“I will ride my bike more!” “I will plant a tree!” “I will recycle and not throw everything in my garbage!” These are some of the pledges students made during Earth Week. Beginning on April 16, students spent a week building their environmental awareness and brainstorming ways to care for the Earth. During class, the students explored and discussed the history of Earth Day, the benefits of recycling, animal habitats and the negative impact of humans on animal habitats, and some students even wrote letters to President Obama expressing their concerns about the Earth and giving ideas for how to take better care of our planet! These classroom activities were supplemented with visits from members of our school and local community.
David Hochschild kicked off our Earth Week events. David, an avid beekeeper, shared his hobby with the students at Yu Ming. The students watched a slideshow of David beekeeping, closely observed a bee in a jar, and got the chance to taste some delicious honey! The students also played the role of worker bees, with Principal Laura as their queen bee, as they pretended to travel to the flowers to get nectar and bring it back to make honey.
On Thursday, the students had a special visitor –Naturalist Anthony Fisher of the East Bay Regional Parks. “Ranger Anthony” gave 40-minute presentations to the kindergarten and first grade classes about the animals that live in the wonderful parks all around us. The kindergartners spoke about habitats and were treated to Anthony’s coyote impression; the first graders discussed what you could learn about an animal from its bones. Each grade also watched remarkable (and remarkably funny) videos taken by Anthony’s automatic night-vision cameras, which he plants deep in the woods to record wildlife. They saw opossums lumbering, wood rats fighting, grey foxes climbing trees, raccoons breaking into the garbage can at the Little Farm, and many other creatures. The children could hardly contain their excitement and questions; the Environmental Education Center at Tilden Park, where Anthony is based, is a great way to satisfy all that curiosity. The children also received a handout with pictures of some local animals along with their Chinese names.
On Friday, Simon Ross and Nick Pape of Recurrent Energy came in to teach the students about solar energy! Simon and Nick talked to students about the difference of clean versus dirty energy and focused their discussion on clean energy from the sun.
The students played interactive games, such as pretending they were the particles on the solar panels that become “excited” when the sun shines on them. They buzzed and wiggled with so much energy! The students even got to see solar energy in action as they observed a solar powered car, which traveled quickly with the sun shining on its solar powered motor but stopped once the car was covered with shade. These amazing presentations were supplemented with a field trip down the street to see the solar arrays on top of the Asian Resource Center!
A big highlight of Earth Week was the cutting-edge fashion show that occurred on Friday morning in the gym. The students walked down the catwalk showing off their costumes made entirely of recycled or reused materials. From robots to french fries, the Yu Ming students really showcased their creativity with their costumes. Best of all, each costume could be fully recycled!
The events of Earth Week culminated with a clean up at Lincoln Park on Saturday. Yu Ming families joined together to clean up the park that our students play in every day! This clean up was followed by a potluck to celebrate Earth Day.
Special thanks to:
-Mari Rose Taruc at Asian Pacific Environmental Network
-Mary Lucero-Dorst and May at EBALDC
-Nick Pape and Simon Ross of Recurrent Energy
-David Hochschild (parent of Rosa in the Tiger class) for his presentation on bees
-Ranger Anthony from Tilden Park
-Eva Chiu (parent of Emily in the Tiger class) and Dennis Dornan (parent of Malia in the Dragon class) for organizing the Lincoln Park clean-up
-Lifang Chiang (parent of Jasper in the Dragon class) for helping organize the field trip to see the solar arrays
Want to see more?
You can also check out photos of our very cute kids in their Recycled Costumes (Kinders) … and Naturalist Anthony Fisher of the East Bay Regional Parks giving his presentations to the kindergarten and first grade classes about the animals that live in the wonderful parks all around us. Photos courtesy of David – Duncan’s and Anda’s dad! Thank you again for doing such a good job on the photos!!
And visit our Facebook page to see even more pictures!
- Article contributed by Teacher Mia; photography courtesy of David Bilder