Scotts Valley Middle School’s Interact Club took Earth Day very seriously this year, making it a week-long celebration of going green.
Club members encouraged all of their fellow students to get involved and help make a difference for the environment, suggesting various ways throughout the week of April 18-22 that they could all get involved.
“We really wanted to try and think of ways to make our school green and to help the earth,” said eighth-grader Victoria Ghielmetti, the Interact Club’s vice president.
The club, which is sponsored by the Scotts Valley Rotary Club, has always had a mission of making a difference. The club’s mission is to “help the community and the world, while the students learn leadership skills and project planning and management,” according to Jill Hitchman, the Rotary advisor to the club.
“There is nothing like watching these students talk about what is going on in the world and to watch them problem solve,” Hitchman said. “Listening to them talk about their ideas for ways to help people, animals and the planet, and watching them work through project planning is one of the most rewarding things I've ever done.”
Hitchman said that the Earth Day events were completely thought up by the 78 students who are members in the club.
“We brainstormed together and came up with ideas,” said eighth-grader and club president, Will Hitchman. “We thought about what would make a difference in the community and what were things we could actually do.”
Once they narrowed down the list to the things they felt would make the biggest difference on their campus, a letter was sent out to each student outlining the plans for Earth Day.
The first thing club members asked the student body to do was to either ride their bikes or walk to school if possible, or to carpool.
“Since we all live in one little town, I thought it was a really good idea,” club member Haley Powell said. “We all live so close to each other anyway.”
Sixth-grader Thor Oglesby rode his bike to school each day. He says it is something he always does anyway, but doing it for the Earth Day activities really made him think about the environment more and how the small act of riding his bike to school can make a big difference.
“I really thought about it a lot this week and I told all my friends that they should ride their bikes too,” he said. “I noticed the bike cage was more full this week than it usually is.”
The Interact Club also asked students to bring lunches that are as trash-free as possible by using Tupperware instead of plastic bags and using reusable water bottles. The club asked that students make a special effort to separate the recycling from the trash, as well.
The week’s events culminated on Friday, April 22, or Earth Day, with students wearing green to school. Those who complied were able to enter a raffle to win San Francisco Giants tickets and other prizes.
The club also planted a redwood tree in the school’s quad area during lunchtime as a constant reminder to be good to Mother Earth.
“Earth Day is a way for us all to notice what’s going on in our environment,” Ghielmetti said. “It’s good for us to know about global warming and the environment so that when we grow up we can make change if they’re needed."