- Lisa Rubin, 1st grader and Adopt an Acre fundraiser
In southwestern Costa Rica, 400,000 forested acres of the Osa Peninsula is alive with a rich assortment of plants and wildlife, including jaguar, four kinds of monkeys, and trees that grow more than 200 feet tall!
But this biologically diverse region is threatened by expanding development and transportation systems. The lands are being cleared for logging and agriculture at a higher rate than anywhere else in the country.
This worries first graders at the Summit School of Ahwatukee, Arizona. After studying the rainforest this year, they were inspired to take action.
Annastazia Carson: “Trees are so important because they give us oxygen.”
Brendan Burke: “The animals are losing their homes and the environment is getting destroyed.”
The 6- and 7-year olds made and sold Rainforest Crunch Munch and hosted a Read-a-Thon to raise money for The Nature Conservancy’s Costa Rica Adopt an Acre program.
The Crunch Munch included products grown in the rainforest: chocolate and marshmallows as well as banana, mango and pineapple chips. They took turns selling bags of the mix to fellow students in the lunch room.
The students raised $2,385, surpassing their goals. “We thought we were going to save 10 acres of the rainforest. We ended up saving 47 acres!” exclaims Brendan.
When recalling the sale, Grant Dubberly could hardly hold back, “I sold the first bag!”
The Read-a-Thon was based on pledges made for the number of books or pages read. This was Annastazia’s favorite part because she loves to read. So does Roan, and it paid off big time!
“I read 18 books in an hour,” says Roan Martinez with pride. “My grandma and grandpa pledged ten dollars for each book and my parents gave me two dollars for each book.”
The teachers say this project became much bigger than a fundraiser.
“For kids this age, their world is very small,” says Christine Odenkirk. ”When you begin to open that up to them, reality can sometimes be difficult to process as they learn more about the world around them. It was sad for some of them but also inspiring. They learned how to turn a challenge of making a difference into passion.”
Fellow first grade teacher Lisa Rubin loves the contagious energy the fundraiser generates. “The kids get so excited about knowing they can make a difference. It doesn’t matter how old you are, you can still make a difference and they know it.”
This isn’t the first time Summit School has donated to the Conservancy. Over the last ten years, students have raised $19,627.30 to support the Conservancy’s work to protect land and water we all depend on.
“It’s wonderful to see young children learning about the natural world and finding creative ways to help protect it,” says Patrick Graham, the Conservancy’s state director in Arizona. “We’re grateful for their support.”July 16, 2013