Making a difference that will last for generations

One of the things I never tire seeing in my job is the great things kids around this county do on a regular basis.

In Tuesday’s edition I had a story on kids from Bear Lake Schools giving up a weekend so they could go out and clean up 30 miles of shoreline by Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. What a great thing that kids are learning to take care of the planet at an early age.

What makes an even more interesting twist to that story is it was the kids who initiated going out and doing the cleanup. Last year Bear Lake Schools science teacher John Prokes encouraged them to take that step, but this year 32 students decided it was better to clean up Mother Earth instead of sleeping in on a Saturday or lounging around the house.

How neat is that?

When you look at how much debris they took off the beach it is amazing, and more importantly it was a lesson that wouldn’t have carried the same impact if it was just taught in the classroom. Being on that beach on a crisp, windy day for several hours filling many garbage bags of trash put the issue right in front of the students’ eyes.

However, what really brought it all together was Prokes had the students write their feelings about the cleanup as part of a lesson. The responses were nothing short of amazing, as you could see the passion in their words and importance of the task they were doing.

It may have been one small corner of the world where they were making a difference, but just think if everyone took the same step. What a difference it could make in the world and, more importantly, it would help for generations to come.

Bear Lake students have also volunteered their time on weekends for scrap tire collections and so much more as they have a strong commitment to the environment, and that is good to see.

What was just as neat is that it appears to be something they start doing at an early age at Bear Lake Schools. The first and second grade students of Ann Edmondson and Hope Higley took part in several different projects to celebrate Earth Day this year.

It is so nice to see teachers plant that seed in young minds early so that protecting the environment becomes a way of life for these students. With that type of thought process in place, someday it may help keep the planet in good condition by the time those 6 and 7 year-olds pass on the knowledge they learned to their own grandchildren decades from now.

The same type of thing happened at Kennedy Elementary School where teachers Jaclyn Trahan and Sarah Franklin had a discussion about how to make a difference in helping the Earth. They then went out and followed it up by cleaning up the school grounds.

It is something that also happened at many schools around the county in the past week to mark Earth Day. It was a good way to let these young children know that they can make a difference.

What is sad to see is in the last two years, many of the restrictions that have been protecting the environment have been lowered. Of course those who are doing the lowering will most likely be long dead and gone by the time it really hits hard to those who follow.

However, if enough of this younger generation can continue to step up to the plate and promote the importance of taking care of the planet then maybe, just maybe, the Earth will still be in good shape for their kids and grandchildren.

Congratulations to all who took part in activities to promote those things recently and something to think about long after I…see you next Wednesday.

 

avatar

Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

Leave a Reply