Middle school students going greenA group of students at Woodbury Middle School are trying to prove the term “going green” is for all ages.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
A group of students at Woodbury Middle School are trying to prove the term “going green” is for all ages.
The new after-school “Eco Club” introduces students to service learning and the environmental stewardship through a variety of projects and activities.
“We’re focusing on little things that everybody can do to help the environment,” said science teacher and club advisor Liz Scheidel.
Scheidel and fellow science teacher Ashley Riesgraf together founded Eco Club because they share an interest in service learning and the environment.
“We’re letting them experience that small acts can make changes,” Riesgraf said.
Eco Club meets every other week — the first meeting was in November — and participants work on various projects associated with the environment that the students themselves design.
“They each generated a whole list of things they thought we could do,” Scheidel said. “We’re trying to get them to be a little more aware of the issues but also that they can make an impact. The student choice aspect is huge in empowering them to make their own decisions.”
The group held a discussion with the city of Woodbury’s arborist to learn about buckthorn and other invasive species that have an impact on the local environment. The students are also holding a juice pouch collection that they will deliver to a company that recycles the materials into everyday items like purses and pencil cases.
“A lot of the kids already carry those, so it’s something they can collect and see the return on,” Scheidel said.
Scheidel and Reisgraf said that the biggest benefit to Eco Club is allowing students to run the club to see how they can make a difference in the environment.
“They have a voice in here and they also feel like they are actually making a difference,” Riesgraf said. “If they learn about it now they can make it part of the their lifestyles in the future.”
Additionally, Scheidel said students seem to really enjoy being able to go home and teach their parents about ways to protect the environment and go green.
“They think its really empowering to know something that they can teach their parents,” she said.
Local issues, no politics
Don’t expect Eco Club to delve into the history of environmental science, or the politics behind global warming. Scheidel and Reisgraf said they want to mainly focus on the small things that students can do themselves.
Most of the issues the group will be focused on are issues that are local.
“We’ve made it more about current issues that they have heard of and have left all of the politics out of it,” Reisgraf said.
Scheidel and Reisgraf said they hope to continue Eco Club in future years, and since they have a good core group of students, they can slowly make it bigger and better.
Some of the future projects that Eco Club plans include a buckthorn removal in the spring, guest speakers from the watershed districts and hopefully attract other community members willing to speak about issues affecting Woodbury.
“We’re hoping to do bigger and better things every year,” Reisgraf said.
Woodbury Middle School's Eco Club meets every other Tuesday after school in room B 111.