A discarded cooler, old pipes and a pair of worn skateboard wheels were part of a junk pile but soon found new life as body parts of a homemade scarecrow. Students from Westmont Elementary School in Pomona helped design and put together the garden protector, a lesson in recycling and reusing.
The project was part of a four-week afterschool series led by 11 graduate students and Kyle D. Brown, director of the Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies. The workshops touched on various environmental topics, but more importantly, they imparted some life lessons.
Westmont principal Cynthia Badillo says the workshops filled a great need ¿ most of her students know very few college students or college graduates. ¿It¿s such an enriching connection. Our students are getting great exposure to college and to science.¿
Brown says the workshops are a way to get children interested in school and higher education. He hopes the experience broadens their view of life after high school.
¿Kids aren¿t always aware of the options they have especially if their parents or family members didn¿t have those opportunities either,¿ Brown says. ¿We¿re using the environment to get them engaged in life, letting them see what options they have.¿
Plus, it¿s never too early to get young people thinking about the environment and sustainability. Workshop topics included alternative energy, water conservation, water quality and healthy eating. Last week, in addition to building a scarecrow, students made bird feeders out of orange peels or toilet paper rolls, and they also mapped areas in their community where they have observed art and music.
¿These little ideas are helping them build that extra knowledge. Hopefully, it can build over time,¿ says regenerative studies master¿s student Sean Duenser.
Brown hopes the partnership with Westmont will grow. He plans to build on the series and expand it to reach the larger Pomona community.
(Top photo: Regenerative Studies master’s student Tyler Forester helps build a scarecrow from recycled items at Westmont Elementary School in Pomona on Feb. 16, 2012. Bottom photo: Students map out where they have observed art and music in their neighborhood.)