The Green Hawks, Park stewards

The Green Hawks

Walnut Road Elementary
  • Grade 2
  • Grade 3
  • Grade 4
  • Grade 5
Photo Essay (3–10 images)

Community Coach(es): 

City of Surrey

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Our classes are visiting Walnut Park frequently to ensure our community remains clean. We want to educate our students about the dangers of litter and how it affects our community and environment. We want students to take pride in their community and recognize that they can contribute. We want them to have a voice, and to show initiative to make a difference. We chose to keep one of our neighbourhood parks clean because it required minimal preparation in terms of parent volunteers and expensive equipment. We also wanted an on-going project so the lessons would be ingrained rather than forgotten. The park is adjacent to the school which makes frequent trips manageable. We want picking up litter to become a habit and to pick up litter wherever they are. We were fortunate to have a representative from the City of Surrey Parks Division: Lend a Hand Program visit our classes and provide tongs and bio-degradable garbage bags. They educated the students about garbage and recycling. If something we find at the park can be recycled, we do. Also, if we find something large such as an old tire, we can call the City of Surrey and they will dispose of it. We are demonstrating that keeping the environment takes teamwork. Students are quite astonished by what we find and I believe they will not be the ones who dump their trash at the side of the road when they become adults. They recognize that someone has to clean it up. At times, we take our classes individually and other times we visit the park as one large group. This builds a sense of school community and shows that we should not automatically divide into grade groups. All children, no matter how young, can make a difference. The children work very well together - running to pick up litter and find the person with the bag. We have investigated how long it takes things to deteriorate and how using something briefly can have long lasting effects. This ties in nicely with how the animals need a clean and safe environment. The students, with their exceptional eyesight, find small pieces of plastic that has broken off. This leads us into lessons about animals and their safety. This project has had impact on our students and as provided a real-life opportunity for us to demonstrate that it is not enough for us to simply “not litter”, but that we must also contribute to the solution. The students understand that small actions can make a big difference. They understand how their actions and inactions affect the environment and community. We usually pick up 3-5 grocery bags of garbage each time we go. They also understand that helping and contributing makes one feel proud and happy. We plan to continue to keep Walnut Road Park clean, as well as pick up litter when we go on other walking field trips. Thank you for providing this opportunity.