A local school will be taking a hand in stretching their green thumbs this week.

Will Rogers Elementary will turn a celebration of Earth Day into Earth Week, a weeklong celebration of sustainability efforts the school has been involved in. Will Rogers’ Earth Week kicks off Monday, April 22.

Activities will include watching a video from the school’s Green Team, learning Green factoids throughout the week, focusing on using new reusable water bottles handed out by the school and a culminating “plogging” (pick up litter + jogging) event Friday.

Suzie Roth, a design tech and communications consultant and Green Team lead for Will Rogers, helped spearhead the week-long effort with SMMUSD sustainability coordinator Caroline Coster.

Coster says, in her eyes, every day is Earth Day, every week Earth Week within the district.

“Everyday we continue with our sustainability efforts and education,” Coster said. “Will Rogers has been a leading site in many of our pilot programs, especially in waste reduction.”

Roth, who has two kids at Will Rogers, wanted to encourage more students within the school — and in a hopeful domino effect, students throughout the district — to enjoy themselves while preserving the planet. 

“The goal of the week is fun and engagement,” Roth said. “I hope it encourages staff  and students to participate.”

Roth was inspired to help with Earth Week after feeling Will Rogers was lacking in some of their landfill diversion methods.

One of her goals is getting students to commit to an actively greener lifestyle and being more mindful of their waste and usage.

Instead of using a disposable plastic spoon, she’d encourage students to bring a spoon and napkin from home.  “Reusing, reducing, reusing and purchasing less,” Roth said are her tenets.

“[The week] is a good tool for educating kids because they see [waste]. It’s not something that’s not very tangible like electricity usage. They can see waste. If you take 25 bags of landfill waste reduce that with recycling and compost to 2 bags, kids organically jump in and get involved.”

Will Rogers has already been in several pilots of the district’s sustainability efforts, such as water conservation, perfecting district waste set up in cafeterias and a food recovery.

All these efforts are bearing (compostable) fruit.

“It’s been cool to see,” Roth said. “Second and third graders sorting trash, taking it on and understanding. They see things work and how they make an impact.”


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