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Niagara Falls State Park Celebrates Earth Day with Local Elementary School Students

Forty-three fifth graders scheduled to visit park and learn about environmental stewardship

BUFFALO, N.Y. (April. 22, 2008) – Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts at Niagara Falls State Park has chosen Earth Day as a chance to educate a group of local elementary school students on the importance of environmental stewardship. The company has extended invitations to 43 young leaders from Kalfas Elementary School to visit the park, learn about ‘green’ practices and help in ongoing beautification projects at the park.

When Earth Day rolls around on April 22, Niagara Falls staff will provide students with a variety of environment-based educational activities. Niagara Falls staff members are part of Delaware North Companies, a corporation that operates within many national landmarks including Yosemite National Park, Grand Canyon and Sequoia National Park, and remains committed to responsible resource management.

"It is a wonderful feeling for us to introduce the young children to our local environment and to teach them about our environmental challenges as they become the future caretakers of the Earth," said Keith Jedlikowski, environmental manager for Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts at Niagara Falls State Park. "Through these interactive programs we hope to better develop their understanding of the environment, and influence them to become aware of how they can help keep the Earth healthy."

Delaware North introduced GreenPath®, a program dedicated to responsible resource management and environmental stewardship in 2000. The program has helped the company distinguish itself in its industries. Through Delaware North Companies GreenPath® initiative, Niagara Falls State Park has remained a fervent advocate of implementing environmentally-friendly practices. Last year, the park recycled more than 14,000 gallons of glass, plastics and metals and over 1,500 gallons of grease. In addition, the park recycled two old electric cars to a scrap metal dealer and continues to diligently monitor its electric and natural gas usage.

The fruits of GreenPath® will be evident when Kalfas’ students gather, on Earth Day, in the park’s Discovery Center, which houses interactive displays, a 180 degree multi-screen theater and a 26-foot rock wall that resembles the Niagara Gorge. At the Discovery Center they will discuss different ways children can help protect the Earth, and learn about how the Center teaches people about the local environment. They will also have the opportunity to ride the Center’s visual elevator, which explores a virtual trip into the heart of the gorge. Later, they will attend a power plant demonstration during which they will learn about electric and hybrid vehicles.

The afternoon Earth Day events will be primarily focused on hands-on outdoor activities. Along with the New York Parks’ Horticulture Department, the students will have the opportunity to plant pansies and violas on Three-Sisters Island. Later, they will work together to plant a tree on Goat Island in commemoration of the day.

"Each year we look forward to partnering with NYS Parks on our Earth Day event because it is a chance to reach out to the community and educate students on the importance of environmental awareness and show them how easy it is for one person to make a difference," said Don Henk, general manager for Delaware North Companies Parks and Resorts at Niagara Falls State Park. "In the past few years we have planted several trees throughout the park and it is fun to bring the new group of students to those trees and check on the progress. Those students can come back to the park years from now and be able to tell their family members that they planted that tree."

At the end of the visit, students will enjoy a healthy lunch of turkey sandwiches, fruit, pretzels and bottled water, courtesy of Delaware North Companies.