Local students will observe Earth Day by planting trees and participating in other activities designed to raise their awareness about the environment.
Many will be participating in PowerPlantSC, a statewide effort to plant more than 3 million trees for today’s Earth Day observance.
"We want to show how important it is to grow trees," Clemson Extension Orangeburg/Calhoun County 4-H Youth Development Agent Glenna Mason said.
About 200 students at Hunter-Kinard-Tyler Middle, Elloree Elementary, Edisto Primary and St. Matthews Elementary will be provided loblolly pine tree seeds to take home. The schools are a part of the South Carolina 4-H Small Garden Project.
Edisto Primary School is also observing Earth Day in other ways.
Students have planted an outdoor garden for all first-grade and first- and second-grade special education students to participate in growing and tending to a garden.
The school is also using an incubator to hatch out chicks in early May.
Finally, the students will attend a live Zoom meeting with Dr. Samuel Ramsey on Earth Day to learn about the important function insects have in our ecosystems.
“I think it’s important for our students and school to participate in Earth Day events, not just on Earth Day but all year long,” Edisto Primary School first-grade teacher Brittany Hallman said. “It’s important for even our first-graders to understand that even at their young age they can be a part of making the Earth a healthier planet.”
“We aim to teach them to understand how to respect and care for animal and plant life, natural resources and their habitats,” Hallman said. “Above all, we want them to make the world a better place!”
In Bamberg County School District 1, Richard Carroll Elementary School third-graders will be planting a tree on school grounds. Other grades at the school are also participating in Earth Day activities, including interactive lessons to learn how Earth Day began in the 1970s and discuss how it has evolved until now.
Students have also participated in paper and plastic recycle sorting relay races, integrating the 4K Early Learning Standards of gross motor movement and sorting with a theme of recycling.
“Richard Carroll Elementary has always taken great pride in preserving the environment,” RCES Principal Stacey Walter said. “We are a schoolwide and community recycling school for plastics.”
“In a ‘normal’ school year, and as part of our Leader in Me process, every grade level rotates throughout the year in sorting and weighing these plastics on a weekly basis," Walter said. "They also assist in reporting weights online and pickup dates. These little responsibilities begin the process of what we call ‘growing leaders’ within our school."
Walter said this year's third-grade class has been reading Earth Day books. Third-grade students have decided more trees are needed on the school's playground and that it would be a good idea to plant a tree each year as a third-grade tradition.
“If we cut down trees, animals will lose their homes,” RCES third-grade student Gracyn Collins said.
“We need more trees on the playground because trees give off oxygen,” said Carington Albrittain, also a third-grade student.
“I think Earth Day is important because we live on Earth and we have to take care of it,” RCES student Peyton Hughes said.
Bamberg-Ehrhardt Middle School students will be writing a “call to action.”
“Students will identify an ecological problem in the world that can be managed better by both individual and collective action,” Bamberg-Ehrhardt Middle School Principal Denise L. Miller said. “Then they will write a letter to their congressman/congresswoman including possible solutions.”
“Science students will examine how natural-human made factors can contribute to the extinction of various species and the impact of our digital footprint on the planet,” Miller said.
Math students will also complete mathematical expressions about Earth Day facts and art students will design an Earth Day poster.