Environmental Education

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Environmental Education

Grassroots’ environmental education programs are designed to help elementary and middle school children understand more about the interconnectedness of our environment and how it is impacted by human activity. Subject to funding, these in-school programs are available on Long Island, in New York City and in Westchester County. Please call our main office for information.

Gifts From the Earth - Grades K-3

This simple but powerful program introduces the very youngest children to some of the gifts the earth gives us…air, water, soil, sun and wind. A lively discussion is initiated about each of these life-giving gifts. Feeling a genuine thankfulness for the earth's gifts, we then talk about what we give back to the earth. An introduction to pollution ensues with a unanimous and enthusiastic coming together to become better stewards of our vulnerable planet. Creative props are used to help children grasp basic concepts.

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Be a Friend to a Tree – Grades 2-3

This program helps second and third-graders understand the vital role that trees play in our lives. In this interactive program, students are introduced to the basic life cycle of trees, and their role in keeping our air clean and regulating our planet's temperature. We also discuss the many products that we make from trees (including wood and paper products), and the food we eat that grows on trees, from fruits and nuts to maple syrup and even chewing gum. At each school where the presentation is given, a tree seedling will be planted by the children.

Spring Alert – What Do You Know About Pesticides? – Grades 3-4

This program is designed to reinforce the message of our “Spring Alert” flyer – to teach children to stay off lawns that display the yellow pesticide application warning flag. We discuss why people use pesticides and what can be done instead to solve pest problems safely. A simple discussion of soil biology follows, supported by actual soil samples that are alive with beneficial organisms for the students to see and feel. Students learn how pesticides can be harmful to birds and other wildlife, and how they can pollute our water. A short talk about Rachel Carson ends the presentation.

Conserve and Protect Our Water – Grades 5-6

Not many children (or adults!) really know where their drinking water comes from. In this presentation, students learn about basic hydrogeology, local ground and surface water resources, and the process by which pollutants (e.g. pesticides, dry cleaning solvents, gas and other petroleum products, cesspools, industrial waste, etc.) can contaminate these precious natural resources. We also discuss how water is used (and wasted) and steps that can be taken by individuals, families and communities to protect our water. 

Watch the introduction to "Conserve & Protect Our Water"

with Grassroots' Executive Director Patti Wood. 

Kids Discovery Series - Seven Learning Modules - Grades 5-6

Flexible remote or online or classroom learning modules address current environmental health problems that keep students focused and interested. Each module also includes 3 questions created by a fifth-grade teacher that can spark a discussion or invite written answers. Subjects covered include: Coronavirus (COVID-19), Climate Change, Climate Change and Plants, Climate Change and Animals, About Food, More About Food, Native Species vs. Invasive Species.

I’ll Have the Plastic Fish Special, Please – Grades 6-8

This program focuses on our everyday use of plastic and its environmental impact. Using familiar items as props, we show how typical activities in the life of an average American create a mountain of plastic waste. What is plastic made from? How is it manufactured? How do we use plastic in our lives? How do we dispose of it? Where does it go? How does it affect wildlife? Should we drink or eat out of plastic or use it to heat food in the microwave? We also discuss possible solutions: sustainable, biodegradable packaging alternatives, cloth shopping bags, reusable stainless steel and glass water bottles.  Other solutions discussed include the current single-use plastic bans that are being adopted all over the world. But plastic fish? You’ll find out!