Fourth-grade students at Severna Park Elementary School have been learning about the environmental and social impacts of supporting local businesses, and on June 3, they got to see the importance of that mission firsthand while gaining service-learning hours.
Students learned how local businesses operate, use natural ingredients, care for the environment and minimize their carbon footprint.
“It started with fuel in the environment in science class and looking at ways we can reduce our consumption, ways we can have a positive impact,” said Bethany Adams Chekan, a fourth-grade teacher at Severna Park Elementary.
Teachers wanted to start in their “own backyard” by contacting Severna Park businesses, some of which were quick to respond.
“At The Blended Essentials, the kids made bath bombs, so learning about the reduction of plastics, and there was no shipping involved,” Chekan said.
Students cleaned the patio at The Big Bean, volunteered their time at Park Books and placed planters outside businesses. They raised $250 to purchase supplies, and they had assistance from Diehl’s Produce and A.A. Co. Farm, Lawn & Garden Center, which both provided plants.
Whether they were cleaning the patio or making bath bombs, they worked in 45-minute rotations.
“Our goal is to create engaged and active citizens,” Chekan said. “We want to let them have some ownership and run with that. Kids were having a sense of gratitude.”
Chekan said the students observed other areas that could use some attention and they don’t plan to stop beautifying their hometown once the school year ends.
“They plan to plant more things to make their backyard of Severna Park Elementary School more beautiful and to give back,” Chekan said. “We just want to ignite a spirit of community engagement."
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