Do something today:
by Kari Gray and Carolyn Chase
volunteer for Earth Day
erhaps you've been to the EarthFair in Balboa Park.
Perhaps you've started buying products with recycled content. Perhaps you
wonder what else can be done.
This is your year to make a difference for the 25th
anniversary of Earth Day. There are many ways to become involved.
Call the San Diego Earth Day Info Line at 496-6666 to
hear about what's going on and how to get involved.
- If you have an environmental message or product or service, you can
exhibit at the EarthFair in Balboa Park on Sunday, April 23rd. You can request
exhibitor information packets by calling 496-6666.
- Your class, club, or business can build a Humanitree by writing your
pledges for the environment on leaves made of recycled paper and then attaching
them to a real or constructed tree. Call 496-6666 for more information.
- You can participate in the Earth Day Bag project. (see below). Please
note: we are looking for a volunteer to coordinate this effort; call Carolyn
at 272-7370 if you're interested.
- Your group can march in the All Species Earth Parade on Sunday, April
23, 1995 at 10am in Balboa Park. For information and registration, call
- You can attend a volunteer meeting and get other ideas about what
you can do: Wednesday, March 22 at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Theater in
Balboa Park at 7pm or Thursday, March 30 at the Natural History Museum in
Balboa Park at 7pm. We'll show you the cool Earth Day slide show and introduce
you to projects seeking your help.
- If you want to create your own project, there is still time to do
Grocery bags for Earth Day!
This new, fun and simple idea was discovered on the
Each student in the school decorates a large paper grocery
bag from a local store with a picture of the earth, the words "Earth
Day, 1995" (or similar), the name of their school, and possibly some
catchy Earth Day slogan (i.e., Re-duce, Re-use, Re-cycle; Treat the Earth
Well; Earth Day, Every Day) or your promise this year for Earth Day. When
the bags are decorated, they are returned to the store to be distributed
to shoppers on Earth Day. That's all there is to it.
Arbor Heights Elementary and teacher Mark Ahlness Seattle,
Washington decorated 489 bags for their local Safeway. The third graders
went to all the classrooms in small teams to show others how to make the
bags. On April 20, they carried all the bags to the store where they were
met by two local TV stations! They had a wonderful time watching the videotaped
segments of ourselves on the evening news! Plus, the store manager promised
the class a pizza party (imagine the glee!).
From around the country:
"The students in grades 4, 5, 6 and 8 in my school
decorated Earth Day Grocery bags. They completed 200 bags. The bags were
beautiful and the messages very carefully thought out. Anyone can tell be
looking at these bags how much the kids care about their planet and its
preservation. Along with this project the 8th graders had written Earth
Day editorials in computer lab. Some of these were selected to read over
the PA each morning to stimulate the students in their decorating efforts.
'It takes a whole village to educate a child.' African proverb" Cathy
Ker-scher Computer Lab Teacher St. Joseph School, Maumee, Ohio
"My class was really into it and many did two bags.
They came up with some great slogans. It was great to see their commitment.
The bag project was wildly popular 500 bags were decorated and will be delivered
to Fred Meyers by 12:00 today. Thanks." Bill Feather, Horizon School,
"The Safeway was very cooperative. They really
loved the project and we have started a new relationship with a local business!
I made a poster that said who made the bags and they posted it at the main
entrance. They asked their customers if they wanted plastic or an Earth
Day bag and many of them were very interested and pleased. It was very worthwhile.
Next year I hope to get the whole school involved. Thanks for the great
idea. The Safeway manager said they will post your nation-wide results in
their newsletter." Krista Canterbury, Olympic Hills, Seattle Public
The students at Arbor Heights Elementary and teacher
Mark Ahlness want to spread the word to get as many Earth Day Grocery Bags
passed out as they can - so they posted a notice on computer networks, and
last year they counted about 14,000 bags!
They had an incredible time keeping track of who was
doing the project, where they live, and how many bags were made - all posted
on a large map. Since this year is the 25th anniversary, the chances of
collecting bags in all 50 states could be realized.
So ... please let us know how many bags you pass out
on Earth Day. If you respond, we (and the students) will tabulate the total
and publish the total number distributed (and the names of participating
schools). Imagine all the thousands of Earth Day Grocery Bags people will
be unpacking in their kitchens!
Good luck with your bags, and please remember to send
us a note saying how many bags you decorated, the name and address of your
school, and the store(s) that participated with you. We'll publish the total
number of bags reported nationwide.
Send computer mail to: , and mahlnessquest.arc.nasa.gov or mail a post card with your total to: Earth Day P.O. Box 9827, San Diego CA 92169.
How to make Earth Day Grocery Bags
Here's how its been done:
- Contact the manager of a local grocery store (more meaningful to all
involved if it's a store where families in your school shop).
- Ask if you can have a "bundle" (that's 500!) of large paper
grocery bags to decorate for Earth Day at your school. Explain that you'll
return them a day or two before Earth Day (April 22). It might be helpful
to bring along an already decorated bag to show. It's also good if the bags
you get have one blank (or pretty clear) side.
- Deciding who will make the bags and what they will look like is up
to you. We've tried to make ours look somewhat uniform and still leave some
room for individual expression. We made a few templates of the earth from
different angles showing the continents out of three pound coffee can lids.
The kids could then trace the "earth," write their promises on
them and color them in (actually, markers are more ecologically correct
than crayons) the distributed the bags and templates to classrooms, we also
sent along a couple of examples of completed bags and some suggestions for
slogans, like "Earth Day, Every Day", "Earth Day 25",
"Reduce, Reuse, Recycle", etc. Some kids wanted to put their names,
classroom number, etc. on, and we said fine, just NO LAST NAMES. We have
had small groups of students distribute the bags and do a brief demonstration
in each classroom.
- When the bags are collected from classrooms, we had some decisions
to make regarding spelling accuracy and how that might reflect on our school,
but we would say 99% of the bags went out "as is".
- Delivering the bags to the store has been really quite fun for the
class, and was a good public relations opportunity for our school as well.
You might let your school and grocer know that others across the country
(so far, from Alaska to Maryland) are also doing the same thing!
Kari Gray is the San Diego Earth Day event coordinator and co-producer
of EarthFair '95. Carolyn Chase is the Executive Director of SDED and recipient
of the mayor's 1994 Spirit of San Diego award.