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Kent Place Eco-Team Participates in Local Events

Kent Place faculty members Sally Snyder and Leslie Jones-Wentz join students Madison Hobbs of South Orange, Riley Wagner of Westfield, Adrianna Guarino of Oak Ridge and Emma Capanna of Short Hills at the Loantaka Brook in Morris Township on April 9.

The Kent Place Primary School Eco-Team found themselves in a flurry of activity last weekend, participating in events that included a local park clean up effort and a chance to meet a pioneer of the conservationist movement, Dr. Jane Goodall.

On Saturday, April 9, members of the Eco-Team were in action at the Loantaka Brook in Morris Township, participating in a clean up sponsored by the Great Swamp Watershed Association. Joined by members of the KPS Walking the Walk committee, students, teachers and parents scoured the banks of the brook to clean and beautify the area. The team collected multiple bags of trash, helping to exemplify the importance of clean waterways and environments to the community.

A second group of Eco-Team members met at the Liberty Science Center to attend a “Roots and Shoots” gathering, featuring renowned primatologist, environmentalist and humanitarian, Dr. Jane Goodall. The program, part of the Jane Goodall Institute, is an initiative for young people passionate about helping animals, the environment and people. Eight students presented the Eco-Team’s environmentally-themed project and were able to meet and talk about future plans for their club with Dr. Goodall personally before viewing her documentary, The Chimpanzees of Gombe, in the Center’s IMAX Theater.

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The Eco-Team, founded by three fifth grade students with the help of Primary School Science teacher Leslie Jones-Wentz, started with the goal of involving young girls in the discussion and action of environmental protection. The group participates in weekly bird feeder maintenance, science garden work and oversees animal care in the school’s science lab. Future trips will include a beach clean up as part of a statewide Beach Sweeps on April 30, tree planting in the area and a trip to the Great Swamp Wildlife Refuge.

“When we first started the Eco-Team, the students had the difficult task of deciding where to focus their attention.  The girls ended up doing work that was very local and helped their immediate environment as well as the birds and animals that they see everyday in their community,” said Jones-Wentz. “They are an informed, enthusiastic and energetic group, with the ability to make a difference and change the world as Jane Goodall inspires us all to do.”

The Kent Place Primary School is committed to a robust Science education. For more information on the Eco-Team and the Primary School Science program, visit 

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