Keep Chadron Beautiful recently served as a community partner to Chadron Primary School when the school held the first session of their summer enrichment program for local students. There were approximately 30 students in attendance daily, ranging from Kindergarten to 2nd grade. KCB’s mission as they designed their lessons was to afford students with education on litter awareness, while focusing on how different environments were impacted by pollution. The primary environments discussed were land, air, and water.
During the two weeks of the program, KCB’s Educational Director, Stephanie Glass, lead a long term experiment that allowed students to create observations on plants that had various aspects of their environment modified or withheld. Six plants were provided for students to observe, one receiving all elements of care (water, soil, sunlight, and oxygen), the others each had one element of care withheld. To demonstrate the impact of toxins on the plants, an additional plant was watered with vinegar. “It was wonderful to watch the kids get excited about the changes these plants went through each day,” stated Ms. Glass, “they were so quick to make connections and respond to the way the plants changed with their environments. Putting students in the role of being scientists allowed them to feel ownership over the results of our activity, and it’s definitely an educational element I think KCB will use in the future.”
Perhaps the most popular lesson during the program involved a toy turtle, who came in and told a story to the children about his experience with ocean waste, and was interviewed by the children on how litter and waste in the ocean had impacted him. During subsequent lessons, the children often asked how the turtle was doing, and if his part of the ocean had been cleaned up, demonstrating their investment in his narrative.
When asked how KCB’s involvement with the Just For Kids program and with the more recent summer program had benefited the Chadron Primary School, After School Program Director, Lorna Eliason stated the partnership had resulted: “in more Chadron youth being served with free high quality, sustainable expanded learning opportunities throughout the school year and summer.”
The Primary School Summer program resumes for its final week from August 1st-4th, 2022. Keep Chadron Beautiful will be there, excited to assist with the ecological education of our community's students.
Stef Glass is the Education Coordinator for Keep Chadron Beautiful. She graduated from Chadron State College with her BA in English Literature and minors in History and Creative Writing in May of 2018.