STUDENT CONSERVATION TIPS

Below is list of fun conservation ideas and projects that you, your family, friends, and teachers can enjoy!

NATURE

  • Identify as many species of birds as possible in the local park near your school. Call your local paper with the information, citing it as a good nature story for the community.
  • Conduct a photography contest at your school focusing on animals. Ask a local newspaper photographer to judge.
  • Develop a nature themed bulletin board at your school.
  • Arrange for a school poster contest with an environmental or wildlife theme.
  • Make a bird feeder. Use various shapes and seed types to attract different species.  Keep a journal so you can identify feeding patterns as they emerge.
  • Study animals classified as endangered species; collect pictures of them; study them; discuss why they are endangered and what can be done to help save them.
  • Leaf collection - Collect as many leaves as possible. Identify them; trace them; make a collage. How many different species of trees are in your area? Make an album by putting leaves in a plastic photo album and labeling them.

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RECYCLING AND WASTE REDUCTION

  • Become an Environmental Shopper: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Reject and React.  Learn how to use your dollars to protect the environment.
  • Start a composting pile at your school.
  • Make a worm bin to dispose of your garbage.
  • Conduct a waste audit at your school. Find out what can be recycled, what is being recycled and what more can be recycled.
  • Lobby your school board to buy products made from recycled materials (e.g. Recycled copier paper).
  • If you do not have curbside collection for recyclables in your community, campaign to have drop-off areas designated.
  • Organize a "Take the Pledge Not to Litter" campaign in your school to reduce litter.
  • Work with your local business community to provide attractive litter and recycling containers.   Obtain merchants' agreement to empty the containers with their trash or recyclables.
  • Become a litter basket for a day. Attach a brown bag to your clothing and collect any litter you encounter at your school.   At the end of the day, put on a pair of gloves to examine the litter. Decide what can be recycled, composted, trashed or eliminated. (Caution children not to pick up unusual looking or hazardous waste.)

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GENERAL ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

  • Contact your local library; ask the librarian to run a free slide or movie presentation on an environmental subject.
  • Arrange a visit to your local sewage treatment plant to increase your knowledge of how sewage is treated.
  • Plant a vegetable garden using old egg cartons to start your seeds.
  • Investigate if businesses and industries in your area have an environmental policy.
  • lnvite your school custodial staff to speak about the cleaning products they use. Try to find substitutes to replace those your research identifies as toxic or hazardous.
  • Develop an environmental newsletter for your school.
  • Find out how water pollution affects us. Have the children pour an inch of red food coloring into a glass. Then have them pour one inch of water into the glass. Stand a stalk of celery or a white flower into the glass. Let it stand overnight to see how the plant has absorbed the red water. Polluted water is absorbed in plants the same way. Discuss with the children how we can reduce the amount of pollutants getting into our plants and eventually to us. (e.g. Stop using chemical fertilizers. )

  • Make a Mini-Landfill. Fill a pair of women's pantyhose with the following items:
    a foam egg carton, empty tin can, empty glass bottle, piece of newspaper, an apple core, chewed stick of gum, a piece of natural fiber, a plant clipping, and a plastic straw. Bury the filled pantyhose at least 8' deep, away from saturated soils. Mark the spot. After three months have passed, dig up the pantyhose from the ground and remove the contents carefully. Observe which materials have begun to biodegrade. Discuss with the children why this has happened.
  • Candleholders From Plastic Soda Bottles -  Have an adult cut the top off a 2-liter soda bottle (approximately six inches down). Trim the edges with a sharp pair of scissors. Make sure that the edge is even all around. Have the children decorate the holders by gluing various items to the holders (e.g. Use leftover scraps of paper or materials). Complete the project by adding a candle.
  • Soda Bottle Terrarium - Have an adult remove the neck of a 2-liter plastic soda bottle (hint - use the bottoms of the bottles used in #5 above). Cut the bottle with a knife.   Remove the label and the black plastic bottom. Place the bottle in hot water to remove the bottom more easily. Fill the black bottom with potting soil and place plants, rocks and figures into the soil. Water thoroughly. Take the clear plastic body of the bottle, turn it up side down and slide it into the black bottom, making a dome for the terrarium.

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COMMUNITY IMPROVEMENT

BEAUTY, LITTER, ACTIVISM

  • Participate in PRC's “Lens on Litter” photo contest. Submit photographs of the worst littered areas in your community to win prizes.
  • Find out if any of your local parks have nature trails. If they don't, contact your local park board to help establish one.
  • Write letters to companies that use too much packaging.
  • Study the voting records of elected officials (found in your local paper) to see how they vote on environmental issues. Write letters praising those with good records and urging those with poor records to do better.
  • Organize a safe clean-up of school grounds or other community sites; recycle the recyclables you collect.
  • Plant deciduous trees at your school.
  • Plant a wildflower garden.

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ENERGY AND WATER CONSERVATION

  • Ask your school's utility company to do an energy audit of your school.
  • Learn about conservation. Contact your local conservation district (water/soil) and find out what conservation practices are used in your locale.
  • Help your school develop a plan to replace existing incandescent lighting with energy-saving bulbs and fixtures.

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