Sparky (And KALB) — Back In The Classroom!

By: Leigh Patterson

One of my favorite things to do here at Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful is to go into classrooms to teach students about littering, recycling, and environmental issues. Over the last year, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, this has not been possible. On April 29 and 30, we were finally able to get back into a couple of classrooms!

Sparky, the KALB mascot, and I visited Little Tots Preschool on the dates above. It was a great feeling to be back in the classroom! We spoke to the children about littering — what litter is, how it is harmful, and what they can do to help prevent it. They enjoyed meeting Sparky and playing the “Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down” game with him. In this game, they are shown different pictures and must give a thumbs up if the picture shows something beautiful or a thumbs down if the picture shows litter. Then, they were “sworn in” as Student Litter Patrol Officers, promising to help keep Athens clean and beautiful by sharing the message to “Never Litter” with friends and family.

Education is a very important part of our mission at KALB. We offer several different programs and classroom presentations for students of all ages, adults included! Some of the presentations that we offer are described below.

The Talking Tree

The Talking Tree is available to speak to preschool through first grade students. The main topic is discussion on why trees are important to the planet, to people, and to animals, in a language that young children can understand. We talk about trees providing animal habitats, shade, fuel, food, cooling effect, building materials, and more. Once the students better understand the role trees play in our world, we explain why recycling paper is so important. This is an interactive lesson, and teachers receive coloring pages for their students to continue the lesson.

Student Litter Patrol Officers

Another program that is geared toward preschool through first grade students is our Student Litter Patrol Officer presentation, as was talked about earlier. Sparky and a member of the KALB team will talk with your students about the dangers of litter in our community. The students are then offered the opportunity to become official Litter Patrol Officers. Students are “sworn in” and then receive an official ID card and other goodies. A letter is also given to the students to be taken home to parents, informing them of their child’s new responsibilities and asking them to support their child by being a good example.

Hands-On Litter Awareness

This program can be geared toward almost all grade levels. Students are broken up into small groups and given a bag of 10 clean litter items. They are asked as a group to list the items from most dangerous to least dangerous taking into consideration people, wildlife, and the environment. There are no wrong answers. This is an exercise that allows students to take time to think about the consequences of littering.

Environmental Jeopardy

This is a realistic game of Jeopardy with all answers relating to the environment. The questions and answers can be geared toward any age group with general or more specific information, depending on the needs of the class. A short presentation is given covering several of the topics included in the game. Students are then broken up into teams to compete for points.

Recycling Into the Future

A KALB team member will educate your students about the importance of recycling. The questions “Why should we recycle?”, “What will happen if we don’t recycle?”, “How does recycling work?”, and “What is made from recycled materials?” will be answered. The students will be shown fun items made from recycled materials, such as clothing and carpeting, made from plastic bottles, plastic wood, and other items. This program is developed based on age group.

We know that the best way to change the world’s views on littering, recycling, and environmental issues is through educating our youth. If you are interested in having someone from KALB present a lesson or program to your student or adult groups, please reach out to us. If you have a topic in mind that is not listed above, just ask us. We will be happy to work with you to ensure that the program will fit your needs!

By: Leigh Patterson – Executive Director – Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful