Bloomington students are stewards of God’s earth

By: By David Laue

BLOOMINGTON — When you outgrow or get tired of one of your possessions, do you just trash it?

Those who attended a social studies fair in the gym of St. Mary’s School here on April 7 were treated to better ideas as students shared inspiring examples of how they have become stewards of God’s earth.

Mrs. Marta Mason, social studies teacher, initiated the project. Her first goal was for students to reduce their trash at home. Students were required to weigh their family’s trash to see how much waste they were adding to the landfill, and were then encouraged to find ways to recycle more.

As they became more environmentally aware, Mrs. Mason added a new goal — “use less.”

“We used to buy plastic water bottles, but now we get reusable water bottles,” said Morgan Albertin, a sixth grade student at St. Mary’s. “That reduced the amount of garbage that was going to a landfill and the amount of recycling.”

Since not everything can be reused or recycled, Mrs. Mason then encouraged students to take something that currently holds little value to them and create something new and functional from it.

For example, instead of throwing away used dog food bags, Albertin sewed the bags to fabric from leftover quilt scraps to make reusable shopping bags.

Meanwhile, eighth grader Addison Ely had a desk and hutch that she had outgrown. While some families may have considered getting rid of the desk, Ely “repurposed” it into a gardening bench. With help from her parents, she put large holes at the top of the hutch to fit flower pots and she replaced the plywood at the back of the desk with a pegboard to hang gardening tools.

“Instead of sending a large piece of furniture to the curb,” said Ely, “repurposing it into a gardening bench is easy, fun, and saves space in the landfills.”

“One way of reusing items is to think before throwing them away,”
added Albertin.

It is out of service to God that we all should protect and preserve the earth, said Mark Csanda, principal of St. Mary’s School.

“It is in the Catholic tradition to be responsible for the planet and the people on it,” he said.

After all, April 22 is not only Earth Day, but it is also Good Friday.

The theme of last Thursday’s fair was “Stewardship: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose.” The project was part of a Target Field Trip Grant, of which St. Mary’s was a recipient. In conjunction with the project, students took field trips to Illinois State University to see their food composting process, to Midwest Fiber’s recycling facility, to the landfill, to Morris Tick, and to the water reclamation district.

Proceeds of sales from their “repurposed” projects will help implement a food composting program at St. Mary’s School through Midwest Fiber.

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