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Loudoun fifth-graders study environmental impact of their school, raise money to rebuild ecosystem

Madison’s Trust fifth-grader Shreyas Sailes (right) does a nature survey with his classmates at the school this morning. Times-Mirror/Hannah Dellinger
A wire fence now separates the woods surrounding Madison's Trust Elementary from the Brambleton school's well-groomed grass field and playground. A few years ago the area was all forest and now many species have been displaced by the construction.

Fifth-graders at the school this year are studying the environmental impact of the construction to the ecosystem and how to help reverse it.

Since this is the first year Madison's Trust has been open, its teachers wanted their students to take on a project-based learning challenge that would help them take ownership of the school. A group of fifth-grade teachers decided to assign their students a project that would directly impact their lives and the environment around them.

This morning, representatives from the Audubon Naturalist Society spoke to the students about what kinds of wildlife used to live on the land where their school was constructed. They talked about how the fragile balance of an ecosystem can be thrown off by human activity.

Each student was assigned an animal to thoroughly research. They will create artwork of the species they studied, which will be auctioned off to raise money for supplies the students will choose to buy to aid animals in reestablishing their habitats.

“They want to put things in place for future students at the school,” said Amanda Brown, a fifth-grade teacher at the school. “In future years we hope to extend the habitat we rebuild into a nature walk around the entire school and an outdoor classroom.”

Brown said when she began discussing the topic with her students, they expressed sympathy for the animals and wanted to do something to help.

“There's been some empathy developed and some realization that construction and having nice new things means something has to be lost in the process,” she said. “They are making that connection and realizing we are part of the problem and we also have to be part of the solution.”

Jackie Buchan, a fifth-grade teacher at the school who's witnessed the building out of Brambleton as a resident, said the project isn't about making anyone feel guilty for constructing the school. The emphasis, she said, is on finding a way to respect wildlife and be able to coexist with nature in an ecological way.

“They see the legacy this is going to leave behind,” she said. “It's about what we can do to keep the environment the way it is and bring people and animals here to come back and appreciate it.”

Shreyas Sailes, a fifth-grader at Madison's Trust, said he is thankful to his teachers for assigning the project.

“We really appreciate it. It will help all of the animals a lot,” he said. “All of these animals are also living things.”


Get em while they’re young!

But, SGP, your original point was, “Such political agendas are not appropriate in our schools.”  Since when is environment awareness a political agenda?  Perhaps you are right that we can’tt erase our impact.  But that does not mean that students should not learn about the topic?  You are so wrong here to criticize schools as promoting a political agenda.  Once again, I stand by my assertion that you are in this fight for your own personal agenda and not about education

“It’s about what we can do to keep the environment the way it is”...

When sabertooth tigers went extinct, whatever environmental factors, predators, competitors didn’t give a hoot.  Environments change.  (Non-human) Species force others to go extinct as they become more successful. 

Nobody is saying for humans to completely disregard their impact, but at 7 billion strong and growing, it is unbelievably naive to think humans can erase their impact.  If you want to erase your “footprint”, don’t procreate, sell all your material possessions and consider extreme measures.  But the PC folks are telling others that they shouldn’t impact the environment while folks are flying on private jets and building mansions.

If the “fragile balance” was so fragile, the world would be desolate by now. It clearly is not.  Mother Earth will be here long after we are gone.  It’s silly to think that we could irreversibly damage it.  Tilt the balance toward some species… yes.  Every species does that.

They are studying specifically how their school’s construction affected the environment around it (which it did). Simmer down.

I don’t understand what SWSWSW and SGP are upset about.  Ecology and environmental studies are taught all over the world.  This activity seems a great way to bring a real world situation to the students who can apply what they are learning in the classroom.  Why is this a bad thing? Where is this brainwashing from our Govt schools?  Where is the even a PC issue?  Unless SW and SGP don’t believe in “give a hoot, don’t pollute.”

Such political agendas are not appropriate in our schools.  Just take a plane ride over any part of this expansive nation and you can see we are nowhere close to seriously impinging on the environment.  We have vastly more trees in the US than we did around 1900. 

To say that the environment is in crisis is nuts.  We need knowledgeable, objective instructors who can quash all this know-nothing PC nonsense.

In the 70’s we were taught about the dangers of pollution, taught to Recycle, Lake Erie was on fire and very eerie. Industrial run-off was charged, fined, heavily regulated or put out of business for violations. Citizens paid States more money to stick a sniffer up their vehicle tail-pipes to measure emissions. So has there been any progress in the last 40 years? How much money do we have to give Al Gore and how much Freedom and Liberty do we have to give up to the liberals and the new world order?

kids care about future of life on our planet - coexistence
empower kids - not the KOCHS

“Some have begun to call public schools ‘government schools,’ a calculated pejorative scorning both education and anything related to government (wichita eagle)

using political wedge, trying to rebrand public education, not the first time that conservatives used semantics, coined phrases, the right has co-opted certain words

“The use of the term “government schools” is part of a broad education agenda that includes restraining costs. The far-right and libertarian wings of the Republican Party are pushing the state to loosen its laws to allow more charter schools. They oppose programs that offer free or reduced-price breakfasts and lunches, believing that schools have become part of the “nanny state” — another politically charged term — and are usurping the role of parents.”

“The Libertarian Party borrowed that for its party platform in 1980. “Government schools lead to the indoctrination of children and interfere with the free choice of individuals,” the platform said.” (nytimes)

“It’s austere,” Dr. Locke said. “It has an oppressive ring to it. It sounds rigid, the opposite of open or friendly or charming or congenial. The people who use that term are hoping those words will come to mind.” (nytimes)

btw - ed clark & david koch LOST 1980 election - libertarian ticket

Brainwashing at its finest from our Government Schools.

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