MONTVILLE, NJ – The Montville Township High School Earth Club traveled to Woodmont Elementary School on Jan 9 as part of its Earth Day program to educate children on how to care for the planet and conserve resources.

The club brings the program, now in its third year, to all the elementary schools in the district, plus a school in Boonton, and shows the students via hands-on stations about the effects of global warming on the polar ice caps, what it means to eat sustainable foods, and explains how the Towaco aquifer works.

At the “oil spill” station, Sehee Hwang, Emily Liao and Jane-Marie Lai explained to the fifth graders that oil spills harm wildlife such as ducks, and had the students clean corn syrup “oil” off of rubber duckies to show how difficult it is to clean off the oil, yet how important it is to keep the water fowl – and the oceans – clean.

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Alexandra De Luise, Jane Meng, Sara Sotirov and Erica Langer explained to the fifth graders how the Towaco valley aquifer works by having a student pour water from a bucket into a model showing the layers of soil, gravel and bedrock in the region so the kids could see how rain might filter through the ground. They explained how Montville Township’s more than 20,000 residents receive their drinking water from the aquifer at the rate of about 2 million gallons per day, and the importance of recharging but also protecting the aquifer.

The students also participated in a recycling relay race, making split-second decisions on sorting “garbage” vs. recyclable items, while they learned the importance of recycling. At another station, they learned how gardening is good for the environment because they release oxygen and provide local food.

Earth Club President Sara Sotirov says the club is conducting projects not just in the schools, but also the community and internationally.

“I joined Earth Club because I genuinely care about the environment and wanted to contribute to improving our town in any way I could,” Club President Sara Sotirov told TAPinto Montville. “Earth Club is dedicated to improving our school and community. We implement new ideas and conservation methods in an attempt to become more environmentally friendly.  In addition to our annual Earth Day Program, throughout the year we clean up the school courtyard, hold water bottle recycling contests, and garden. This year we are looking to become associated with New Jersey Sustainable Schools to learn how we can become a ‘green’ school and even get state recognition for our efforts. We also plan to hold an event in conjunction with Thirst Project, or a similar fundraiser, to fight the global water crisis. Currently, more than one billion people don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water and we are trying to get involved in any way we can. We are always looking for new ways we can make a difference and are so happy with all the things we have been able to accomplish so far!”

As the elementary school program wound up, Sotirov encouraged the students to keep in mind the tips and information they had learned.

“Talk about them with your families and friends,” she told them. “Even though today isn’t ‘Earth Day,’ really it’s every day.”

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