Friday, October 23, 2009

Ecology Day

This semester we have been focusing on Stewardship; using and not abusing all that God has given us. Our bodies, money, possessions, time, talents, the Earth and natural resources. This week the focus was on Ecology and how we can be better stewards of the Earth.
Yesterday was what we called Ecology Day. A field trip into Ecology. Here is what we did-
In the morning we used the A-Z guide to Helping the Planet. It discussed all sort of practical ways to make small changes. Some highlights included fix leaky pipes and faucets. We took a jar and placed it under an intentional leak in the kitchen sink. In a half hours time we had 5 cups of water. Times that by 24 hours and you are potentially losing/paying for gallons of water a day. Reduce- use less, Reuse- find ways to get multiple uses out of an item and Recycle. Keep lights off when not in a room. Keep the refrigerator door shut. Use cloth bags when shopping and shop wiser, looking for for eco-friendly items and paying attention to packaging. See who else is here on the planet. We made a diagram of a pond and drew pictures of all the critters that live there. Then we added the animals that use the pond for their water source and the birds that feed there. Then we drew in some people polluting and talked about the effects on everyone. Needless to say our discussions were fun and interesting.
Then it was time for the field trip. Since I wanted to get the kids thinking about how small changes can be effective we chose to do ALL travel for the day by either bus or foot.
The bus- The boy researched which bus stop to use and what time it departed. Thankfully we have 3 different choices and the one we chose took about 7 minutes to walk to. Along the way we picked up trash. When we first got on the bus there were only a few people but as we worked our way downtown it slowly filled. We talked about bus etiquette, how the bus works, emergency exits, requesting stops and all sorts of other interesting things. After 25 minutes we arrived into the Transporatation Center, the hub of all buses in our area. We checked out the huge map and were impressed by the fact that you can get practically anywhere by bus. Then we had a short walk to Impression 5/Creation Station. Along the way we continued on with our trash pick-up. By the time we arrived to our destination, the bag was full. We took off our gloves, washed our hands and ate our lunch. Then since we were early we decided to head up to Impression 5 and explore for a few minutes. We checked out the water pollution display in the water works room. Talking about water sources and keeping them safe from pollution. Confession here: I think alot of times when we go to Impressions 5 we go from one fun activity to another and rarely take time to actually do a display or read the info. Yesterday we were able to squeeze in a few of the infomational displays as well as do lots of the "fun stuff."
With 12:30 drawing near we headed back downstairs to Creation Station, our recycle store. The awesome coordinator of craft day, my mom, had set -up tons of miscellaneous recycled items. Our other Konos friends arrived and we had Imagination Craft Day. Were we let the kids create using the recycled items. Fun! If you have never been to Creation Station, I highly recommend a visit. If you have arts and crafts project you will be amazed at how many items they have. We have a bag at our house just for collecting items to go to Creation Station. What was that about reuse and recycle? Check.
With rain coming down outside, the afternoon trash pick-up with friends was canceled. Instead the kids went back up to Impression 5 and explored together. Good times.
Then it was onto the Farmer's Market, buy local, buy seasonal. We picked out some produce and treats. Yum!
Then it was off to Preuss' Animal House. To check out who else we are sharing this planet with. It was a bit of a walk from the market to the pet shop and it was sprinkling but the kids were having fun.
Our return trip, we learned how to transfer buses and the boy got to pull the yellow "stop requested" cord.
We weren't even off the bus when the kids both asked, "When do we GET to ride the bus again?" I think the word get through me at first. Often times riding the bus has a stigma attached. My kids saw it as a priviledge, as fun and exciting. I have to admit, I enjoyed it as well. Perhaps would not even mind doing it more often.
Thanks for joining us on our adventure!
Any ideas, books or videos you would like to share about Ecology would be warmly recieved.

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