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Gardners Elementary School second-grader Kamiyah Lofton scrunched her nose as she looked through a magnifying glass at a spoonful of earthworms.
Some of her classmates said the ball of squirmy worms was “icky,” and others said the worms were “cool.”
Kamiyah was visiting the vermicomposting station where teacher Tedi McManus told students that 420,000 tons of food waste is buried or burned every year in North Carolina.
Earth Day was celebrated at the school Tuesday. All 240 students participated in the event.
Each class carried a banner made from recycled materials with messages on how students can take better care of the planet such as recycling, picking up trash, planting trees, turning off the water when brushing teeth, turning off the lights when not in a room, sharing toys and clothes, making an effort to reuse products and reduce the use of non-recyclable materials like plastic bags.
“Our students need to understand the importance of the impact that each one of them can have on taking care of our Earth, their personal responsibility and going out and sharing that,” said Principal Cheryl Baggett.
“We have been celebrating Earth Day since 2013 here at Gardners Elementary, and in 2008 we actually started the school-wide recycling program,” added Ginger Garrou, an instructional coach at the school.
“Our motto this year is ‘Earth Day Every Day’ because we want our students to realize that although the actual day is April 22, they need to celebrate Earth Day every day,” Garrou said. “They need to recycle every day. They need to reduce their waste every day by composting food or they need to reuse things over again and repurpose them.”
Garrou said it’s important to expose to children at a young age the idea that people are here to take care of the Earth.
“If we start and instill those principals in them when they are young, then they will carry through, and they will pass them down to their own children,” Garrou said.
Students visited stations during the morning including a technology area where they used Google Glasses to see the effects of ocean pollution. At another, they learned what is recyclable and what is not. They also learned about birds and how to better appreciate the idea of coexisting with other creatures on Earth.
Libby Bass, a third-grader, said it’s important to recognize Earth Day.
“It keeps our Earth healthy, and it keeps the animals from dying and it keeps us alive,” Libby said. “I have been learning how to reuse, recycle and reduce and refuse because it keeps you healthy and it doesn’t trash the Earth.”
Blake Near, a third-grader, said he learned the importance of recycling “so it doesn’t pollute the air and doesn’t pollute the ocean.”
“Recycle, reuse, reduce and refuse,” Blake said. “So you can make sure the animals and the world is safe.”
“There are many things that you can reuse, reduce and recycle,” said Lyndsey Summerlin, another third-grader. “You can do all kinds of things so our Earth can stay clean and healthy.”