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During the week of April 22nd, the Environmental and Marine Academy and the AP Environmental Science class teamed together to bring environmental awareness to the CMHS campus.
“The purpose of Earth week is to help educate the student population on campus about different environmental issues that are either important to our community or have a large global importance. It is also to try to get people excited about doing things to help the environment,” said EMA advisor Mrs. Rasmussen.
Students were split into groups and given topics to teach the student body. Each team had to design a booth with an activity relating to their topic, giving out prizes such as lollipops and cookies by the Dome at lunch.
“I really think this helps the awareness of people, because these activities help people learn something without even realizing it,” said senior Chris Byers, who presented a project on ocean acidification.
Ocean acidification and overfishing presented on Tuesday; Organic Food and Smart Growth was on Wednesday; Plastic Ocean Pollution and Urban Runoff was on Thursday; and Wetland Restoration, Hydraulic Fracturing, and Drinking Water was on Friday.
Students were given their topics in mid-January through a list generated by Mrs. Rasmussen, and have been planning them for months. Beyond their computer screens, students also interview experts in the community.
“They bring their booths together and plan out their activities and how they’re going to teach people different things, and it all happens this magical week!” Mrs. Rasmussen commented.
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The idea for Earth Week was conceived about 6 years ago, when Mrs. Rasmussen and the EMA team were trying to fulfill a requirement for a grant that would provide money for field trips.
“We’re involved in a program called the WHALES program with Orange County Coast Keeper… Part of their grant involves this thing called the community action project, so students are supposed to research a topic, interview someone, and find somewhere that they can go to present it,” Mrs. Rasmussen said.
They then decided to lump it together with an Earth Day celebration on campus, which fell on April 22nd this year. Beyond the walls of CMHS, EMA students have also presented their topics at South Coast Plaza and the Community Run, and have organized activities such as beach clean ups.
“I think Earth Week is very beneficial to the student body. It’s something we need to learn, because what we’re doing to our planet now is not good,” said junior Valarie Keller, who presented the topic on drinking water. “We need to learn the processes we do and what their effect would be on the environment.”
Added senior Tin Truong, who completed a project on hydraulic fracturing, “This is just to show what is really going on outside in the world.”
Written by Loralee Sepsey