April 2008

Background: We have a Kids for Saving Earth Club in our 3rd grade classroom. The first Friday of the month three fifth graders, former students, come to help lead our meeting. We meet each Friday and the children earn money by donating allowance, tooth fairy money, or doing chores.  This year’s projects include: $25 Defenders of Wildlife-Sponsor a snowy owl; $6 to the Gorilla Foundation to help Koko the signing gorilla get a new habitat in Hawaii; $10 to the Arbor Day Foundation to help replant trees that were lost in last year’s fires; $15 to Environmental Defense, to sponsor polar bears who are losing habitat to global warming. One Friday in November we learned about Polar Bears and Global Warming, and about a contest sponsored by the La Crosse Tribune and Wal-Mart called “Go Green Contest.” The contest challenged children to come up with Earth Saving projects and submit them to see if they would be funded by contest money. We were to submit a goal, list of steps, and a timeline for our project. We also needed to come up with a budget, and logical steps to reach our goal. We had the chance to with $250 to finance our project. Last year, Mrs. Ammann, an educational assistant for grades 2/3, came to our Kids for Saving Earth Club meeting and presented us with an article “Stop Idling Your Car.” Mrs. Ammann thought this would be a good project for our KSE Club to undertake. In the article we read about Laurie David, an environmental activist. She started a NO IDLE ZONE at her children’s school. She said, “Idling is a complete waste of energy. 10% of all our fuel is wasted on idling. Parents leave their cars running for 2-20 minutes while waiting for their kids and many don’t realize they are wasting gas and adding CO2 to the atmosphere.” With our knowledge of global warming and this article on a no idle zone we came up with the idea of purchasing a sign and posting it where the parents form the pick up line before and after school. If the project was approved, we would also write a letter in the Viking newsletter to help share what we have learned with families and urge them to turn off their cars while waiting in the pick up line.  Connor and I teamed up and wrote up a proposal.  We also contacted John Daily, head of building and grounds to get permission to enter the contest, and permission was granted.
WE WON!-Well we did submit our proposal and we were awarded second place and $50 for our efforts.  We realize that $50 will not go very far, but the children voted unanimously to pursue this project. The children are so excited.  They see this as their legacy, like a senior gift, that will continue giving long after they have left Viking. The club voted to put the $50 in a sign fund! We would like to work hard and raise the rest of the money to purchase the sign.  We would also like to see if the sign company will allow us to design our own sign.  Several of the children have already come up with designs, and we would vote on the one we like the best! Our next step was to write a letter to John Daily, Buildings and Grounds and to put a letter in the February Viking Elementary Newsletter to let all our school families to know about out project and that we WON!