The entire Gill St. Bernard’s Middle School, including grades 5-8 and all the faculty, spent a morning in service on Monday, June 5, 2023, in honor of Earth Day and Arbor Day.
Earth Day is traditionally an annual, worldwide holiday celebrated on April 22, and Arbor Day is honored on the last Friday of April. The two holidays share the same spirit—to celebrate nature and to encourage taking care of the Earth and the environments we share with other organisms, which is a worthy cause. In the GSB Middle School, however, the students didn’t think one day for each was enough. They wanted to do more.
“We decided that we wanted to do a service day to support and highlight environmental stewardship on a day that wasn’t designated as Earth Day or Arbor Day,” Middle School Science Teacher Dr. Montana Vasquez-Grinnell explained.
“By designating days outside of regularly scheduled holidays, we show that caring for our environment is a daily task that we all share for 365 days of the year. It is not relegated for one or two special days.”
To prepare for their service day, Middle School Environmental Club students first presented the history of both Earth Day and Arbor Day to their classmates. Organizers then set up four rotations for the students, each tackling a specific environmental concern on the GSB campus. Students built and then hung pinecone feeders in the tree nursery, they removed an aggressive vine that compromised the garden fence, they removed mugwort from the garden beds (a highly invasive plant), and they created a pollinator strip to restore a small part of the old racetrack.
At the end of the day, the campus gardens and orchards were greatly improved due to the collective efforts of all our middle schoolers, and the students left with the knowledge that they’d made a significant contribution to GSB and the Earth’s well-being.
Thank you, middle schoolers, for your hard work!