ESTEVAN - After many days of preparation and talks, St. Mary's School’s Grade 2/3 students celebrated Earth Day in the most wonderful fashion.
They started with an almost professional performance of the I am the Earth song by Glyn Lehman. Then they headed outside to pick up garbage around the schoolyard and on streets nearby.
Grade 2/3 teacher Megan Woodard said that while they missed the official date because of the Easter break, they still wanted to mark it as they were working on the Earth Day project for a couple of weeks.
"We've been learning a song called I am the Earth by Glyn Lehman ... And the message is really important. It's talking about how kids will inherit the Earth one day, and we talked about how it's not very fair how there's garbage all over the place. And we thought that even though we can't change the entire world, we can at least help the community of Estevan," Woodard explained.
All together kids and the teacher came up with an action plan to clean the community around them. They went outside looking for trash accumulated over the winter on the school grounds and the nearest streets. Later this month, they are planning on going back again to check if they need to clean up the area again, and they will see from there if they will keep on coming back to this action plan.
"The goal is to help make Estevan a better place to live for future generations," Woodard added.
Noah Hoffort, Jade Sindayen, Ayla Smelt, all Grade 2s, and Grade 3 Maelie Flamme explained that cleaning litter was their way to take care of their school and their community. They added that keeping the world around them free of garbage would help protect animals and allow for trees to grow better, producing oxygen for everyone.
Woodard said that students were really excited about the project and to perform the song for the principal, teachers and the media. They also were really engaged with the message of the song.
"We are the Earth, what does that mean? We talked about how God wants us to be caretakers for the Earth and make it a better place for future kids. And they were really excited about it," Woodard said.
Emma Salkeld, Grade 2, said that for her, learning the song and performing it all together was a bit of a challenge because of counterpoints when at some moments, Grade 2 students were singing different from Grade 3s.
"It was pretty hard. I'm not really used to getting interrupted, because, in my family, we don't like getting interrupted. And it was hard when they, the Grade 3s, had to stay apart. We were like, 'I am the Earth', and they were 'We're in your care'," Salkeld explained, adding that even though performing wasn't the easiest, she liked the message of the song.
"It's about the Earth, that we should help take care of the Earth because God made it for us. And God wanted us to have a lot of fun," Salkeld said.
Emily Schott and Grace Trepanier, Grade 2, added that by picking up litter that day they were putting the song to work, and students enjoyed it.
"I think it was fun cleaning up," said Brae Wolensky, Grade 2. "It just made me feel good because I'm helping the Earth."
"People should clean up because it makes you feel good because you're doing the right thing," added Taylor Wilhelm, Grade 3.
"I think that you should treat the Earth how you want to be treated. If you help the Earth, the Earth will help you," said Schott.
"I think we need to clean up, so animals aren't endangered," said Audrey Gustafson, Grade 3.
"I think that nobody should litter," added Logan Dupuis, Grade 2.
"I think that we should take care of Earth, because Jesus got us here, and He wants us to be caretakers of Earth," concluded Deana Shtykova, Grade 3.
"It's funny to see how excited they get about trash. But it is exciting to help take care of our community, and I think they're really happy to care for each other and the Earth," added Woodard.
While picking up garbage, kids also separated items that could be recycled, and Woodard said the project will have another twist later on.
"Later this year, we're going to do an art project where we're going to take this garbage, any recycled materials that we find, and we're going to try to make some sort of art projects. So, we are trying to find creative ways to make our environment look good and take care of the plants and the animals and each other too."