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September 29, 2023

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Students put Earth first for a week

As part of Earth First Week, University students joined community members at the Montessori School of Bowling Green Thursday afternoon to help host the 4th Annual Community Earth Day celebration.

The event was free and open to the public, which was attended mostly by children in the area who were able to participate in various activities aimed at environmental awareness.

In its fourth year, the celebration has been a success for both the school as well as partnering organizations, said Jessica Hover, associate director of the Montessori School.

“The event came out of a lot of different organizations in town that wanted to put together something that was family focused as a way to talk about environmental awareness and celebrate with Earth friendly activities,” Hover said. “This year more than ever we have a lot of different local groups.”

Groups included the Wood County Solid Waste District, Wood County District Public Library, Wood Soil & Water Conservation, Schooner Farms and BG Parks and Recreation.

Guests were also able to go on a nature walk through the 14-acre wooded grounds of the school’s property, which is a big reason why the event has been hosted at the school over the past four years, said Bev Bechstein, executive director of the Montessori School.

“Environmental education is a big part of what we do here,” Bechstein said.

University students in Lara Lengel’s Environmental Communication course were helping at the event and have been working all semester with the Montessori School and Project H.O.P.E. Equine Assisted Therapies on ways to increase environmental stewardship.

“This year and last year the students helped with developing art activities that are related to environmentally safe activities,” Hover said. “They also help with publicity and developing ideas for the event.”

The event was the first of two the students have been working on as part of the service-learning component of the course Lengel incorporated.

“One of our taglines is ‘Good for nature, good for us,’” said senior Auriel Love. “We’ve been trying to come up with ways to go green and get the word out about bettering the environment.”

The students handed out tree samplings, assisted in art projects and also helped Project H.O.P.E.’s director Sandra Tebbe give out horseback rides to promote their second event they’ve been working on.

On Friday, the students will join in hosting “3 R’s Rummage Sale,” to promote the sustainable practices of repurposing, reusing and recycling. The students have been contacting businesses throughout the semester to promote the event, which asks people to bring their gently used items for the sale.

The “3 R’s Rummage Sale” will take place at Project H.O.P.E.’s stables in Bowling Green and guests can receive free pony rides and participate in environmental arts & crafts throughout the day.

Lengel said this is the first environmental communication course of its kind at the University and both of the events help give her students a hands-on approach.

“I’m thrilled to see how much the students have taken on a leadership role in helping our community’s children and their families to understand and appreciate environmental sustainability,” Lengel said.

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