Ris­ing Sun Mid­dle holds Earth cel­e­bra­tion

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By JES­SICA IAN­NETTA

jian­netta@ce­cil­whig.com

— Ris­ing Sun Mid­dle School got a jump­start on Earth Day on Thurs­day af­ter­noon with an

RIS­ING SUN

en­vi­ron­men­tal cel­e­bra­tion fea­tur­ing a gi­ant Earth bal­loon.

The Delaware Chil­dren’s Mu­seum’s 19-foot in­flat­able Earth bal­loon was the main at­trac­tion at the af­ter-school event as groups of stu­dents and com­mu­nity mem­bers shed their shoes to walk in­side the gi­ant globe and learn about world ge­og­ra­phy and ge­ol­ogy.

“I re­ally liked

it,” said Shaun Fin­negan, a sixth grader at RSMS. “You can see all the coun­tries and the world in­side.”

Lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions in­clud­ing North­Bay Ad­ven­ture Camp, Ce­cil Soil Con­ser­va­tion District, Ce­cil County Pub­lic Schools, Mary­land Park Ser­vice, the Oc­toraro Wa­ter­shed As­so­ci­a­tion and the Ce­cil County De­part­ment of Pub­lic Works also had ta­bles set up around the gym to give com­mu­nity mem­bers in­for­ma­tion about their pro­grams and work.

The event was or­ga­nized by the mid­dle school’s en­vi­ron­men­tally con­scious “green team” and although the green team does some­thing for Earth Day ev­ery year, this is the first year the event has taken place af­ter school, said Anne Po­lakovic, a me­dia spe­cial­ist who leads the green team along with Gifted and Tal­ented teacher Amy Hash.

“We’re teach­ing the kids to be good stew­ards and have good habits. We re­ally want it be a fam­ily habit,” Po­lakovic said.

The mid­dle school was named a green school in 2012 and re­cently ap­plied for reac­cred­i­ta­tion, Po­lakovic said. The school hopes to find out whether it is reac­cred­ited some­time in the next few weeks, she added.

In the mean­time, the green team is fo­cus­ing on its cur­rent projects, in­clud­ing a $5,000 grant it re­ceived from the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Trust to in­stall a rain gar­den in the court­yard, a project Po­lakovic hopes to start this spring. Other than the rain gar­den, the green team also runs the in-school re­cy­cling pro­gram and holds other ac­tiv­i­ties such as monarch but­ter­fly tag­ging at the Wood­lawn Na­ture Preserve, she added.

Seventh graders Ai­den and Tay­lor House are mem­bers of the school’s green team as well as Boy Scout Troop 143, which will part­ner with the school to work on the rain gar­den. Both have been on the green team since sixth grade and said they en­joy do­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tiv­i­ties, with the but­ter­fly tag­ging and a project to clean out the school flower beds be­ing two fa­vorites.

“I think it’s very ed­u­ca­tional and it’s good for peo­ple to know about the Earth and why it’s im­por­tant to preserve it,” Tay­lor said.

Get­ting stu­dents to un­der­stand how their ac­tions af­fect the Earth is what the green team is all about and Po­lakovic said she’s been en­cour­aged by the stu­dents’ en­thu­si­asm.

“I think ed­u­ca­tion helps the next gen­er­a­tion com­ing up to be more mind­ful,” she said.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JES­SICA IAN­NETTA

The Delaware Chil­dren’s Mu­seum’s Earth bal­loon was set up in the Ris­ing Sun Mid­dle School gym on Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JES­SICA IAN­NETTA

Karyn Bush of the Delaware Chil­dren’s Mu­seum talks to stu­dents and com­mu­nity mem­bers about ge­og­ra­phy in­side the mu­seum’s 19-foot-tall Earth bal­loon.

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