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Earth Day is Sunday, April 22nd this year and the Baldwin campus is buzzing with activity! This year marks the 48th year people around the world have celebrated Earth Day. The first one, in 1970, helped to usher in the climate that saw the creation of the EPA, the signing of the Clean Air and Endangered Species Acts and countless other movements that have sought to ensure the preservation of our planet. This year's theme is reducing plastic pollution.
Recently, the Middle School advisory groups, inspired by Grace Halak '22, collected used-up markers for recycling. This act of service kept hundreds of plastic markers out of landfills and waterways. Anna Wetzel '22 started a successful initiative to get plastic straws out of the dining hall. Now our dining hall offers sustainably produced bamboo straws.
The Upper School Enviro Club, headed by Emily Thompson '18, brought in a speaker to address sustainability in education and has worked to educate about recycling here on campus.
The senior Environmental Science class is spending the month of April completing a capstone project in which they research a problem, educate and then attempt to innovate a solution. This year the class has looked at depletion and sustainability of common resources, including fuel, air, water and earth. Students chose a topic they were personally interested in and inspired them to both learn more and teach others. Through research, the students became experts in their topic and wrote a short research paper detailing the issue. One student is even taking a bee keeping class on the weekends as part of her research.
Once they became the experts, our Upper School students had access to several Lower School classes and taught hands-on lessons that were age-appropriate for their audience. Another student created a game to introduce the idea of environmental justice to 4th graders.
Whether they were teaching the PreK about the importance of the ocean ecosystem, planting flowers with Kindergarten during a lesson on bee pollenization or discussing "water wars" with the 5th grade, the Upper School students educated others on a topic about which they are passionate.
The students were also challenged to "act." Could they do something small to contribute to a solution? They were asked to document an action they took or document a plan or product that could solve the problem on a larger scale.
So what will you do for Earth Day? Remember - it's reduce first, then reuse, then recycle. Less plastic means less ocean, air and land pollution and a cleaner world for us all.