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Earth Day is More Than a Clean Up Day

2011 April 26

By Yvette Chenaux

I teach environmental education at Oshki Ogimaag, a charter school on the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Reservation where the students are Anishinaabe, also known as Ojibwe, or Chippewa. At school, the students have varied lesson plans, including language lessons in Ojibwe and environmental lessons from the Environmental Department staff.

I believe and know first-hand that young people care about the Earth. The students I work with have a strong connection to the environment. The students and their families collect wild rice in the fall, collect berries in the summer and fish and hunt throughout the year.

Last year students participated in a community clean-up for Earth Day. They split into groups and went all over the community to collect trash. When asked about the clean-up, they agreed that there was too much trash. Thomas said that what he disliked most about the clean-up was that “the Earth was so dirty, and no one cared about it. We had to go two feet underground to get a big bag of trash.” This year, in celebration of Earth Day, they participated in another community clean-up and they made beautiful posters and a banner to put up around town. Their hopes were high that they would find less trash and that more people would join them.

Jayson said that his favorite memory about the clean-up was that he was able to be “outside when it was a nice day out.” Shylan saw a fox while picking up some trash. When asked what Earth Day means to him, Jayden replied that it is “a day to help the Earth, which we should do everyday.” Sarah said that her family regularly turns down the heat when they leave the house, and Shylan said that she plans to ride her bike more. Sam said that she walks often and she picks up trash when she is out walking. Cleaning up the community is not just about picking up trash, but it is also about being outside and learning how to make everyday Earth Day. Miigwech! (Thank you)

About the author: Yvette Chenaux is the Air Quality Specialist for the Grand Portage Band. She monitors haze and particulate matter and performs indoor air assessments.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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7 Responses leave one →
  1. armansyahardanis permalink
    April 26, 2011

    “Miigwech”, Yvette !!!

    It seems The Earth Day will celebrated forever. Especially gen-plastics (?) in the future. Saludos Thomas, Jayson, Shylan, Jayden, Sarah, Sam. Have a nice environmentalists and also miigwech !!!

  2. Mary permalink
    April 27, 2011

    Yvette,
    Thank you so much for posting this wonderful entry! My sister Betsy lived up there and always was proud to be part Ojibwe (me too!), and she loved the Earth-centric culture. This is the best way to celebrate Earth Day, with the kids that are the future. Thank you for all that you do. Keep it up!
    -Mary
    PS I would love to see some of the kids’ art!

  3. Yvette permalink
    May 2, 2011

    Miigwech for the wonderful comments and support!

    You can look at one of the posters that was created by the Oshki Ogimaag students by viewing the Grand Portage air blog “Breathe in the Air”, http://gpairquality.blogspot.com/.

  4. commsunlight permalink
    May 10, 2011

    This event very meaningful environmental education from the children started, with the population growth, environmental as before, and I remember as a child, a great snow year, and now there is no snow where I live, we should promote energy conservation.

  5. Anonymous permalink
    November 4, 2011

    you don’t just clean the earth on earth day you clean it everyday

  6. Anonymous permalink
    November 4, 2011

    i knw i am happy on earth day! earth day is fun!

  7. Anonymous permalink
    November 4, 2011

    earth day is very important

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