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AUSD Schools Celebrate Earth Week

Schools across AUSD have celebrated Earth Week over the last several days – and will continue to engage in activities meant to help the environment this weekend. The activities have ranged from making posters to setting up information sessions and from gathering shoes to using trash in innovative (and entertaining!) ways. All are designed to raise awareness about environmental issues and inspire students to do their part to solve them.

Re-Use and Recycle

Several schools participated generously in waste re-use efforts. Earhart Elementary, for instance, collected bread tags to donate to Danielle Care for Chairs (which uses revenue from recycling tags to purchase mobility products such as wheelchairs for those in need). Edison collected grocery bags, rubber bands, produce ties, and egg cartons for Alameda Point Collaborative’s Urban Farm. And several schools (including Otis, Bay Farm, Lincoln, and Wood) are participating in an island-wide shoe drive; shoes will either be distributed to people who need them by All Good Living or Project Sole.  

Both Edison Elementary and Bay Farm School demonstrated creativity and resourcefulness by re-using trash to create fashion, or rather, “trashion.” This morning, the Green Otters student club and teachers hosted the show at Edison, where students showed up in their best thrifted, homemade, and hand-me-down creations. There were superheroes, a rainbow, a school bus, and a knight among the crowd of fashionistas.  

 At lunch today, students from grades K - 8 at Bay Farm also showed off their ingenuity by using repurposed, reused, and recycled materials to create their outfits. The kids cheered on as a robot, students in dresses made of various recycled papers, and a creative sports fan who made an homage to great athletes walked down the aisle among the many fashion-forward Dolphins. 

Edison will continue the Earth Week recycling adventures next Wednesday when they host a race between cars they design and build from trash and repurposed items. 

Earhart had a fashion moment of their own this week when students came dressed up in clothing and outfits inspired by nature, such as plants, animals, and elemental objects and forces. "I dressed like a river because I like the color blue,” commented kindergartener Sydney Warren. Third-grade student Kali Guerra said she dressed in earth tones to signify Earth. "I like dirt, and dirt can be good for your skin when it turns into mud," she said.  

Several schools are also embarking on environmental clean-ups. Both Bay Farm School and Earhart Elementary, which is an Ocean Guardian School, are holding coastal cleanups tomorrow (April 22), as well as working on their school gardens. Wood Middle School is holding a campus clean-up and gardening event at their site tomorrow. 


A number of sites encouraged students and families to walk, bike, or otherwise use alternative transportation to get to school this week, including Earhart Elementary and Wood Middle School. Meanwhile, Michelle Kuttner’s third grade class at Bay Farm School celebrated winning the Golden Sneaker Contest and conducted some elementary data crunching. The contest, which is run by Alameda County’s Safe Routes to Schools program, challenges students to use shared and/or active modes of transportation (such as walking, biking, carpooling, or riding public transportation) to get to school over a 10-day period. Classrooms tally up how many students are getting to school without using cars; the classroom with the highest percentage gets a trophy. 

According to calculations performed by Ms. Kuttner’s students: 

  • the class kept a total of 216 single-family cars off the road in that 10-day period  

  • Bay Farm School as a whole kept a total 2983 cars off the road 

“The benefit to our community,” the students wrote in a recent newsletter, “was less air pollution and carbon emissions, more exercise for BFS families, less gas to buy (which saved families money), and reduced traffic in front of the school each morning. Isn’t that awesome?” 

Environmental Literacy

Schools also used Earth Week as a time for increasing students’ environmental literacy. Kindegarteners at Otis Elementary, for instance, made posters about saving the earth. During the Otter Morning Show this week, for instance, Edison students showed slides that focused on a different environmental topic each day (Meatless Monday, Litter, Reducing Plastic, Reuse/Trashion, and Food Waste) and watched videos made by Ms. Carpenter's fourth-grade class.  

At Earhart Elementary, parent (and co-chair of the school’s Go Green committee) Christine Gehrig, PhD, also shared a video about bald eagles, including the threats they face, and what students can do to protect the nesting pair here in Alameda. Dr. Gehrig is an ecologist and lecturer at UC Berkeley. And the other co-chair, Idania Zamora, a climate scientist with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, gave a talk to students about reducing their carbon footprint and tackling plastic pollution.  

Continuing the theme of education,  Youthpower Climate Action and the Amplify Club at Alameda High School have organized information sessions and a scavenger hunt focused on refrigerants and their impact on climate change for next weekend. (Hint: they’re hundreds of times more powerful than carbon dioxide).

Interactive info sessions will occur every half hour, starting at 12, so feel free to drop in at 12, 12:30, 1, 1:30 or 2. After the short presentation, you’ll be ready to go to a local grocery store in search of climate-friendly refrigerants.

Where: Mastick Senior Center - 1155 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda, 94501 (Dining Room 2, off of parking lot)
When: April 30th, 12 PM - 2:30 PM (presentations starting every half hour)