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Leaphart Elementary School celebrates Earth Day

COLUMBIA – Leaphart Elementary School held their second annual Earth Day celebration on April 21. Students learned how they can help protect the environment and make a positive impact on the planet.

Principal Kelly Brown said, “We have a full day of students interacting with volunteers and different business partners as they learn about ways they can impact our environment and be earth friendly. They’re building benches, planting seeds, cleaning out some of our gardens, doing a recycled art display. These various stations help students understand the impact that they can have on our environment.”

Students rotated through 12 different stations outdoors, in classrooms and in the Makerspace Learning Lab. Hands-on projects included building benches for the outdoor classroom using recycled wood pallets, creating a Monet inspired art display out of recycled plastic, fashioning bird feeders out of pine cones, making artwork out of sticks and recycled cardboard, and painting scalloped bricks to be used as a garden border at the school. Students worked on two beautifying outdoor garden spaces, and planted tomatoes, corn and peppers.

Third grade student Noah Smith-Galloway said, “We can keep the planet safe and healthy! We made plants, we worked in the garden moving soil and we learned about solar panels. My favorite part was working in the garden.”

Visiting presenters shared their expertise with students. Gillaspy’s Honey Bees brought a hive of honey bees, beeswax, and beekeeper protective clothing to teach students about the importance of bees. Sustainable Midlands demonstrated water pollution using an EnviroScape, a city model that shows how everyday items can negatively affect water quality. Lexington Soil and Water Conservation District’s district manager John Oxner helped students make a small terrarium with squash or cucumber seeds, and spoke with them about soil’s importance as both a growing medium and a foundation medium.

“Our mission is to educate the citizenry about natural resource conservation,” Oxner explained. “Every day is earth day in my opinion, that’s the way it should be. It’s important to conserve our natural resources and maintain what we have. Because if it’s not for our natural resources, we don’t have any quality of life.”

This year’s event was organized by spanish teacher Paula Matthews, Leaphart Elementary’s 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year.

“When you have the opportunity to take your hands and have an experience where you connect to the earth yourself, I think that puts a lasting impression on these kids,” said Matthews. “What I’m hoping they’ll take from today is that we’ve got to take care of our planet, it’s the only one we have. Every generation has an impactful position where they can do something to change the lives of not just themselves, but of their neighbors and their community as well.”

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