Last Updated
May 9, 2016

Children's Environmental Awareness and Health Initiative

Fort Polk established the Children’s Environmental Awareness and Health Initiative (CEAHI) in August 2003 to help protect children from environmental health risks. The CEAHI team consists of approximately two dozen professionals, including personnel from environmental, occupational health, environmental health, public affairs, and housing. Together, these professionals have implemented the organization motto, “The Key to Protection is Prevention”, to surpass initial goals. CEAHI utilizes a variety of outlets to publish articles, distribute informative brochures, teach lessons at local schools, and participate in installation activities to promote awareness of both environmental and children’s health issues.

Public outreach was one of the biggest initial goals of the project. The team raised public awareness by publishing multiple articles and announcements in the Guardian, the installation newspaper, discussing topics such as mold; pests and pesticides; household chemicals; recycling; litter; hurricanes; archeology; water quality; and lead. Each of these articles discussed the topics as related to children’s environmental health and included a list of precautions for the people to follow to prevent environmental health risks. Some of the articles have included a children’s activity section with crossword puzzles or word finds relating to the topic. The team has educated adults and children in the community with the expectation that instilling knowledge to the parents will allow them to expand upon what the children are taught at school and discuss environmental health risks with them.

Establishing an education program was also a key element to success of the project. The team believes that the heart of an exceptional children’s environmental project lies in the children of the community. This project’s location on a military installation is unique since it can reach a vast number of adults and children due to a high turnover rate for residents, which increases the exposed population. The involvement of installation public affairs personnel increases the visibility of the program. CEAHI has the potential to be replicated and expanded into the local community of Leesville and the Vernon Parish school system, as well as to other military installations.

CEAHI at Fort Polk is leading the way for military installations across the nation. In the future, the team plans to continue publishing articles, teaching lessons at the schools, and creating informative pamphlets. CEAHI also hopes to implement new ideas like creating a children’s environmental newsletter for the school and establishing an environmental “fun facts” section in the Guardian. CEAHI has a solid foundation built with a great group of dedicated professionals that are committed to continuing the initiative in the future to protect children from environmental risks.

Pictures of Events