Countless children throughout the years have heard Kermit the Frog sing that it isn’t easy being green.
Lori Pere would likely agree with the iconic Muppet character, but she’s dedicated to ensuring that students at Oak Hill Elementary School in Severna Park also know and embrace the joys of being green.
Pere is a third-grade teacher at Oak Hill and co-coordinator of the school’s annual Green Team and leader behind the school’s Earth Day celebrations.
Her love and dedication to teaching students, especially about the environment, is well documented.
Each year, Oak Hill Elementary School students from third to fifth grade aim to provide a greater awareness of environmental issues to the entire student body. As an example, one year’s Green Team stressed the importance of turning off dripping faucets and turning off lights not being used in order to conserve school resources.
Pere has also been the impetus behind the school’s popular Earth Day celebrations since 2016.
“The students love participating in the Earth Day celebrations and their enthusiasm and desire to exceed related assignment requirements blows my mind,” said Pere, noting that a former member of the school’s Green Team was so influenced that he’s now in middle school continuing his environmental enthusiasm by spearheading efforts of his Boy Scout troop to build a nature trail.
At Oak Hill Elementary School, Earth Day celebrations include stations where students learn why a particular practice or idea is helpful to the environment. Typical stations may include information on the benefits of composting, demonstrating Arlington Echo’s watershed model, or taking a nature walk to identify native plants and eating healthy local food.
The Green Team also maintains a booth at Severna Park High School’s Earth Day Festival each year.
“The students love going to the event and running a booth,” Pere said. “Last year, the kids gave out milkweed seeds planted in recycled K-Cups.”
Pere’s attention to her students isn’t limited to environmental issues, though. The teacher said she loves her craft and adapts her instruction methods to suit the different learning styles of each student.
“My eventual teaching career happened after I enjoyed working closely with my children’s education while being a stay-at-home mom,” Pere said.
During that time, Pere learned that each of her three kids had a different mode of learning, either auditory, visual or kinetic.
Pere explained that recognizing a student’s ideal method to learn, even though it takes more time to utilize different teaching styles, is worth the extra work when she sees the spark in a student’s eyes.
Pere credits part of the success of the Earth Day celebrations at Oak Hill to the support of the school’s Parent Teacher Organization, whose fundraising provides support for the activities and for maintaining the school’s outdoor classroom and monarch butterfly gardens.
“We have plenty of parent volunteers and all the teachers give it their all to make it a great event,” Pere said. “The adults enjoy the Earth Day celebrations and learning about the environment as much as the students.”
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