kids can do."

Connecticut is a state that takes Earth Day seriously, and many events are being held to teach children about the environment this year. These activities include wildlife exploration, educational shows, and cleanup days along parks and beaches. All of these environmental programs give kids a chance to learn about the world and the wonderful things living in it. Then kids can do their part to protect it.