Clarendon Hills fourth-graders enjoy Ecology Club
Fourth-graders Dov Chen (center right), Ben Newton (center left), Andrew Bergin (right) and Sean Sullivan talk about projects the Ecology Club could work on. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 22, 2013 6:10AM
CLARENDON HILLS — The Ecology Club at Walker School certainly is making its mark.
The opportunity to learn about recycling and other environmentally friendly actions is becoming a rite of passage at Walker.
“It’s that special thing you can do in fourth grade,” said 10-year-old Mary Kate Deis, who signed up for the Ecology Club.
This year’s group includes 42 of 66 fourth-graders at Walker.
“They really do look forward to it,” said Cindy Michaelis, a gifted specialist who sponsors the club with fourth-grade teacher Sheila Chathan.
“The club really is student driven,” Michaelis said. “It’s not just the teachers at all who come up with ideas; most of the things we do come from ideas that the students come up with.”
Michaelis said having students learn about ecology at an early age is important.
“They can take steps to do things and tell others, and it is more likely they will continue to do things as they get older,” she said.
Teams of club members have been working to develop posters promoting recycling along with a newsletter and a skit to present to the entire school. The club also is planning a book exchange.
“I heard about the club from older kids, and I knew that I wanted to be in it this year,” said fourth-grader Eric Brugge. “It’s important because you have to save the earth. I’m going to be here for a long time, and I want to keep it good.”
Eric said having each club member recycle and take other actions to be green is only part of the picture.
“That’s why we’re working on posters to put up around the school,” he said. “We need to get as many other people as we can involved in helping the earth. Anyway to keep it green is good.”
Along with traditional recycling she does both at home and in school, Mary Kate said she has had fun with that process.
“I made a note pad out of recycled paper, and I actually use it,” she said. “You also can make things out of duct tape, and I made bows for my hair.
“I’ve learned a lot by being involved with this, and it’s all important to help save the earth.”