On Friday, April 21, PCD faculty and students will join in a full day of programming, workshops and community service projects focused on sustainability and environmental stewardship in honor of Earth Day. The annual celebration animates a school-wide commitment to environmental education and conservation that started as a campus clean-up day (Tom Ossman Day). Today, PCD’s Earth Day initiative casts a wider service net and includes collaboration with area nonprofits and local environmental advocates who help students and faculty learn about and consider their environmental impact and place in the community.
“It is imperative that our students begin to understand how their daily activities create an impact on the Earth and our local ecosystems,” says PCD Science Teacher Melissa Herliczek. “My hope for the day is that seeds of thought are planted and the students begin to consider making small changes in their daily lives. Even little changes can start a ripple effect and our students have the potential to become ambassadors for the Earth and our local environment.”
The Earth Day events will begin with a full school assembly featuring two speakers including John Torgan, the Rhode Island state director of the Nature Conservancy and Youth Leader Speaker Olivia Colombo, a member of the Roots and Shoots U.S. National Youth Leadership Council. Seniors in the environmental science class, who have led the development of the Earth Day activities alongside Herliczek, will also present on the history of Earth Day. Afternoon service work will include gardening, mulching and other clean-up activities with the Swan Point Horticultural Society, Narragansett Bay Commission, East Providence Parks and Recreation, Pawtucket Parks and Recreation, the Blackstone Valley Tourism, and the Blackstone Parks Conservancy.
“The students will have many opportunities to be inspired and increase their environment awareness during the day,” adds Herliczek. “Everything from the speaker assembly in the morning to the tours, workshops, and clean-ups in the afternoon will help form their individual eco-perspective and give personal meaning to their own environmental and local impact.”
In conjunction with and leading up to the Earth Day program, students raised funds to support the Jane Goodall Institute and The Nature Conservancy.