The Earth Day Celebration Learning Contest recently announced its winning classroom was Charlotte Horgan’s fifth grade at Odyssey Charter School.
As part of an initiative to educate Delaware residents on how to save natural resources and protect the environment through recycling and reliable solid waste management practices, the contest was a collaborative effort by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Delaware Solid Waste Authority and the Cape Gazette.
Guidebooks full of interactive, hands-on activities and games centered on the theme of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle were circulated to every first- to fifth-grade classroom teacher in the state and published online. Teachers were encouraged to incorporate the learning into their curriculum and help students share the information at home with their families.
“The Youth Guide to Waste Reduction and Recycling fills a huge information gap between the correct and current way to handle waste and recycling in the state of Delaware and the young residents who will be most responsible for taking care of our state and our planet in the future,” said Stacey Georgov, DSWA senior public education and outreach coordinator. “It connects the dots for young people and is a continuation of our goals to foster a sense of environmental stewardship among students.”
The learning contest, which ran from early February through Earth Day, April 22, was developed to incentivize teachers and students to engage with the material. Educators could win school supplies and prizes for every student by submitting proof of their participation via a short Smartphone video, a recorded voice memo, or photos or scanned copies of completed activities and projects to the contest website.
Participating classrooms with the most cumulative submissions were entered into a random drawing to determined the grand prize winner.
As the winning teacher, Horgan was awarded $300 in school supplies for the classroom. Students each received four passes to the Delaware Museum of Nature & Science in Wilmington. Horgan’s students researched and tracked the waste industry stock market. They looked into industry news for happenings that might have affected the value of companies and their stock prices. Students also created poster artwork illustrating the implications of plastics and littering on the environment and wildlife, wrote letters to McDonald’s Corporation, created a classroom worm farm and increased a school-wide effort to reduce waste by saving cafeteria food scraps to feed their class pet guinea pig.
The collaborative effort to bring this important information to Delaware youth is expected to continue after its successful inaugural year.
For more information and to view the digital version of the guidebook, go to cgextra.com/derecycles.
To schedule a field trip to the DSWA Environmental Education Building, available to teachers, students, scout groups and other organizations, go to DSWAEducation.com.