Heritage Conservancy empowers students to protect environment

Bristol Township School District  |  Posted on

A student holds up his reusable water bottle.

Approximately 1.3 billion plastic bottles are used worldwide in a single day, and only 9% are recycled, according to the nonprofit Habits of Waste. What happens to the rest of the plastics? They end up in landfills or as litter on the roads, beaches and in waterways. One simple solution to this is reusable water bottles.

To inform elementary students on why reducing single-use plastic waste is so important, Heritage Conservancy led a kick-off assembly on November 5 about reusable water bottles at Keystone Elementary School. Heritage Conservancy presented on how reusable water bottles help the environment and taught students the proper way to use them.

“Students learned that what we do on the land can impact our water and that even when we think trash or a single-use plastic bottle is gone from our view after we discard it, it doesn’t mean that it’s gone from the environment,” said Shannon Fredebaugh-Siller, community engagement programs manager at Heritage Conservancy.

“Our hopes are that the assembly motivated the students to make changes in their daily lives that will have a positive impact on the environment,” added Kati Bryson, fourth grade teacher at Keystone Elementary School.

Students also learned about upcoming classroom programs that will be held throughout the school year. Heritage Conservancy staff, volunteers, and educators from Silver Lake Nature Center will be running programs with students in the upcoming month. During these activities, students will learn how to dispose of products and whether they should be recycled, trashed, reused or composted. Students will choose their own adventure in an interactive “Life of a Plastic Bottle” storyboard and learn about litter’s impact on humans and wildlife. Meanwhile, younger students will listen to the story “I Can Save the Earth!” to help generate ideas on how to help the environment.

“Throughout all activities and discussions, students will talk about the problems and challenges but also look towards solutions and ways that they can be a part of those solutions,” said Fredebaugh-Siller.

Classes received reusable water bottles from the Conservancy the following week. “The students were very excited to show their bottles to their families and share their new passion for the environment,” said Bryson.

Students in each class will have the opportunity to sign a pledge board to commit to using their reusable water bottle at school each day. The boards will be displayed in the classrooms as a reminder of the students’ commitment, and signs around the school will remind students of the reasons why keeping single-use plastic out of the environment is so important.

“Keystone would like to thank Heritage Conservancy for their continued support for our school and community,” added Bryson.