Planting the seed

4/25/2014

Thanks to the newly formed Earth Club, Victor Ornelas Elementary School has one more tree decorating it's lawn.

Thanks to the newly formed Earth Club, Victor Ornelas Elementary School has one more tree decorating it's lawn.

With the help of Home Depot employee David Schwartz and a donated tree, students have now left a lasting impression on their school in their attempt to make the world a better place.

"At first, kids thought it (Earth Club) would be lame, like those were some kids exact words — they think it's not going to be fun. All you're going to do is just talk about recycling," 10-year-old Deanna Aniles, one of the club's co-founders, said. "I tried proving them wrong, so we tried making up fun ideas. We came up with planting trees and stuff like that. And the reaction was pretty funny after we told them about our first project. At the morning assembly when we told them, they were pretty happy about the big projects we were going to do."

Deanna, a fourth-grader, and her Earth Club co-founder Filemon Randel, also in fourth grade, were among 25 students excitedly planting the Yoshino cherry pink sapling Wednesday afternoon.

"We asked the students to come up with something that would make the world a better place," said Nicole Allen, Victor Ornelas science teacher. "Two students thought of creating an Earth club, and this is our first project. It's just one that we put into action so far. They are excited "

Before choosing their project, students split into groups to brainstorm a number of Earth saving strategies for their school. They came up with a number of ideas, including buying reusable silverware for the cafeteria and a milk dispenser to replace milk cartons.

"My mom didn't want me to stick with this because I'm too young, and I might not even find ways to help the Earth," Deanna said. "And me and my sister made a bet that if I did something that was good for the Earth, she would let me sleep in her room because her room has a comfy bed. And I'm like 'Deal!' And so I proved her wrong. I really proved her wrong, and a lot of people really like it here now, and it made us feel good about ourselves, and about the school, and about the Earth because we made it better."

Although young, Deanna and Filemon made it clear that they are serious about making the world a better place, even if it is only one project at a time.

"What if our whole planet was filled with trash," Filemon said. "The paper that we use can be recycled, and other people can use it, so we don't have to cut down trees because we need the trees to live. It's important because what if all of the animals got extinct and you couldn't go outside? And whenever you grow up, how would your sons feel if the whole (planet) was made of dirty stuff — if all the trees would be cut down."

With the school year winding down and fourth-graders getting ready to move on to new schools next year, there is a limited amount of time for the Earth Club to fulfill it's mission.

"This was like our first big project, and it's like a special moment for all of us. But the sad part is we only have one more month of this, so we are trying to get as much as we can done," Deanna said. "I think that it's going to grow. I think that people are going to join, and we might come back and tell them what we are doing and see how the Earth Club is doing."

Regardless of what happens as Earth Club members leave Victor Ornelas, the seed of going green has been planted.

"We have our own recycling bin at home called 'Deanna's annoying recycling bin,'" Deanna said. "Yeah, they think I'm annoying now."

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