With cheers and chants, Creekview Elementary students get into Earth Day. 'It sounded like a football stadium in there,' said one observer.
Veronica Ordner watched and learned from her son, Xyler, on how to go green in her life. Becoming more green took small steps at a time. Turning off the lights in a room when not in use then became turning off the lights in the house for periods of time to conserve energy. Recycling paper, cardboard and plastic became a priority. But it didn't stop there.
Xyler's school, Creekview Elementary, got involved with Earth Day in 2009 which had the school go paperless with no homework assignments given out that day. Last year, Xyler with the help of his mother Veronica, helped get the school more involved by not just going paperless for the day, but also turning off the lights at the school for a few hours to conserve energy.
Continuing to add on to the Earth Day schedule, the school also coordinated a walk to the school after students were dropped off by buses at the Community Nursing Center on Carbon Avenue and working on activities during the day that relate to Earth Day including tree planting, picking up garbage and playing games with recyclable items.
Ordner said Xyler was so passionate about helping out, he pushed her to join the Parent Teacher Association just so she could present the ideas of going more green at the school.
So for Earth Day 2011, Ordner wanted to spice things up a bit and get the school and the students even more involved. Creekview students were treated to a presentation by Ordner, Crystal Burnside and Creekview Elementary student council members all wearing "Go Green" t-shirts, about the importance of going green in life.
Students learned chants including, "Let's go green!," "Reduce, reuse and recycle," and "Earth Day, everyday," which they belted out with loud enthusiasm and excitement throughout the presentation. They also got into the act by singing in unison the song "We are the world," while waving their arms in the air. "It was really moving seeing all of the students do that," Ordner said. Burnside sang a song to the students from the band Counting Crows "Big Yellow Taxi" which talked about paving paradise to put up a parking lot.
But it wasn't just all fun and games though. Students were quizzed on their knowledge of Earth Day and other facts they were taught during the event and those who correctly answered a question received prizes including reusable water bottles and stickers.
But one example gave students a first-hand look at how much waste the school accumulates on a daily basis. Volunteers gathered and separated a day's worth of garbage and found that the school amasses about 18 bags of garbage a day, most of which is collected during lunch. While that may be discerning to some, those who helped go through the bags of garbage found that about half of the materials thrown in wastebaskets could be recycled.
It was a lesson for students looking to learn more about recycling and become more green in their lives, Ordner said.
"It was a good way to help educate the students about what can and can't be recycled around the school," she said.
Ordner said she isn't a professional, but just a parent who is looking to stay involved in the community and work on something that many others can get involved with.
"I would love to see this continue to grow each year with more schools in the area getting involved and have more students learn about the importance of recycling," she explained.
Creekview Principal John Thomas thought the presentation was a good way to teach students that recycling can help a lot of people.
"I feel it's really important for the students to learn about this [recycling] at a young age," Thomas said noting the students enthusiasm for the Earth Day presentation was time well spent.
The presentation was not without a lot of help from many different people, Ordner said. Athlete's Foot helped donate the "Go Green" t-shirts, King Coal theater donated movie tickets and many other volunteers helped make the presentation possible, she said.
Seeing the excitement from the students during the presentation, Ordner said she hopes that students walk away with the knowledge that just one person can make a difference in the world.
"One person really can make a difference and help bring real changes in the world," she said.