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Lawton launches recycling effort, Northside sees a ‘kinder’ Earth

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Northside Elementary students hear about ‘rock people’ from local illustrator during  Earth Day program

Link here to photos of King Elementary School Earth Day activities

From AAPSNews Service

Students in Teri Fraley’s fourth-grade classroom at Lawton Elementary School have launched an environmental effort that they hope will translate to better awareness – and more recycling – throughout the school and the district.

Students presented a multi-media introduction for the program to school assemblies this month. The school can earn money for recycling clean chip bags, Lunchables containers, juice containers and candy wrappers. Fraley said the project was a natural extension of the Nature’s Recyclers science unit.

“We have joined with Terracycle, MRF, Recycle Ann Arbor and Ann Arbor Schools to make this work,” she said. “We have so much trash that can be recycled and we want to see students and teachers think about what they put into the landfill if they put something in the trash.”

The students’ efforts are part of the Michigan Green Schools certification program where Lawton has reached the “emerald” level.

Nadia Esmaeil, a parent and chairwoman of the Lawton PTO’s Green School initiative, said she is excited about the steps Fraley’s class and the entire school is taking to recycle more. “It’s a great cause,” she said. “Our goal is to get zero waste in the school. We’re focused mainly in the cafeteria at lunch time.”

“We’re hoping to bring the (recycling) idea from home to here and from here to home,” she added. “It’s not just this year. We want to continue and make it the habit of the school and beyond the school.”

The students are taking it one step further working with Terracycle, a New Jersey company that encourages “upcycling” recyclables that can be made into new items such as totes, gym bags, kites and other usable items.

Students first conducted a waste audit then researched options to reduce, reuse, and recycle their waste. They have become a hub for collecting the “Terracycle” materials that can be can be shipped back to be made into unique new items. Visit Terracycle for a sampling of items, such as pencil cases and totes made from recycled juice and cookie wrappers.

Fraley said students are being encouraged to bring in recyclable items from home, as well.  “Think of it like the boxtop collection. It earns money for our school,” she said.

She said the school has set a goal for the next level which is top designation: “Evergreen” status.

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Illustrator shares  ‘gentle-Earth’ vision

From AAPSNews Service

Ann Arbor photographer Kate Lazuka, illustrator of the book, “The Rock People,” shared her special “people” and their message with students at Northside Elementary as part of the school’s Earth Day celebration on April 22.

Northside Elementary youngsters hold some of Kate Lazuka's "rock people" during an Earth Day presentation. She asks students to feel the energy of the stones, which all have natural faces.

Each student visiting Lazuka’s presentation was invited to hold one of her “rock people” so that they could experience them first-hand. Stone characters with names like Pesky, Dip, Grumbles, Radar and Groucho are designed to encourage laughter, but also a gentle approach to living and the Earth, said Lazuka.

“I ask them to hold the stones and look for their faces and feel the energy,” she said. Lazuka collaborated on the book with friend and writer Sue Valiquett.

“It was the Native Americans who first introduced the stones to me. The Native American people believe everything is alive – yes, even the stones,” she told Northside students during her presentation.

Written for both children and adults, the book features a young girl named Nae-Nae who discovers a face on a rock gazing up at her while she collects rocks on the beach. Through a family legend, she learns about the rock people, energies who are here to heal and protect the Earth.

“The Rock People” is available locally at Nicola’s Books in the Westgate Shopping Center, Downtown Home and Garden on South Ashley Street and Crazy Wisdom Bookstore on Main Street. It can also be purchased on the Web page  www.therockpeople.net, where students can also visit and upload pictures of themselves with their own “rock people” finds and tell their stories. Also on the Web page are educational materials about reduce, reuse recycle and links for kids’ environmental pages.

Students listen to the message from the "rock people."

About the Rock People

We’re here. We’ve always been here.
We are the Rock People.

We don’t have ears,
But hear Earth’s plea.
We don’t have legs,
But have a mission.
We don’t have arms,
But reach out to you.
We don’t have a voice,
But call your name.

Our faces are everywhere.
Will you look for us?
Can you hear our message?
Will you use your power to heal and protect Earth?

– Source: www.therockpeople.net

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