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