Rose Anne Everson, WCA Intern
21/12/2016: Trash Talk!
At home in Chicago I was delighted and surprised to receive an invitation from Cindy Bierman McInnis to join the Midwest tour of The Whalemobile and ”talk trash” with first and second grade students at the Academy for Global Citizenship an expanding charter school located on the southwest side of Chicago. The Academy’s campus sports compost bins in every classroom, recycles and has eliminated plastics from their cafeteria. And, this Midwest land locked school boasts an Orca as their mascot!
On November 29th the Academy’s first and second grade students attended a group assembly on humpback whales presented by The Whalemobile founder Cynde Bierman McInnis. Using her favourite whale Nile as model and guide, Cynde shared her personal whale journey, whale behaviours and Nile’s family history. The highlight of the assembly for everyone in attendance was watching Nile grow into a life sized 43 foot humpback whale in the Academy’s multipurpose room.
After the assembly, each class spent 15 to 20 minutes inside The Whalemobile, where they handled whale artifacts and learned more about whale physiology from Cynde. Then it was my turn to talk trash with the class.
Using pictures of a variety of manufactured and biodegradable items such as t-shirts, balloons, wood, plastic bottles, fruit, Styrofoam cups and plastic bags, we played the “how long” guessing game. Selecting an item I ask the class to guess how long the item remains in our environment. Since the campus has classroom composting these students were way ahead of me!
Trash talk is also an opportunity to share how simple our everyday choices can, do and will make a difference in the health of our planet. Each of us can reduce the impact of plastics, trash and debris on our oceans and marine wildlife when we:
– Participate in a beach or waterway clean-up
– Say no to straws, balloons and plastic bags
– Refuse to use or purchase single use plastic products
– Use refillable bottles and repurposing goods and products
– Purchase renewed, recycled or upcycled goods and products
The Academy’s mission “is to empower all students to positively impact the community and world beyond”. The pairing of their mission to develop the next generations of global citizens with The Whalemobile’s focus on conservation education generated an extraordinary experience for approximately 100 students, teachers, staff and one Net Effect intern.