From Gridiron Star to Eco-Hero
Ovie Mughelli helps kids go green in Atlanta
Earth Day is April 22, but kids in Atlanta got an early start on conserving the environment. On Saturday, the Chattahoochee Nature Center held the Earth Day Kids Fest to bring awareness in making the world a greener place.
Beside Georgia's Chattahoochee River, kids and their parents participated in outdoor activities. They also visited pavilions set up by eco-friendly organizations such as the Captain Planet Foundation, Ovie Mughelli Foundation, Girl Scouts of America, Mothers & Others for Clean Air, the Atlanta Hawks basketball team, and the store REI.
Famous cartoon eco-superhero Captain Planet was present to take pictures with kids and fans of the TV show Captain Planet. The award-winning family band Laughing Pizza provided entertainment for two hours to a large crowd the visitors.
Also in attendance was Ovie Mughelli, the starting fullback for the National Football League (NFL) team Atlanta Falcons. The Pro Bowl player and two-time All Pro spoke with the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps about football, Earth Day, and his environmental work as the greenest athlete in the NFL.
"You'd think athletes are the first ones to jump into the environmental scene because we do most of our sports out in the environment," Mughelli said. "As an athlete, I have to get involved. I'm doing everything I can to make sure the next generations, including my kids, have a healthy planet."
Mughelli created the Ovie Mughelli Foundation in 2010 to support the development of kids by educating them on the environment. Since then, Mughelli has been named the number-two eco athlete in the world according to the website PlanetGreen.com.
"It's all about the kids, teaching the next generation what they can do to help the planet, and we've got to make it fun," he said.
After signing autographs and taking countless pictures, Mughelli proceeded to play some eco-friendly games including an intense human wheelbarrow race and hoop rolling. On the same meadow, the Hawks pavilion had set up basketball hoops across from a badminton court and a stack of hula hoops. Hiking trails and canoes were also available as well as a chance to interact with a real bison.
Kids also rushed to become the newest planeteers for the Captain Planet Foundation. Others tried to help reach the Earth Day goal of one billion acts of green. As of Wednesday afternoon, there had been 977,876,124 green acts completed so far.
But being green means more than just pitching in on Earth Day.
"The thing about being an environmentalist is being a good person and being a good human being, who means you care about the people," Mughelli said. "You want to give them the best quality of life possible."
Watch Kid Reporter Andrew Liang's interview with Ovie Mughelli!
EARTH DAY 2012
Celebrate Earth Day and the fight to keep our planet clean on April 22. Scholastic Kid Reporters explore ways to make every day Earth Day in the Earth Day 2012 Special Report.
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