By Jessica Easthope
Earth. It’s the third planet from the sun, but at Bay Ridge Catholic Academy, it’s number one.
“It’s about taking care of the planet and when you think about it taking care of the planet also means taking care of you,” said fourth-grader Milena Gafourov.
On Thursday, April 22, students made promises they’d stay committed to the environment longer than the 24 hours of Earth Day. There was a different STEM project happening in every classroom. Some kids were testing the pH balance of the water we drink. Others were getting their hands dirty trying out the effectiveness of natural cleansers instead of harsh chemicals, even the solution used to sanitize the school during the pandemic is all natural.
Older students like Jared Javier weren’t recycling topics. They came up with new research projects his bright idea was light pollution.
“Birds migrating when they go to hotter places, they’ll see the light and they can crash into buildings, and it can kill off the species,” said Jared.
The younger students got just as passionate and sometimes emotional about the damage done to the planet and God’s living creatures. Julian Figueras researched the overfishing of sharks and what happens when they’re killed for their fins.
“It’s not just what they do it’s after it, the fishers just throw the bodies back into the ocean,” said Julian.
Earth Day at Bay Ridge Catholic is a big deal. Principal Kevin Flanagan says keeping the planet healthy starts in the classroom.
“We don’t treat that as a symbolic event at Bay Ridge Catholic we want to inspire students to take an active role in changing the world,” said Kevin.
To get his point across, Mr. Flanagan suited up and became Mr. Frog-agan. He’s putting the environment into a context kids can understand, but he doesn’t shield them from the real issues.
“Seven years ago they discovered a new species of frog in Brooklyn and I wonder how long that would be possible,” Kevin said. “We want students to understand problems like that. That the less they litter or more they pick-up what other people litter, will directly impact the environment around them.”
These kids are making the Earth their own and want to be proud of how they leave their mark.