Post Earth Day, the struggle continues

Dear Friends, 

Lovely day outside today. Three 1st Grade and three 2nd Grade classes visited the garden to get to know its flora and fauna. Second graders did two activities. One, searching the compost for the macro fauna who work at converting vegetable waste to humus: earthworms, sowbugs, milli and centi-pedes, beetles, spiders, and ants. They were all there and our students discovered, sketched and described them.

The other activity was to seek out the native flora in bloom. They found yellow violets, Bluebells, Trout Lilies, Dutchman’s Britches, Toothwort, Bloodroot, Bellwort, and Pen Sedge. Within a week or two, these flowers will be succeeded by a new wave of color. Very beautiful.

First grade visited the trees, each tree awakening to one extent of the other. The Silver Maples have already developed their twin seeds, while the catalpas are still asleep. The first grade were taking notes to ready themselves for the Tree Olympics in June.

Tuesday 3rd grade will be transplanting their batch of seedlings: tomatoes, basil, lettuce, kale, marigolds, nasturtiums, peppers and eggplant. These will be grown a bit bigger and used by 3rd and other classes to plant in the gardens and for students to take home.

On Wednesday, April 27, 3rd Grade Room 217  will be our first Spring Mighty Acorns trip to Sauganash. They will be introduced both to our native spring ephemerals, and our lovely, yellow carpet of lesser celandine (an invasive species). The transformation from winter is startling. They will explore, sketch and journal. The bus will leave at 9:30 and return at 1:15. Join us by the fish tank at 9:15 for a briefing.

On Thursday,  April 28, 5th grade Room 319, will visit Sauganash for their last time as Mighty Acorns. They have been learning about how the fate of biodiversity, the unique plants and animals that have evolved here, depends on decisions that we make and actions we take. A future of rats, roaches and canada thistle, or a future of thousands of interdependent species forming unique local communities. Up to us. Join us at 9:15 by the fishtank. We will return by 12:15 for lunch.

On Friday April 29, both 5th grades will be taught about creating homes that are ecologically sustainable, and they will walk the school grounds to familiarize themselves with the innovations that make our school more “green”: green roof, 1,000 gallon cisterns, solar hot water heaters, bioswales, permeable pavers, giant gardens, PV panels, etc. We have a long way to go, but by giving our students this information, the direction of a livable future becomes more clear. 

On Saturday April 30, 6th thru 8th grade students and families are invited to attend the Chicago River Student Congress at Clark Park. There will be presentations and stewardship opportunities all aimed at making the Chicago River system more healthy and diverse. See attached info.

Earth Day

I usually let Earth Day pass without super special emphasis, because I don’t want to limit our care and concern to one day. I am still amazed, everytime I venture out onto the streets, at how many cars there are! In every direction! On every street. I know it’s hard but we have to stop driving (so much). Here’s the story I tell each year at this time:

I woke up on Earth Day and looked at the sky and it looked like rain. 
Maybe I should drive to work.
But, then I thought, "What the heck".
I climbed on my bike and pedaled to work through a light drizzle of rain. 
I didn't take the car.
It needed gas, and I didn't want to buy it , or pay for it. 
So I didn't.
My friend at the gas station noticed that I didn't stop for gas. 
Business was down.
He called his supplier and cancelled his order for refueling:
"Sales down", he explained. 
The gas company guy got the same message from 86 out of 120 gas stations in his region. 
He called the company HQ and said to cancel the shipment of gasoline from the Gulf Coast, "demand has dropped".
This message and others like it from around the country created a panic at HQ. 
"Cancel the drilling of new wells'', the CEO ordered. 
"Cut back on refining"
Wall Street noticed the dip in sales and production and drilling, and oil stocks dropped in price. leading to a sell off of oil stock. Much of the capital went to renewable energy. 
The oil companies felt the pinch and dialed back their support of oil friendly politicians. 
Without oil money many of these politicians lost their next election.
New people, young and old, who supported a carbon neutral future were elected. 
They passed laws that phased out oil and natural gas and oil,
and supported wind, solar and hydro power.
And that is how planet earth was saved: one decision to not drive multiplied by millions.

Mr. Leki