E.A.R.T.H. Celebrates 20 Years!
This summer marks the 20th anniversary of EARTH, Richmond National Battlefield Park's summer childrens' program at Fort Harrison. EARTH, which stands for Environmental Activities Related to History, has been inspiring children ages four to twelve to learn more about the Civil War since its inception in 1979. Pat Ferrell, Richmond National Battlfield Park's education coordinator, has been there from the beginning. "When EARTH first started, it was 90% environmental. Now it's 90% history," she says.
The program changes every year, keeping repeat visitors guessing. "I want to play Civil War baseball!" yells one ten-year-old.
"We aren't doing that this year," replies Quita Stowe, a seasonal ranger with the program.
"Good," says a younger child; "I hate baseball."
Pat gets her ideas from books, other parks, activities that worked in years past and personal epiphanies. There is a preschool program as well as that EARTH program, which is for first through fifth graders. This year the preschoolers are learning about children in the Civil War and why national parks are important, while the EARTH program focuses on the more complex story of Fort Harrison and the soldiers' daily lives.
If you or your children attended the program in the past, write to us and tell us your favorite memories. We would love to hear from you. Happy birthday, EARTH!