Third-grader Blanca Hernandez joined adult volunteers at Heritage Elementary School Monday to celebrate Earth Day by planting a Florida native tree in the school’s small butterfly garden.
The dahoon holly tree was planted in part to acknowledge that Heritage Elementary was recently designated as a green school of quality by the Pine Jog Environmental Education Center for taking steps to reduce water and power consumption and to involve students in learning about conservation.
Students in the school’s Green Bees Environmental Club read water meters, monitor recycling bins on campus and make sure that lights are turned off when not in use. To save power, students also make sure that appliances such as microwave ovens and small refrigerators are unplugged when the school is closed for extended periods.
Monitoring school water use is something the students thought of themselves, said Sylvia Cerease, a resource teacher who coordinates the environmental club. Data gathered from the water meters are used in some classes for math practice, Cerease said.
In addition to working on conservation, Heritage students grow vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers and bell peppers throughout the year in the school garden.
“Our students are very aware of energy conservation and living green lifestyles, which includes healthy diets, exercise and recycling,” Principal Seth Moldovan said.
During spring break, a youth group from the Pentecostal Tabernacle on Lake Worth Road planted an herb garden at the school that includes rosemary, basil, parsley and mint, pastor Howard Aarons said.