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Green lessons in Eagle

Lauren Glendenning
lglendenning@vaildaily.com
Eagle, CO Colorado
NWS Earth Day Trash 1 DT 4-22-09
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EAGLE, Colorado ” The kids at Brush Creek Elementary School know how much of the Earth’s water is fresh and available for human use ” do you?

The students, donning green outfits at school for Earth Day Wednesday, answered trivia questions like Jeopardy champions, proving their school’s green initiative called “Green Your Routine” is teaching them about protecting their environment.

“You’ll just be healthier,” said fourth-grader Hope Gonzalez. “Not only the Earth, but also yourself.”



School parents and staff began talking about carpooling and riding bikes to school a few months ago when traffic jams during pick-up and drop-off hours became a problem, said Kim Bradley, a parent. A group of parents then thought about how the school could do even more to be green, and a committee of parents began meeting to talk about the different ways the school could teach its kids about protecting the environment. The committee works with the Gore Range Natural Science School to learn about different ways they can teach green practices to children of elementary-school age, said Beth Chabot, a parent on the committee.

Principal Anne Heckman credits the group of parents, especially Chabot and Kim Bradley, for the way the idea has evolved into a school-wide green program.



“This is a cost-free way to educate our kids on another level,” she said.

The school kicked off months of planning for Earth Day by holding assemblies and activities related to the environment. It started off bright and early when parent volunteers greeted other parents at the school and passed out flyers telling parents that “living green starts at home.”

The flyers gave a few quick tips on how families can go green: by carpooling, buying reusable containers for water instead of water bottles, using one less paper napkin a day and by cycling or walking instead of driving.



The major lesson the students learned Wednesday was about the value of recycling. The students carted around two bags with them all day, filling one with trash and one with recyclables. At the end of the day, they threw their bags into two separate piles to see how much trash they created throughout the day.

Principal Heckman made the students a deal: If they could reduce the size of the trash pile on Earth Day next year, while also increasing the size of the recycles pile, she promised to give them a month of no homework next May.

The students cheered and gasped with excitement ” if a month of no homework couldn’t convince them to reduce, reuse and recycle then nothing could.

“It’s important (to recycle),” said third-grader Zach Booth. “So we can use more stuff without making more trash.”

Xochilt Venzor already gets it. She carried around her trash and recyclables in a reusable bag all day rather than the plastic bags most kids carried.

“I think (reusable bags) will help the community,” she said.


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