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DRACUT – At the Brookside Elementary School, faculty and students decided to turn Earth Day into Earth Week.  

Nearly 700 pre-K to fourth-graders participated in a variety of events.

The week had a big kickoff ceremony for the second-graders, with a visit from the Lowell Devils’ Devil Dawg. Chris Moran of the Lowell Devils read Wump World by Bill Peet, to the students. Sculptures made form recycled materials were created and displayed in the lobby. Students worked individually or in groups to make a variety of creatures, buildings and models.

Hannaford Brothers Co. sponsored a Plastic Bag Exchange. Second-grade students and staff members who brought in 10 plastic shopping bags received a reusable cloth bag. Hannaford generously donated 200 bags for this exchange, and saved over 2,000 plastic bags from entering a landfill.

Russell Disposal sponsored a presentation in every classroom emphasizing the importance, and methods, of recycling.

On “Waste Free Wednesday,” output was measured to determine which classroom produced the least amount of waste and the most material to recycle. Students were asked to encourage their parents to buy in bulk and divide up snacks, to reduce trash and save money.

A garden was dedicated in memory of Anna Loiselle, who passed away late last year. Loiselle was a well-loved foster grandparent in Mrs. Cooke’s class for more than eight years. Many students have fond memories of Loiselle teaching them to read, memorizing math facts and reminding them to always do their best.

Funding was partially provided by the Brookside Activity Fund.   The landscaping restoration required some purchases, but most of the activities were designed to illustrate free or low-cost methods to save the Earth. We hope and suspect that the fun and inexpensive activities of Earth Week will serve as a model to other schools, encouraging a simple awareness that recycling and reducing waste can have an enormous impact on the environment.

Recycling has become a naturally accepted activity among our students, an activity we hope will follow them through life.   We believe that students as young as 5 years old can understand that caring for the Earth is everyone’s responsibility.