Rockets in Environmental Science classes sponsored a Love the Earth Day event to bring McNicholas and the community together in celebration of the beauty of the earth and to inspire care for God’s creation. Students collaborated with classmates and other departments to create interactive exhibits displaying research about conservation, recycling, and sustainability.
Mr. Eric Hickman, Environmental Science teacher and director of Love the Earth Day, was inspired by his students’ excitement to learn more about the world around them and their desire to find ways to affect positive change in the environment. “I wanted to challenge my students to greater things, to dive deeper and to learn more. I also wanted to create opportunities for them to engage the community and share what they were learning.”
The students and the rest of McNicholas answered the challenge brilliantly and Love the Earth Day was born!
The Environmental Science students built elaborate interactive exhibits that transformed the library into a museum of life-sized ecosystems and the gym into a hall of educational games and activities. The rest of McNicholas joined in to support with creativity and helping hands. The McNicholas Band welcomed visitors with a steel drum performance, geometry students built an igloo out of recycled milk jugs, English students wrote nature-inspired poetry, art students created murals and backdrops for the ecosystems, and the RLC shared research about food waste from their experience at La Soupe. Almost every department was represented and had a part in making this event a success.
“My favorite part about this experience was seeing four months of hard work come together into something we were proud to share. When you work together and everyone does their part, you can accomplish so much,” freshman Environmental Science student Reece Chamberlin said.
Guardian Angels 4th-7th graders explored the event during the school day on Monday, April 24. Over 100 McNicholas students served as scientific ambassadors, docents, and presenters, leading the younger students to learn through play and exploration. Student visitors explored Biosphere 3 in the library where they dug for fossils in the dessert, fished and panned for minerals in the rivers and mountains, and even visited penguins in the arctic. They “swam” through the depths of the theatre-turned-ocean for a glow in the dark activity about water pollution. In the gym, they enjoyed games built out of recycled materials such as pop-a-shot, putt-putt, and bowling, and learned about ways they could recycle and reuse household items in creative ways.
In the evening, the community was invited to explore this unique, educational experience. School librarian and co-director of Love the Earth Day, Mrs. Chelsea Almer said, “Being a part of bringing Love the Earth Day to life and then seeing the community engagement was really gratifying for me and everyone involved. Our students showed outstanding leadership as they interacted with families and led them through the experience. I hope this experience empowers our young people to go out and make a difference in the world as advocates for sustainability and our environment.”
Community partners from WCPO, Hamilton County and Clermont County Water and Soil Conservation District, the Civic Garden Center, Tome Bookstore, The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, and Metro Bus also joined the celebration. Metro brought a hybrid bus for students to explore and learn about the benefits of alternate fuel sources. Jennifer Ketchmark, Meteorologist from WCPO 9 News, spoke to students about climate change and weather patterns, calling them to be positive leaders in the story their generation is writing for our environment.
Ketchmark said, “I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this fantastic Earth Day event at McNicholas High School. It speaks volumes about the school that so much of it was student driven. I was so impressed!”
Love the Earth Day was not only a celebration of our incredible earth, but of what can be accomplished when we all work together to create something bigger than ourselves.
Student Ambassador Lucy Timko said, “I loved getting to spend time with the kids and to show them the importance of Earth Day and caring for our planet.”