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Earth Day important to Western Heights

May 05, 2008|By JANET HEIM

With the distinction of being the first official "green school" in Washington County, Western Heights Middle School is working hard to keep that designation.

Seventh-grade science teacher Amy Hilliard said the school applied for and earned "green school" status in 2006.

It must reapply every three years, demonstrating efforts in three categories to be a Maryland Green School - integrated environmental education; environmental best management practices modeled in the operation, design and maintenance of the school building and grounds; and the school and/or students extend their learning into the community, according to MAEOE.org.

Earth Day takes on greater significance for this "green school" since it has already made a commitment to the environment.

This year, all of the approximately 200 seventh-graders took part in three Earth Day activities on Tuesday, April 22 - planting 50 oak and 50 pine trees on school property, painting 30 storm drains with "Don't Dump - Chesapeake Bay Drainage" and creating posters to be displayed in the community.

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"This is going to be hard to top next year," Hilliard said.

Trees were purchased through the Maryland State Nursery. Plastic tree tubes, purchased with grant money from the Washington County Board of Education, will protect the new trees.

Student Brittany Williams is convinced the students' efforts will make a difference.

"It will. I know it will. If it doesn't, we'll have to try harder next year," she said.

Sixth and eighth-grade students also participated in Earth Day activities during the school day in their classrooms.

Student Francisco Macalupu said he feels good about helping remind people about Chesapeake Bay drainage, "Because people throw water bottles and throw cigarettes (in the storm drains). The water gets polluted and it goes in the ocean and kills the fish."

Student Viktor Zanko said he likes the idea of planting more trees so there will be more birds in the area.

"I think Earth Day should be every day because it's important for the earth," said student Austin Black.

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