By Sustainable Orillia
Students at Lions Oval Public School in Orillia have been excitedly noticing the change of seasons and thinking ahead to Earth Day.
Earth Day is observed around the world every April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First held in 1970, it now includes a wide range of events coordinated globally by earthday.org which includes 1 billion people in 193 countries. The 2021 theme for the day is Restore the Earth.
Cathy Bernatavicius, a science teacher at Lions Oval Public School has given Sustainable Orillia’s communications committee a glimpse into activities taking place at her school. In primary grade classrooms teachers have been discussing different environmental focuses.
Grade 1 science students have been learning about energy. In addition to learning about traditional energy sources powering our daily lives, there has been discussion of future sources of clean energy. Students have designed cars that run on solar energy and wind.
“If the Mars Rover uses solar energy (which it does), maybe cars of the future can, too,” said one student.
“My vehicle uses wind energy – the wind pushes on the turbine and makes it move,” said another student.
Students are aware these energy sources are renewable and have less impact on the environment than fossil fuels we currently use.
Elodie Clark’s Grade 1 class also discussed the importance of looking after water resources and created some amazing posters on display in the school. Students show how aware they are of steps we all need to take to avoid wasting fresh water:
“Make sure your washing machine is full before you run it.”
“Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth.”
“Use a rain barrel to water your plants,” they say.
In Grade 2 and 3 students discussed the importance of trees and natural spaces.
“Trees give us oxygen, food and shelter for the animals,” and, “Trees are important because they give us shade,” are comments by students revealing their knowledge of what trees do for other living things.
Other comments show an appreciation of the role trees can play to mitigate the impact of climate change:
“Plant more trees.”
“Tree roots hold water and stop flooding.”
“In the future I want the world to have more trees for animals, less littering and no garbage. I want people to always recycle, reuse and reduce waste.”
“Hug trees. They are important because they give us air,” and, “I want to save the earth and keep it how it is because it is really beautiful,” show an obvious personal connection with trees for many young people. All of us could benefit from a good hug, as could our trees.
As the weather becomes warmer, students are enjoying outdoor activities and are more engaged with nature. Bernatavicius said students love seeing and discussing signs of spring as birds return and insects start to appear. Even Kindergarten students are on alert for birds and noticing emerging insects. Later in April, Kindergarten to Grade 3 students will have the opportunity to observe the life cycle of butterflies by raising and releasing painted lady butterflies.
Clearly, students at Lions Oval and other area elementary schools are aware of the beauty and wonder of the natural world, and with each observation and question a new sense of wonder and awareness awakens. Isn’t it time for all of us to share this sense of the wonder and significance of the world we are part of?
April 22 can be a new opportunity to consider the importance of making every day of the year Earth Day with Lions Oval students being examples to us all.
(Photos Submitted) Main: Earth from above the Moon’s Compton Crater taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2015 – NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University.