Earlier this year, Infinite Energy gave back $50,000 in grants to 11 schools in Gwinnett County, Georgia. The money was for school projects focused on science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM).
Chattahoochee Elementary School was one of those grant recipients. They qualified for $7,600 to use on three projects designed to teach kids about the environment. And one of those projects, already underway when the grant money was sent, focuses on saving a stream behind the school.
“Many didn’t even know there was a creek behind our school, much less that it flowed into the Chattahoochee River,” 2nd-grade teacher Louvene W. said about the project.
Concerned that the stream might be suffering from the effects of polluted runoff, Louvene and her students decided to check it out. Testing showed that the water was relatively clean. But the area was full of trash and debris. And parts of the bank were being eroded into the stream. The students came up with a plan and went to work.
“These kids represent the future and will be responsible for taking care of the earth and our waterways,” she said. “By instilling an appreciation of and stewardship of our environment early on, they’ll be in a better position to preserve and improve it as they grow older.”
In the course of investigating the stream, students learned about the different plants and animals living there and how each fits into the environment. They also used math and science to evaluate the erosion, which they’ve slowed by replanting part of the stream bank. And they even made a point to feature the stream on the school’s news show. Louvene said students throughout the school—not just those involved in the project—have learned a great deal about the stream and its importance.
“We had a great deal of support from the community, too,” Louvene said. “Parents were eager to accompany us on ‘swamp stomps’ and help educate the students about the stream and surrounding environment.”
The next project, which will involve students, parents and other community members, is set for October and will aim to remove much of the trash and debris that has accumulated in the creek over the years. And the school is also hoping to get permission to give the stream an official name.
Louvene said the project, overall, has created a greater awareness of the environment and given many of the students a jumpstart in learning about such topics.
Infinite Energy is proud to have a hand in that.
Stay tuned in the months ahead for more on the projects at Chattahoochee Elementary and our other grant recipients.