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NRCS Welcomes North Texans at Earth Day Dallas

story by Randy Henry

Build it and they will come. Earth Day Dallas did just that.

Earth Day Dallas had excellent weather for the crowds outdoors with great food as well.The third annual Earth Day Dallas festival had more than 58,000 visitors celebrating the Earth in Fair Park located within the city of Dallas during April 21-22. The event is the largest Earth Day environmental celebration in North Texas.

The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) was one of 600 exhibitors helping visitors learn more about conservation and their environment no matter what size operation landowners or producers wanted to ask about. With all age groups attending the Earth Day event, hundreds came by the NRCS booth to find out more about conservation programs and how NRCS could assist them through technical and financial assistance.

MacKenzie Moore, NRCS rangeland management specialist, helps two visitors at Earth Day Dallas.The newest groups were small-scale landowners having 20 acres or less and urbanites living in Dallas and its surrounding communities. With help from Mackenzie Moore, NRCS rangeland management specialist in McKinney, Texas, numerous conservation topics were addressed to inform a wide range of visitors wanting to know about their land.

“We saw a very diverse crowd that wanted to know more about conservation, and through Earth Day Dallas we reached people that may not have access to NRCS information,” Moore said.

Moore added it was interesting talking with people from varying backgrounds, different educational levels and age groups that did not know about NRCS. They left knowing more about conservation and the agency itself.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Urban Biologist Brett Johnson talked about wildlife conservation.“There were many questions pertaining solely to who we are and what we do, yet several inquiries about vegetable gardening and small-scale conservation in North Texas,” he said.

NRCS supplied event patrons brochures and fact sheets targeting conservation education and NRCS programs, including Backyard Conservation, Soil Health, Helping You Help Your Land, Your Hometown Clean Water Tour, Conservation Planning, and the Web Soil Survey.

Lanny Shivers, eco event manager for Earth Day Dallas, noted the annual outdoor festival elevated the environmental awareness and influenced the way North Texans think, live and work in a much greener, cleaner world.

“We want to make everyday Earth Day for all Texans and NRCS helped our patrons to better understand conservation on their land,” said Shivers.

The message of conserving our natural resources clearly came alive for visitors that had never spoken to conservation professionals like NRCS and had the chance to do so at Earth Day Dallas.

Parents and kids alike had fun galore at the Radio Disney AM 620 exercise dance party.“I was able to convey to landowners that when it comes to conservation, soil health, water and air quality, and sustainability the scale or size of an operation is irrelevant,” said Moore. “It’s rewarding to see the light bulb come on when landowners realize this point, and that they all are part of a much larger ecosystem.”

Other festival activities at Earth Day Dallas included dozens of outdoor exhibits, Radio Disney Family Zone, DFW Truck Farm 5K Run, Earth Day Dallas Tree Climbing Experience, Texas Master Naturalists, and Dallas Master Gardeners among others. Many sponsors for the outdoor festival included NBC-5/KXAS-TV, Radio Disney AM 620, The Home Depot, AT&T, FedEx, Texas Health Resources, TXU Energy, HEB Central Market, along with several local sponsors, food vendors and beverage suppliers from North Texas.