Monday, April 18, 2011

Earth Day 2K11: Let Bay Week Begin!

 Anyone who has followed this blog over the long term knows that the week of Earth Day is a big deal at the school where I teach.

"Bay Week" is a time honored tradition here at Eagle Cove School as a way of celebrating and commemorating not only our Earth, but even closer to home:  the Chesapeake Bay.

Just as in years past, we've got a pretty progressive Bay Week Schedule here at our li'l "green" school.  And it doesn't matter that it is a mere Monday, we jump right in!

Today, author Jennifer Keats Curtis, author of Multiple children's books, joined us at ECS.  She started her morning with the PreK & Kindergarten students by sharing her latest book Saving Squeak The Otter Tale.  In the book, Squeak is a lonely, lost otter that gets found in the park by a li'l fellow named Braden.  Braden connects Squeak with a wildlife rehabilitator who eventually hooks Squeak up with a new otter Buddy, Bubbles, at the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomon's Island, Maryland.  Oohs and Ahhhs over the darling illustrations by Marcy Dunn Ramsey filled my class of 3rd graders as I read the book this morning!  I'm sure it was the same for the PreK'ers and Kindergarteners!
Saving Squeak The Otter Tale1st and 2nd graders then descended upon Jennifer Keats Curtis, where they talked about 2 conflicting animals in the Bay:  crabs and terrapins.  The 1st graders traditionally have raised terrapins here at ECS, and they release their duo out into the bay near Poplar Island, MD in the spring.  Well, an unfortunate piece of trivia was revealed this visit:  Terrapins are going into crab traps for food, getting trapped, then drowning.  So, as a group, first and 2nd graders compiled a cumulative letter about how crab traps (and crabbers) needed to enlist the help of "BYRDS:"  By-catch Reduction Devices that allow the crabs in, but keep the terrapins out.

3rd, 4th, and 5th graders visited not only with Jennifer Keats Curtis, but also with KABMan (Keep America Beautiful Man).  A tad on the snarky side, KAB Man is out to fight the nepharious "Improper Recycling Habits."

After some chuckles at watching KAB Man, we talked about the extensive reach of Anne Arundel County's Single Stream Recycling, but how that isn't a perfect system.  Our bins our heavy and without lids, which create issues, especially at our school where the Magothy River is basically at our doorstep.  Recyclable waste blows into the waterways, and animals and ocean are polluted with plastics. In fact, a statistic that Jennifer Keats Curtis shared:  1/2 of the big litter results from packaging;  51 BILLION pieces of litter on the US Roadways come from packaging!!  Additionally, 91% of packaging is from the "little stuff of trash."  This stat comes from the National Visible Litter Survey.  Armed with that info, 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders used that ammo to address the Director of Public Works and the County Counsel Executive in persuasive letters.  There's no surprise that impassioned letters followed!!
This is Monday!  No"bay grasses" are growing under our ECS feet!  Amazing things are happening, letters are being written, activists are being formed.  Not too shabby for a Monday afternoon.  Who knows what the rest of Bay Week holds!!

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