Storm Drain Rangers? Yes We Are!
Written by: Alix Martin
Did you know that scientists predict that by the year 2050, there will be more pieces of trash in the ocean than fish?
Fourth grade students at Grant Elementary School in San Lorenzo learned how trash ends up in our watersheds in their KIDS for the BAY Storm Drain Rangers program. “So the trash that gets into the storm drains doesn’t get filtered out?” Andrea asked. Classmate Evanna added, “There is so much trash on the sidewalks that can go into the drains and get into the creeks, the bay and the ocean! What can we do?” The students were excited and proud to complete a school campus trash cleanup project, but they wanted to do much more! Several young environmentalists asked KIDS for the BAY Educator Alix Martin, “Can we talk about pollution and teach the rest of the school?”
A few weeks later, our environmental leaders were standing in front of their kindergarten and third grade buddy classes, wearing crab costumes and suits, putting on a very exciting show to teach others how to keep their watershed clean, healthy and pollution free!
The KIDS for the BAY students were very proud to lead their assembly for younger classes, present the skits they had been practicing, and teach others about marine debris, storm drains, and keeping the watershed clean. It was extra exciting for the younger audience members, because this was their first time ever seeing a live skit or assembly like this due to the Covid pandemic and distance learning.
The news reporter interviewed marine animal actors who were suffering from the effects of marine plastic pollution. “Audience, do abandoned fishing nets belong in the open ocean?” asked news reporter Jackson. “NO!” cried the kindergarten audience in unison. The actors shared information about the Five Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot and Refuse) and the importance of keeping trash out of storm drains. The audience hung onto every word! The student leaders practiced a call and response with their audience: “Storm Drain Rangers?” “Yes We Are!” was the resounding reply.
After presenting their perfectly memorized lines along with their passionate acting, the fourth grade students took some time to answer audience questions. “When can we start picking up trash?” an enthusiastic third grader asked. The performers eagerly shared that they had a KIDS for the BAY cleanup kit available for all the classes to do a cleanup together very soon!
After the assembly, one of the kindergarten classes put together a special poster with their questions and things they learned. The fourth grade students were excited to see that the younger students learned a lot from them, and had a lot of fun answering their questions.
Reflecting on the assembly, Natalia shared, “Telling the kindergartners that there would be more trash than fish by 2050 was really impactful to them. I could tell by their faces! And it’s so important to let them know how they can help, for example by joining us for the trash cleanup.”
The fourth grade students also created posters that shared environmental messages and presented them to their peers. They felt very empowered to share their newfound knowledge with others. “We’re environmental leaders now, because we can teach others about how to care for the watershed!” siad Andrea.