Families lend a hand to Mother Earth

April 23, 2007|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - "This is the litterbug I was telling you about," 10-year-old Autumn Gill said as she pointed to her friend.

In fact, Autumn admitted that she and Darrien Wilson, 9, both toss an occasional popsicle wrapper or napkin on the ground.

But no more, they said.

They spent Sunday afternoon clearing other people's trash from outside their school, Emma K. Doub Elementary. Teacher Kathleen Pleasant said she organized the Earth Day activity to show her students that picking up even one piece of trash can make a difference.

Snack wrappers and cigarettes were the most common items found littering the grounds. Most of the trash that five Emma K. Doub students, their siblings and parents found was closer to South Potomac Street. One student even found a knife there.


"When you put your hands in the mess, you never know what you're going to pull out," said Wesley Grunow, a fourth-grader who found the knife.

Wesley picked up trash Sunday with his sister, Abigail Grunow, also a student at Emma K. Doub, and his brother, Jack Grunow, a student at E. Russell Hicks Middle School.

"This is something that should be done all the time," Pleasant said.

She'd organized a few cleanups at other schools in Washington County, but said Sunday's was the first for Emma K. Doub.

"I wanted to make them aware that what falls on the ground here ends up in the (Chesapeake) Bay," Pleasant said.

She said her fourth-grade students are learning in class about how litter and pollution can affect living things.

Soumaila Haidara, 10, said he enjoyed picking up the trash because he felt like he was helping his classmates avoid touching "bacteria."

"It helps keep the (school) safe from bad things," the fourth-grader said.

Pleasant said she hopes to plan regular cleanups at the school with the help of her students.

"Even if they just pick up a gum wrapper, that's one less gum wrapper," she said.

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