November 23, 2017
School & Youth
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  • Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary participated in Bodkin Elementary’s 10th annual Environmental and Local Culture Fair on May 6, bringing turtles and other creatures.
    Photo by Andrew Candella
    Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary participated in Bodkin Elementary’s 10th annual Environmental and Local Culture Fair on May 6, bringing turtles and other creatures.
  • During the Environmental and Local Culture Fair, students had the opportunity to do hands-on crafts and activities.
    Photo by Andrew Candella
    During the Environmental and Local Culture Fair, students had the opportunity to do hands-on crafts and activities.
  • Handmade soaps and upcycled jewelry were among the items sold at the Environmental and Local Culture Fair on May 6.
    Photo by Andrew Candella
    Handmade soaps and upcycled jewelry were among the items sold at the Environmental and Local Culture Fair on May 6.

Bodkin Elementary Emphasizes The Environment

Gracie Fairfax
Gracie Fairfax's picture
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May 18, 2017

On Saturday, May 6, about 500 Bodkin Elementary students, parents and community members gathered at the school to celebrate the 10th annual Environmental and Local Culture Fair put on by the school’s PTA. The fair included environmentally focused vendors and educational groups, from the Phillips Wharf Environmental Center Fishmobile to vendors who sold upcycled handmade jewelry. Kavern was also in attendance and donated free snow cones.

Bodkin Elementary has been a certified Green School through the Maryland Association of Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE) since 2007, with certification renewal in 2015. The purpose of the fair was to educate attendees on the importance of environmental stewardship. The fair also helps Bodkin maintain Green School status.

With close proximity to Bodkin Creek and the Magothy River, and storm drains labeled as Chesapeake Bay drainage, Bodkin Elementary students see the direct impact they can have on local waterways.

“These bodies of water flow into our precious Chesapeake Bay,” PTA member and National Aquarium employee Jennifer Aiken said. “It is crucial for residents to incorporate environmentally friendly practices, starting in their own backyards, in order to protect these important ecosystems.”

One highlight of the fair was Anne Arundel County’s SPCA Mobile Unit, which carried cats, dogs, guinea pigs and more. In addition to seeing animals up for adoption in the SPCA mobile unit, students learned about healthy pet practices. EcoAdventures contributed to the animal exhibits by bringing a small alligator, a snake and a hedgehog.

“I really liked … the animals you could see and touch,” said third-grade student Charlie Shaeffer. “I saw scorpions and a hissing cockroach. They sold crickets in boxes that you could eat! The person said the crickets taste like potato chips. I wondered, really? … like potato chips?”

A new addition this school year at Bodkin is a global studies class for students in kindergarten through fifth-grade, led by teachers Melissa Major and Dana Kirby. In this class, students looked at environmental issues affecting the seven continents. They decided on an environmental issue that most concerned them and created crafts associated with the issue. Examples included endangered species, air pollution, soil degradation and microplastics in the oceans. These problems inspired students to make bracelets out of plastic bags, self-watering planters and more. The crafts were sold at the fair’s Bodkin Boutique and proceeds benefit the World Wildlife Fund, the Rainforest Alliance and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

PTA member and Environmental and Culture Fair co-chair Kristin McCreery noticed that students take what they have learned at school and at the fair to heart.

“Whether it’s just from being actually able to hold a python in your hand to learning about Mr. Trash Wheel and how you can invent things to help the environment, the students are getting exposure to all of those things at the fair … and they realize that they need to care for the earth,” Kristin McCreery said. “I know students who go home and talk to their parents about recycling or composting.”

One third-grade student, Stephanie Brenner, wants to bring together a group of students at the school who share her passion.

“I learned that there are a lot of people, like me, who are passionate about helping our environment,” Brenner said. “If we work together, I know we can make the world even better. Actually, it inspired me to work to start an environmental club with kids from all grade levels working on a different global issue. I’ve been talking to my teachers and we’re making plans for next year.”

By learning about environmental issues at an early age, students take on a mindset of consciousness about the way the choices they make affect the world around them and are able to tell others about the importance of caring for the earth.


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