Gunston Gators' Earth Force Community Project
Ms. Chamorro's Science Immersion Classes
Initial Planning | First Stream Clean-Up | Final Project Planning | Earth Day Stream Clean-Up | Earth Force Summit | School Board Presentation
Mr. Kurt Moser, from Earth Force, a national organization that engages young people as active citizens to improve the environment and their communities, visited the Gunston Gator team on January 25. He came to Ms. Luz Chamorro’s classes to follow up on stream water monitoring at Troy Park that the students had done in October of 2009. Mr. Moser explained a six step process to decide on a community project. After discussion, the Gators focused on issues from the following list:
On April 9th, the Gator science classes went to clean up a local stream at Troy Park. The students picked up trash and classified the trash for an hour and a half with the help of Ms. Chamorro and a county Park Ranger, Mr. Benjamin Williams. The stream is small, but very polluted. In total, the sixth graders collected 10 pounds of recyclable materials, 20 pounds of trash, and 80 pounds of scrap metal. The students found not only typical trash such as plastic bags and aluminum cans, but also some unusual items they did not expect to find in a stream such as many loose rusted pipes, metal scraps, clothing, and even a fence post! "I found a bag full of clothes", said Olivia W., student at Gunston.
Students and adults participating in the event were astonished to see how much trash there was in such a small area! "What can we do about this? What can we do so the community around the stream and park does not litter so much and does more recycling?" asked many students of their teacher. Ms. Chamorro invited the Manager from Shirley Park Giant Food store on Glebe Road, near Gunston to come to her science classes to brainstorm ideas to reach out to the community. Ms. Teresa Gibson and Mr. Eric Scarborough came to talk to one of the classes on Monday, April 12th. As a result of the meeting, it was decided to have another clean-up where the community would be invited to participate.
Students created a flyer announcing the clean up and invited the community to participate, and Ms. Gibson had the cashiers at Giant distribute the flyers to all their customers the day before the clean up. The clean-up took place on Earth Day, April 22nd, from 2:30 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. Gunston Green Team and National Junior Honor Society members participated in the clean-up.
In addition, these sixth graders wrote a petition to Virginia Delegate Adam Ebbin requesting a 5-cent tax to be imposed on plastic bags in Virginia, just like the District of Columbia did. The students got over 400 signatures on the petition. Students were pleased to see that the Sun Gazette ran an article on their project in the newspaper on Earth Day.
April 27, 2010
Nineteen students from Ms. Chamorro's classes chose to participate at the 2010 Earth Force Youth Summit to represent Gunston. Students shared the community project that they had been working on and personally presented the petition to Delegate Adam Ebbin. They had a chance to explore various topics related to the environment by visiting booths from the Alexandria Sanitation Authority, Delegate Ebbin, Joe Keyser (America's Compost King) and Calleva Outdoors. The students who attended the summit were:
Gail M. Kelsey O.
Three Gunston students volunteered to present at the School Board Meeting on April 27, 2010. Emma B., Kelsey O. and Ingrid J. will share the evolution of the Earth Force community project and show pictures of the trash and the clean-up. They will also report on the Earth Force Youth Summit.