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Sixth Graders Trace Ecological Footprints

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – Sixth grade students toured behind the scenes at Pleasantville Middle School Friday to learn about their school's environmental impact and ways to improve the school’s green initiatives.

“We want to give students the opportunity to see the impact that they have on a daily basis on the environment here at the school,” said sixth grade science teacher Sara Keegan.

Students participated in an Ecological Footprint Study Friday that was brought to the school through a not-for-profit organization called Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation, or CELF.  Staffers from CELF worked with the entire sixth grade throughout the day courtesy of a grant given to the middle school by the PTA and the Pleasantville Fund for Learning Group.  Students viewed behind the scenes areas of the school that have large environmental impacts, such as the boiler room, cafeteria and office recycling.  The goal for the day was to show the students of how many resources they use on a daily basis in school.

“We hope that we can spread the awareness of recycling and sustainability to this sixth grade class so that we can develop long term awareness,” said Keegan, who was a coordinator for the event.

On top of the tours and lessons, students were each required to develop long and short term plans to make the school more environmentally friendly.  Examples of plans were small items, such as featuring more recycling bins in the school, or larger ones, such as recycling and reusing plastics for new items.  Principal Vivian Ossowski said it was great to receive input from the students.

“It’s a great mini life lesson for the students,” Ossowski said.  “It’s a great opportunity for them to see their school and the ecological footprint they leave and then evaluate ways in which they can improve that,”

Ossowski called the program a success and said that the school will look to continue it for the sixth grade students in the future.

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