As school winds down and the temperatures rise, most students set their sights on the ice cream and swim suits of summer vacation. But this was not the case for one group of John Pierce School sixth graders dedicated to protecting the environment.
A new climate change unit taught by humanities teacher, Chris Smith, and science teacher, Melissa London, motivated several John Pierce sixth graders to form the Green Rainbow Organization (GRO). The club, consisting of nine student members, held meetings during recess and lunch hours to discuss environmental issues and ways they could make a difference.
The students decided to hold a garden sale earlier this summer to sell seedlings and fresh produce along with bake sale items. The teachers helped the students grow various plants and flowers in their garden to sell at the sale.
Although many of the seedlings did not survive a sudden heat wave, the students say they have learned an important lesson: “Even though our gardening experience didn’t go as planned, we know how important gardening and green living is,” they wrote The students also spread their message at their fundraiser by handing out letters to community members encouraging green living.
After researching various environmental organizations, GRO members voted to donate the nearly $250 raised by their event to The Nature Conservancy. Smith says the students chose The Conservancy because the organization’s efforts are most aligned with the group’s goals.
Smith describes the rewarding experience of inspiring students through teaching; “It is great to see organic passion and interest from students to make a difference in the world,” he said. “I’m hopeful that this year’s students will feel empowered – as though they have the skills needed to take action surrounding any issue and make a difference in the future.”
The climate change unit will be taught again to this year’s sixth grade class. That class’s specific environmental interests will shape the direction GRO will follow in the coming year.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
Senior Media Relations Manager
The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts