Ventura Park School shares Earth Day with neighbors

See this story about the Earth Day event that drew in neighbors from the entire district‚

Youthful artists Brandon and Amanda Boothby help create an Earth Day mural at Ventura Park School.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
“Come on in,” beams Susan Gerritz, Principal of Ventura Park School, on April 14. “We’re having an Earth Day Education Celebration for the whole community.”

Students from the elementary school invited their neighbors, family, and friends, Gerritz tells us, as she works in the school’s greenhouse.

Many people who came in to celebrate Earth Day at Ventura Park School participated in activities ranging from making “worm boxes” to making artistic hats out of newspaper‚ fun ways to learn about recycling.

What’s important about this event, Gerritz informs us, is that “we’re helping people learn what they can do to take care of our planet, and leave it in good hands with the next generation.”

The idea for this celebration started, Gerritz says, with a METRO grant allowing students to do restoration work in the community‚ primarily removing invasive plant species in the area.

David Douglas High juniors Kaila Murray and Amanda Krekow help visitors play a “Find the Animal” game.

“We have a massive recycling effort here at the school. Every milk carton is recycled. We have a ‘Green Team’ which visits our classrooms and rates how we’re doing with recycling or paper, and turning lights and computers off,” Gerritz goes on.

The Principal adds that this event is actually the culmination of a year-long educational effort. At this event, students demonstrate concepts they’ve learned at school.

Jason McCarty and Kendra Rose learn how to write their name in Japanese from Marcia Watanabe.

“It is important to educate young people, their parents, and the community the ways to reduce, reuse, recycle, and restore in everyday life,” adds Gerritz. “We want to teach children ‘sustainability’‚ how to take care of the earth. We educate children, not only academically but environmentally, here at Ventura Park.”

Krista Hickey, Tiffany Anderson, and Jennifer Theede sell flowers they made, to help support their David Douglas Ecology Club.

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