AAPS students celebrate Earth Day 2021 as district announces launch of Environmental Sustainability Task Force

Task force will extend AAPS’ tradition of excellence in environmental education

By Jo Mathis/AAPS District News Editor

AAPS students throughout the district planted seeds, wrote thank you notes to Earth for simple essentials, and discussed small ways they could help save the planet on Earth Day 2021.

Also Thursday, the district announced the launch of an Environmental Sustainability Task Force charged with developing and recommending a sustainability plan. 

“The work of this AAPS Environmental Sustainability Task Force builds on a long history of environmental leadership in the community,” said Board President Bryan Johnson, “bringing together environmental leaders in a focused effort to advise the Board of Education in documenting a sustainability roadmap for our school community, empowering this and future generations in Ann Arbor to succeed in an uncertain climate change future.”

Happy first Earth Day! AAPS four electric buses are now on the road transporting students to school.
“How will you celebrate Earth Day?” we asked Lawton and Mitchell students

Superintendent Jeanice Swift said the launch of this Environmental Task Force extends an enduring tradition of excellence in environmental education for our students.

“Rich learning experiences, such as winter survival, continue to shape our students as keepers of Planet Earth, early childhood through graduation, and for their lives,” she said. “The Environmental Sustainability Task Force will actualize the commitment of the AAPS so that sustainability is not only the goal in all district decisions and operations but becomes our lived reality in this Ann Arbor community.”  

Lawton third grade teacher Julia Gold helps students plant seeds for the garden outside the classroom window.

Lawton third grade teacher Julia Gold is a firm supporter of environmental education and sustainability, and spent part of Earth Day showing her “roomies” and “Zoomies” (in-person and on-line students) how to plant seeds.

“If we want children to become stewards of our Earth they need to first fall in love with the wonders and surprises of nature,” she said.  “It brings me such joy to offer opportunities for children to experience gardening.” 

Lakewood Young 5s teacher Kathleen Wright showed her students how to make Earth Day hats using recycled paper and plastic bags, which became the flower on the hat, as well as chopped up copy machine “goof-ups” for color.

“These hats just crack me up,” she says. “The kids love them and they look like crazy little chefs walking down the hall.  Pandemic or no pandemic, hybrid or no hybrid, we gotta be doing real things. This is the joy of learning for the kids, and teaching for me.”

Julia Gold and students enjoy the fresh air near the Lawton Learning Garden Thursday

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