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Tuesday May 10, 2016 at 4:23pm Age: 3 yrs
Category: Intermediate


Why celebrate just Earth Day when you can celebrate Earth Week? That’s the approach Mrs. Kemmerer’s 4th grade class took as it embraced a week of programs and activities involving parents and lots of expert advice on green practices. 


Monday – Students planted a variety of seeds in the classroom and placed them in a portable greenhouse by the window to watch them grow through spring and into the summer. All supplies were donated by student Ben’s dad, Tom Salamone.  Mr. Salamone is also a member of Minisink Valley’s Board of Education.


Tuesday – Fourth grader Shannon showed her peers how to recycle used t-shirts into tote bags. Shannon’s Dad, and Board member, Shawn Cahill, talked to the class about raising chickens. Judging by the response of the class, the area’s poultry population is projected to explode this season.


Wednesday – Mr. Salomone, owner of We Plant NYC, presented to the class on rooftop gardening and green roofing.  Students fired an array of questions about the science, environmental benefits, and challenges of designing, planting and maintaining green spaces atop New York City’s buildings.


They learned about the cultivation process, starting at Mr. Salomone’s nursery in Wawayanda; the materials and process used for insulating and propping rooftops to hold heavy wet soil; design specifications and safety laws; and even the process of job bidding.


“This was a spunky group. They had a lot of good questions,” Mr. Salamone said.


For a hands-on experience, Mr. Salamone brought a bucket of dirt and a strip of creeping sedum commonly used on rooftop landscapes. Students took their small square of sedum and planted it into biodegradable containers to take home.


“I’m thinking of starting my own garden on top of my roof. I’m going to talk to my family about it, today!” Zacharia said.


“I learned a lot of things I didn’t know about. I was inspired by Mr. Salomone, how he started his business. I think I want to start my own garden,” Hannah said.


Thursday – Clay's mom, Karen Duryea, who owns a chicken farm, arrived with a host of feathered friends for students to pet. She presented on the amazing variety of chicken breeds.


Friday – For a sweet and memorable finale, Ben's mom, Ety Salamone, the founder of Lifejuice, presented on clean eating and prepared delicious fruit smoothies for the class.


“Taking care of mother earth and teaching children about how to care and respect our planet has always been a passion of mine. I always try to incorporate environmental issues and topics into my science curriculum,” Mrs. Kemmerer said.  She acknowledged colleague Cheryl Wilson, 4th grade special education teacher, for a long-standing collaboration in igniting a passion in students for science and the environment.