Did you know that native bees live in solitary “apartments” instead of bee hives? Or that plastic caps can now be recycled in Boulder as long as they are attached to empty bottles? Or that fashion industry “trends” are really just a ploy to get you to buy new clothes when you have perfectly good ones still in your closet (a concept known as planned obsolescence)? First graders at Columbine Elementary School learned these things and more when they hosted an eclectic bunch of visitors at their school last week. Trash Stanley, Larry the Bee and Fairy Terra were just some of the colorful characters that were part of a sustainability fair put on by New Vista High School’s CAP class.
Columbine students learned about recycling and trash through an interactive song and presentation by Trash Stanley, a sculpture made entirely out of materials students found outside New Vista High School.
“I loved participating and engaging the youth in a thoughtful, meaningful beginning discussion about the environment. Getting up and teaching in front of a class was an awesome and fun experience in and of itself but it also made me realize how passionate I really am about this topic.” – Brae, author of the interactive song “Bees and Trees”
The students also learned about the fashion industry and ways you can keep textiles out of landfills. Textiles, most of which are in the form of clothing, take up 5% of the current landfill space, and that number is growing.1
From Farmer John and Larry the Bee (puppets made from reused cardboard boxes), the students learned that you can help native bees by making “hotels” from logs, since they don’t live in hives like honeybees do. The first graders were also inspired to take action by a short student-made film, and enthusiastically shared what they can do to create environmental change today.
“Usually us high schoolers think we can’t get much done because of our status but this just shows with enough time, planning and hard work you can really make a difference.” – Jackson, voice of Larry the Bee
“Specifically, looking at the positive change that this class has instilled in me, it has changed my views surrounding my role as a high school student in my community through understanding the importance of making change on a small scale before affecting the bigger problems.” – Alex, voice of Farmer John
As the New Vista students and their cast of characters departed, they felt a sense of accomplishment and pride. The Cycle of Hope says that we should create a vision of a better world based on our values, and the CAP students did not only that but they paid it forward too!
“I felt content at the end because I knew I had passed on some information to a future generation that is essential to the future.” – Will, senior
1. Edge – organization that looks at the paradigm shift from irresponsible, excessive production and consumption to one of environmental and ethical consciousness, cultural sensitivity, and storytelling.
Written by New Vista High School CAP Instructor Amy Atkins
See more photos and videos from the event here!
See the “Save the Planet Activity Book” one of the students created here!
Read “The Tale of a Fairy and a Frog, A Frog and a Fairy” here!