Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Small Actions DO Make a Monumental Difference

We are so blessed in so many ways at Eagle Cove School.  One such way is that we can have our school-wide morning meetings outside on nice days at the picnic tables.  Likewise, we can eat lunch out there as a school community during pleasant weather.  

At this morning's meeting, I brought out a thin little translucent plastic strip that was instantly recognized by our students--it was the plastic straw wrapper that's attached to the Capri Sun Juice Pouches.  Our students know them well because (for the last 2 years) our school has recycled and turned the pouches into Terracycle (a New Jersey company that upcycles the pouches, turning them into other products like backpacks and more).  

Along with my "show and tell,"I also brought up the fact that our librarian, Mrs. Frank, picked up 40+ of those nearly-invisible flying films after lunch last Friday when we ate outside.   After a round of applause to Mrs. Frank, I posed the question: "What's wrong with these floating pieces of plastic blowing across our yard and into our neighbor, the Magothy River?"

Being outside, of course all the kids looked to the nearby river, and hands went up to answer the question.  A first grade friend said instantly, "It's pollution."  A PreK-er commented on the "double trouble" of it:  "The Magothy River has creatures in it, and that pollution would hurt."  Dead on...and out of the mouth of a 4 1/2 year old!!

I went on to show them the 4 straws I'd already picked up this morning in that same area where we stood/sat.  Just as the Lorax who speaks for the truffula trees, I became "Eco-Girl" who speaks for the recycling:  "We need to be sure to pay just as much attention to recycling the straws and the plastic covers as we do when we recycle the Capri Suns."  Lucky for us, Anne Arundel County Maryland has what I think is the best recycling out there....they recycle just about everything!!  (Seriously, everything!!  Straws, plastic straw film, and more, more more.  Plus, add in the fact that we compost at school, our trash level is nil!)  Given the recycling bin was right there--near the tables where we were--I could make a point of ceremoniously dropping this little insidious piece of plastic right into the recycling and in its proper place.

At the end of the meeting as the kids all lined up to go to their separate classes to start their day, a handful of kindergartners and fifth graders (and every grade in between), made a point of coming up to me.  I was still standing near the recycling bin, and the message from each child was the same.  They each were coming to report they had found some trash nearby, and they were doing their part to pick it up & put it in the proper place.  Might I add, they were pleased as punch with themselves!  

Watching our Eagle Cove students and their enthusiasm, it made me think of the concept of "Pay it Forward" or "Random Acts of Kindness."  In all cases, it's a matter of doing good deeds.  Not for any reason in particular other than to feel good for doing what is right.  To the kids at my school this morning, picking up that plastic piece of trash saved an animal today.  They made a difference in their world!  That's what it's all about.  That's what World Education Day, June 5th,  is all about.  It might not solve all the problems in the world, but it helped one creature.  Small actions DO make a monumental difference.

To learn more about upcycling Capri Sun (or other foiled  juice pouches), go to  

To see the multitude of  what Anne Arundel County Maryland recycles, go to .  There you will find a wealth of information from not to mention to print out cool stickers, recyclable games to play, recycling reminders, & more.

Picture from Eagle Cove's Bay Week, April 2010, courtesy of my camera.

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