Saturday science program at Spring Lake educates, offers tips

  • Lisa Langdale, right, of Windsor, and Donnie Langdale, center, help their daughter Makayla Langdale, 9, analyze how much trash is contained in packaged food items during Science Saturday held at the Environmental Discovery Center at Spring Lake Regional Park in Santa Rosa, Saturday, January 5, 2013. (Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat)

Nine-year-old Makayla Langdale eyeballed the packaging of a few common food items to see which one would generate the largest amount of trash.

There was the Lunchables box with its five individually wrapped pieces inside and the bag of Milano cookies with a wad of crumpled up paper trays.

But the biggest offender was the Lindor chocolate candy. The Windsor youth counted 23 plastic-encased pieces in a foily plastic bag, all likely to end up in a landfill.

"Minus one makes 22," said the Cali Calmecac Language Academy student with a sly smile. "Because I ate one."

She was among a dozen kids who showed up on a rainy Saturday afternoon for the "garbology" event at Sonoma County's Environmental Discovery Center.

It was the latest in a series of themed activities held at the center near Spring Lake on the first Saturday afternoon of each month. No Science Saturday is planned for February because the county parks staff will be installing a new exhibit.

On Saturday, organizers led a hands-on demonstration about wasteful packaging and ways people can reduce the amount of garbage they create.

They kicked off the discussion by showing kids a picture of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch — a floating mass of trash between California and Hawaii.

Eyes lighted up as naturalist Catrina Walker explained that the vast gyre is made up of plastic such as that found in soda bottles and packaging.

"It's about the size of Texas," she said.

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