Monday, April 26, 2010

Earth Day is Growing--Are you Growing with It?

I was a slow-comer to the concept of Earth Day. Even this year, I was more excited to see what Google did to their page than the concept itself (I'm pretty ashamed to admit that ...)

My friend and colleague Kristina, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. She has organized a "Green Team" at our school to get kids involved, and Friday (the day before vacation) involved an absolutely fantastic Green Day event.

First, there was a sorting of classroom recycling bins into bottles, cans, newspaper, mixed paper, and so on done by grade level. (I am Class Advisor for the sophomore class, and we naturally won our competition :-)) After everything was sorted, Kristina pointed out how much trash was still left over, even when you took the recycling we'd done into consideration. It was extremely powerful!

Next, each grade was given a bin full of stuff, some recyclable and some not. A scavenger hunt ensued, with requested items ranging from #6 bottles to yogurt containers to a chewed piece of gum (oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that gloves were provided ...) to a signed hall pass to ... well, you get the idea. The picture above is actually of my sophomores sorting through during the scavenger hunt (I cannot believe I managed to get a picture that doesn't show anyone's face :-)). And yes, we won the scavenger hunt, too :-)

Finally, each grade was asked to make a class pledge related to the environment. Kristina had provided some information for jump-off ideas on the backs of the pledge sheets, and some of the grade levels came up with some great ideas. (My sophomores, obviously cocky from their dual wins, pledged to "recycle properly" ... le sigh, but I guess you can't win them all). During this time, members of the Green Team shared "factoids" about recycling both fascinating and frightening.

So what do you think about Earth Day? Is there more buy-in as time progresses? Is it too little, too late? Or do you think that it's blown out of proportion?

Oh, and how cool is it that my little tiny rural school has such an amazing event? Kristina (and the Green Team students, of course) should get an award for all their hard work :)