Elementary and high school students celebrate Earth Day: Treehuggers club participates in beach cleanup and tree plating

Sameer Nanda, Contributing Writer

Earth Day marks a day when people come together to give thanks to Mother Nature. Two days before, various Schreiber students participated in a day full of activities, including a beach cleanup and a tree planting, to celebrate.

In celebration of Earth Day, members of the Treehuggers  club participated in a cleanup of Bar Beach and a tree planting at the Long Island Science Museum.

“I think that this was a great way for the club to get involved, especially around Earth Day.  It really showed us how easy and fun it is to make a big difference,” said sophomore and Treehugger board member Tessa Peierls, who participated in both events.

Parents of students at Guggenheim worked with Mindy Germaine, the head of Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington, to organize the beach cleanup.  After the cleanup, Schreiber students taught the elementary students about the importance of being green and helping the environment.

“The cleanup was designed to clean a trail close to the crew team’s practicing site,” said junior and co-president of the Treehuggers club Michaela Gawley.   “The children helped lay down mulch that was created from the trees that fell during Hurricane Sandy.  Also, the TreeHuggers club created signs to show how long it takes for different types of garbage to decompose and the negative effects that garbage has on the environment.  We also talked about the importance of working to conserve the environment, whether it be bringing a reusable water bottle or a lunchbox to school.  We explained that as they got older, they would make decisions that would directly impact the environment.”

While the club taught students about the need to preserve the environment, they ended on a light note by playing games with the students.

“The cleanup was a great and fun way to get the community involved,” said sophomore and Treehugger board member Kim Winter. “And teaching the kids was so fun! They all loved the cleanup and filled 25 garbage bags.”

Later in the day, students moved to the Long Island Science Museum, to plant trees in place of those that fell during Hurricane Sandy.

“The goal of the event was to plant trees to assist the tree population after the devastation of Sandy,” said Winter. “In total, the TreeHuggers as well as other visitors planted over 300 trees.  Overall, it was great to see everyone pitch in to help not only the victims of Sandy, but to help reverse the environmental devastation of Sandy as well.”

“Since only 1 in 10 trees are expected to make it, only 30 of the ones we planted will survive,” said Peierls. “It just goes to show that it will take a lot more to recover fully, but doing this is the first step.”

“Although we had little to do with planning the event,” said Peierls, “We, as a club, were happy to get involved with it.”

“The most important part of the event was getting the chance to give thanks to the environment,” said Winter.  “It’s crucial to take that first initiative by lending a helping hand and getting involved yourself, whether that be by putting on a pair of gardening gloves or picking up a shovel and planting a couple trees.”