To help celebrate Earth Day, NAFTC staff members Scott Martin and Julie Whiteman joined forces with West Virginia University (WVU) to show kids the importance of building a better future for the environment. Earth Day, first held on April 22, 1970, has been an annual event for people around the world to celebrate the earth and renew a commitment to building a safer, healthier, and cleaner world for all.
The Empowering Kids! WVU Earth Day! event provided children with an opportunity to participate in hands-on activities such as “Mining for Chocolate Chip Cookies,” planting tomatoes and flowers using organic materials, and making necklaces with colored beads that represented issues such as hunger, poverty, clean water, the environment, and recycling.
The NAFTC gave school-aged children the chance to construct and understand the basic operation of an electric motor. By using a magnet, a D-Cell battery, copper wire, two paperclips, and a rubber band, the kids were able to experience the function of a handheld electrical motor which allowed them to feel the “current” of the magnetic fields.
Additionally, a hydrogen fuel cell model car was on display to demonstrate the process of using solar energy to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. The model car is propelled by an electrical motor which uses electricity from the fuel cell. The fuel cell uses the stored hydrogen and oxygen to create electricity with water vapor as the only emission.
By participating in events such as this, children can learn to protect the environment while protecting their future.
“Working with children is often a more rewarding experience when compared to working with peers especially when the focus is the environment,” said Julie Whiteman. “The NAFTC is devoted to educating the nation on alternative fuels and advanced technology vehicles. That mission translates into preserving our environment for many generations to come. Children are perhaps the most important audience because it is this generation who will grow up in the era of hybrid, electric, and other alternative-fueled vehicles and who will then drive them as adults.”