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Earth Day - recycled bags

Middle School

MS celebrates Earth Day in a big way

April 24, 2020

On a typical day in the Middle School, students in science classes are challenged to think about our environment as any scientist should: consider the human impact on our ecological world, its effect on our quality of life, and how we can be better stewards of our planet. But April 22 isn’t a typical day — it’s Earth Day — and Earth Day (especially the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day) is a big deal at Cary Academy. Not even a shift to virtual learning could keep CA Middle School students from considering their place in and impact on our planet.

On Wednesday, the Middle School did not hold regular classes. Instead, students were asked to go outside, have fun, and explore their world while participating in a selection of activities via a Celebrate Our Earth” digital tic-tac-toe grid. Recognizing that we cannot heal our planet alone and taking advantage of the undeniable fact that students have an unprecedented opportunity to invite their families to help them “own their learning,” family participation was widely encouraged.

The activities included:

  1. Use the iNaturalist citizen science app to make observations in their yards,
  2. Make a vegetarian dinner to examine fighting climate change with diet change,
  3. Reuse challenge: create a new use for something that’s being thrown out or recycled,
  4. Make an art project out of recyclables or items from nature that represents Earth Day. Tied to “Artists for The Earth,” a global campaign to connect the public with ecologically-minded arts organizations and artists everywhere,
  5. Plant a new plant – grow new plants from kitchen scraps or from cuttings from other plants,
  6. Nature scavenger hunt – look for a list of plants, insects, rocks, etc. in your neighborhood,
  7. Create a poster to bring awareness to an environmental issue,
  8. Documenting and crafting poetry to advocate for the value of nature, and
  9. Natural journal activities.

The MS Science Department felt the importance for CA students (and their families, too) to take a day to enjoy and celebrate our planet with the rest of the world. It was a fun way to encourage everyone to take a break from the virtual classroom, while still learning, with the added benefit of reducing our energy use for the day.

In addition, MS Visual Artists were asked to create Ephemeral Works in Nature, largely inspired by the works of environmental artist, sculptor, and photographer, Andy Goldsworthy.

At the end of Earth Day, more than 444 tic-tac-toe entries were submitted, including some by staff and faculty from across Cary Academy.

Written by Dan Smith, Digital Content Producer and Social Media Manager

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April 22, 2020

CA may be practicing social distancing through virtual learning, but even the coronavirus won’t stop the Chargers from celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. In addition to the many green initiatives underway at CA and inspiring work by our alumni, students and faculty from the Middle School and Upper School are working harder than ever, today, to cherish and replenish our planet.

Unplug and get outside

Today, Middle School students will not have regular classes. Instead, they are participating in the MS Earth Day Celebration. And we’re inviting families to get in on the action. This morning, students received an online Celebrate Our Earth tic-tac-toe grid with a list of nine activities. You might use the iNaturalist phone app to become a citizen scientist. Or cook a vegetarian dinner to reduce your carbon footprint. Or become an “artist for the earth” by creating art from recyclables or items from nature, and much more.

Climate Action Bingo Contest

Do you want to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Week? Allie Chandler ’22, part of the NC Climate Action Team, wants you to know that there’s no better way than improving your personal climate footprint, supporting sustainable businesses and entering to win prizes. Check out the North Carolina Climate Action Team’s Earth Week BINGO Contest!

US Green Spirit Week in honor of Earth Day

CA SEEDS and Student Council are teaming up to show how Blue and Gold makes green! Every day next week, US students can earn Spirit Cup points for their grade by completing environmental challenges and sending in photos. The challenge kicks off Sunday, April 19 and continues through Saturday, April 25.

  • Sunday, April 19: Energy Footprint Day
    • Send SEEDS a picture of you washing your clothes with cold water and air drying them OR a picture of you air drying your hair instead of using a hairdryer 
    • Do both for x2 points 
  • Monday, April 20: Meatless Monday
    • Send SEEDS a picture of you eating vegetarian for lunch 
    • Eat vegetarian for dinner for x2 points 
  • Tuesday, April 21: Pot a Plant Day 
    • Send SEEDS a picture of you planting some seeds or potting a plant 
    • “Grow something for your future!”
  • Wednesday, April 22 (Earth Day): Sustainable Fashion Day 
    • Send SEEDS a picture of you wearing your oldest t-shirt, a hand-me-down, or a thrifted item 
    • Take a picture of yourself in nature for x2 points
    • Fill out survey: where do you shop? 
  • Thursday, April 23: Water Footprint Day  
    • Send SEEDS a picture of you turning off the water while brushing teeth or using soap while washing hands 
    • Collect the cold water from before your shower and use it to water your plants for x2 points! 
  • Friday, April 24: #Fridays for the Future 
    • Join one of the following organizations:
      • 350 Triangle
      • Zero-Hour
      • Sunrise Movement
      • Extinction Rebellion
      • Climate Reality
      • NC Climate Action Team
      • CCL (Citizen’s Climate Lobby)
    • Don’t forget to follow CA.SEEDS on Instagram!
  • Saturday, April 25: Spring Cleaning Day 
    • Send SEEDS a picture of your donation pile!

Written by Dan Smith, Digital Content Producer and Social Media Manager

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April 20, 2020

As Jared Carson learned at CA, when it comes to sustainability, it’s often the little things we do as individuals that add up to the biggest community impacts. At CA, our efforts to reduce our environmental footprint and increase our sustainable practices come from every corner of campus.

The newly formed Middle School Green Club is looking at ways to reduce campus waste. They aim to reduce printing by at least 25 percent through an information campaign that advocates utilizing smaller fonts, double-sided printing, and electronic distribution of materials.

The Sustainability Committee of the Upper School’s Delta Service Club has worked with Upper School science department chair Heidi Maloy to revitalize the garden behind the Center for Math and Science; volunteered with NC State to help realize their goal of a zero waste football gameday; screened the documentary An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power for interested students; and spun plastic yarn from plastic bags to create sleeping pads for distribution to local non-profits that support people experiencing homelessness.

The CA SEEDS Club has been working to increase the amount that we compost and reduce trash and recyclable use. The club has created new signage and re-thought the arrangement of waste bins in the Dining Hall to reduce bottlenecks and promote better waste practices. From the beginning of the school year to February, CA has diverted 20,287 pounds of food waste to the compost pile, avoiding 2,368 pounds of methane production (nearly as much as 400 cars produce in a week).

Students design the "Planet B" banner

Sustainable dishes and utensils are already in use in the Dining Hall, but their use is becoming more widespread throughout campus. The new café features paper straws and compostable cups. And all CA employees have been provided reusable tumblers in order to enjoy their beverage of choice with a minimal environmental impact.

For the first time, Taste and Toast utilized 100 percent reusable drinkware and dishes. And Ubuntu’s International Café used compostable materials, diverting more than 2,700 plates, 1,700 utensils, and 325 gallons of waste from the landfill. For future events, the PTAA has stocked 40 reusable table covers that will reduce the use of single-use plastic tablecloths for events of all sizes.

When we return to campus, a joint effort between the PTAA’s new Green Committee and CA’s Business Office will encourage parents to turn off their car engines while waiting to pick-up or drop-off students during carline.

Finally, our Business Office has worked with Wake County’s Habitat (Re)Store and the Public Schools of Robeson County to provide furniture from classrooms and the Dining Hall for reuse, rather than disposal.

Written by Dan Smith, Digital Content Producer and Social Media Manager

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