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Mayor's Office Heading City Letter Head

March 21, 2002
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Tess Fogarty, Omaha Mayor’s Office, 444-5921

Mayor Kicks off Environmental Awareness Days at Earth Wellness Festival

Mayor Don Wesely today visited the eighth annual Earth Wellness Festival to award prizes in the annual water conservation busboard contest and to sign a proclamation designating March 21 through April 30 as Environmental Awareness Days in Lincoln. The Festival at Southeast Community College is an environmental education program for local fifth-graders.

"This Festival is giving our kids a better understanding of our environment and the way air, land, water and living resources are connected to each other," said Mayor Wesely. "By learning these lessons now, they are more likely to grow up treasuring our environment and taking steps to protect our natural resources."

The busboard contest, also for fifth-graders, is sponsored by the Water Conservation Task Force. It is designed to promote water quality and conservation as an important everyday issue for all citizens. The winning entry was submitted by Schyler Hearn from Fredstrom Elementary and will be displayed on a StarTran busboard during April and May. The Task Force also selected an entry by Johnny Knoche Meadow Lane Elementary to be displayed on a billboard.

Second place was awarded to Nate O'Keefe, Kahoa Elementary. There was a tie for third place between Sydney Chase, Rousseau Elementary and Rachel Hartley, Meadow Lane. Other winners were: fifth place, Kylie Peterson, Meadow Lane; sixth place, Brad Wooten, Rousseau; seventh place, Natalie Svoboda, Kahoa; and eighth place, Sidney Hoff, Meadow Lane.

Mayor Wesely encouraged residents to participate in the many activities planned for Environmental Awareness Days. He also reminded city residents that the Yard Waste Composting Program begins April 1. Until November 30, residents must separate their yard waste from their household trash.

"This is the ninth year for the composting program," said Mayor Wesely. "Since 1992, an estimated 126,000 tons of leaves and grass and 179,000 tons of brush and wood waste have been diverted from the landfill, adding nearly two years to the life of the landfill. The city's waste haulers are an important part of this program, and their cooperation in greatly appreciated.

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