Montgomery C. Smith Elementary School held a schoolwide Earth Day celebration on April 14. There were events and environmental activities throughout the day as well as several prominent speakers including Mayor Kamal Johnson, Senator Michelle Hinchey and Assemblymember Didi Barrett.

During the Earth Day celebration, elementary students learned from local experts about weather, climate change, soil, solar energy and more. They learned about ways to help protect the environment, such as: reducing usage of coal, oil, natural gas; supporting wind, hydro, and solar power; going into scientific fields; and keeping plastics out of the ocean. Presentations took place in the auditorium and outside in the MCSES school garden area.

“It was a wonderful day for our students and staff,” said Jill Hanley, a third grade teacher at MCSES. “We hope to make the Earth Day celebration an annual school event and include even more community groups in the future.”

To help spread Earth Day and climate change awareness to the community, students decorated paper bags from ShopRite with earth and climate themes. The decorated bags were returned to ShopRite to be distributed to customers.

“We thought this would be a great way to get the message out to the public,” said Hanley, who helped plan the schoolwide event with Samantha Mort, a K-5 STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math) teacher.

Students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade also participated in a scavenger hunt as well as a poster contest.

“The 12 winners of the poster contest will have their posters featured on a T-shirt and in a fundraising calendar,” said Hanley. “The proceeds from the calendar will help support future Earth Day activities at our school.”