SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Elementary school students from Scottsdale and Phoenix spent a day in the desert on March 10 at the 2nd annual Junior Citizen Science Festival, with premier sponsor U-Haul bolstering their education on sustainable and environmentally friendly practices.
Nearly 300 children attended the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy event at Lost Dog Trailhead to learn about desert ecology, history and conservation. Throughout the trails, 16 interactive booths informed students on topics ranging from animal scat to U-Haul sustainability.
“U-Haul is a community-based Company celebrating 50 years in the Valley of the Sun,” said Michelle Sullivan, Manager of U-Haul Corporate Sustainability. “We approached the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy because we wanted to see about giving back to the Scottsdale community, where many people use the products and services at U-Haul and many of our Team Members work and live.”
Mayor Jim Lane declared March 10 as Junior Citizen Science Day in the City of Scottsdale.
“We’re thrilled to collaborate on such an inspiring event that helps young students become more curious about science and our local ecology in the heart of the McDowell Mountains,” Lane said. “Thank you to U-Haul, Cox Communications and Scottsdale Charros for their generous support and underwriting that allows more children to become Junior Citizen Scientists.”
The one-day event catered to students in local public and home-schooled systems. Students who preregistered received a backpack filled with fun, educational items.
“The Junior Citizen Science Festival was an excellent setting to raise awareness and educate younger generations about the need to use resources wisely, so that we can all enjoy our parks and natural habitats for years to come,” Sullivan said. “At U-Haul, we recognize that how carefully we utilize the resources, tools, equipment and facilities we have today determines our tomorrow.”
A map of the trails directed the students to the 16 booths. After learning about geology and the local ecology, students received a sticker to place on their coordinating map icon. Collecting stickers allowed students to enter the raffle for a custom U-Haul 6-speed bicycle. The raffle prize features a foldable frame, adjustable seat and adjustable handlebars.
“Children and adults should be involved in outdoor activities that consequently make connections with the preserved environment in our natural parks,” said U-Haul Team Member Elizabeth Welch, who works with the U-Box program. “I really appreciate the volunteer opportunities that U-Haul offers. It shows that the Company genuinely cares for our community and its employees’ personal development.”
U-Haul Does Its Part
The industry leader in do-it-yourself moving and self-storage is most noteworthy for its truck and trailer sharing. This core model helps keep 19 personally owned, large capacity vehicles, pickups, SUVs, and vans off the road for every one U-Haul truck placed in a community.
U-Haul offers a buyback guarantee for boxes. It also encourages customers to use the Take a Box, Leave a Box program. This program allows people to leave boxes at any company store and other customers to use them for free. The Company also sells biodegradable packing peanuts, made of primarily corn and potato starch. These peanuts dissolve in water and consequently help keep more than 7,750,762 cu ft. of Styrofoam out of landfills.
At the U-Haul booth, students participated in a game of bingo while learning about sustainability. U-Haul Team Members named ways to conserve energy and preserve our planet, such as walking to school and recycling. Then if the students participated in any of the ways, they could win a U-Haul plush toy.
“U-Haul brought something very unique,” said Melanie Tluczek, Field Institute Assistant Director for the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy. “They not only provided financial support, but they donated a truck, canopies and other equipment. U-Haul also brought wonderful volunteers who helped with everything from setup and take-down to helping at the educational tables. We truly could not have accomplished our goals without the support from U-Haul.”
Finally, it was time to announce a Junior Citizen Science Festival raffle winner. Isaac, a 5th grade student from David Crockett Elementary, was the lucky recipient of the custom U-Haul bicycle. This bike is the first Isaac has ever owned and his excitement was almost tangible. Isaac’s father told U-Haul Team Members that he would be buying Isaac a helmet and himself a bike in the near future, so they could ride together.
Did you know U-Haul also sponsored the Guardian Games to benefit Special Olympics Arizona? Learn more at myuhaulstory.com.