800 4th Graders overrun Lincoln Park, as David Douglas students and teachers look on Earth Day

See what happens when two David Douglas High School seniors take charge of a project that brings out hundreds of kids to learn about the environment on Earth Day …

DDHS Seniors Sarah Wolff and Amanda Kraus organized this Earth Day educational outing for the district’s fourth-graders on April 21.

Story & Photos by David F. Ashton

Learning about bugs, weather, plants, and electric cars, 800 fourth-grade kids swirled, in orderly groups, around Lincoln Park, on SE Mill St., as they visited Earth Day learning stations.

The afternoon-long event on April 21 was planned and coordinated by David Douglas High School Seniors Sarah Wolff and Amanda Kraus. The students, from the Natural Resources CAM, took on this event as their Senior Venture Project.

“We’ve helped out in past years, as part of our classes,” said Kraus. “It seemed like a better Senior Project than just writing a paper.”

The two students said it was a lot of work to call the companies who presented the exhibits — like the electric and hybrid cars, and donated tents for use during the event.

“We also arranged for the student and adult volunteers to help out, work the stations and lead the kids,” Wolff told us. “We also go the David Douglas Soccer Club and Track students involved, setting up tents and helping out.”

Enjoying the fruits of their labors ‚Äì pizza from Bill Dayton’s Pizza Baron ‚Äì DDHS  Seniors Michael Wafford and Michael John said helping out with the Earth Day project was a fun way to earn school credits.

The importance of Earth Day

Asked why this annual observance is important, Wolff explained, “Children here come from diverse backgrounds. With an Earth Day program, we can help give them learn why protecting the environment is valuable. Personally, doing this is significant to me because I’m interested in preserving the environment, and I like being around kids.”

Helping the students were CAM teachers Katey Meza and Heather DeSanto.

As each school came to visit, the young students were treated to storytelling by Margaret “Lorax” Eng. Booths and presentations from the MESD Outdoor School, Johnson Creek Watershed Council, Oregon Green Schools, METRO, PGE, and others were part of the celebration.

As she headed into the park to check on a group’s progress, Kraus added, “I’ve always been involved in camps, and how to take care of the environment. It feels good to pass on this knowledge to the kids.”

Judging from the smiles and looks of wonder on the faces on the fourth-graders, the day was both fun and educational for them.

© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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