New Leaf: SIFE grows greener future with ‘Conservation Cadets’

By Lauren Belcher |
Photos by Lauren Belcher
Video by Lauren Belcher

SIFE team members Katherine Baggett and Jesse Quick speak to local elementary school children about recycling, reusing and reducing garbage.

Elementary school children in St. Johns County are learning the importance of recycling and reducing garbage.

Flagler College’s Students in Free Enterprise team organized Conservation Cadets to help teach students to be eco-friendly.

On March 26, I went with SIFE to two local schools and saw their presentation in action.

One notable moment was seeing the kids’ surprise when they were told that recycling one aluminum can will save enough energy to power a television through 6 episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants.

They talked about blocks of crushed cans that can be as big as a car and a 12-foot wall of paper that can stretch from New York City to Los Angeles, which represents the amount of paper we use each year.

Even I learned something new: there are only two man-made objects that can be seen from space, one is the Great Wall of China and the other is Fresh Kills landfill in New York City. The kids were as shocked as I was and commented on how much garbage that must be.

I was very pleased when the presenters ask the children why trees are important and they all knew the answer. Trees produce oxygen so we can breathe.

We ended each presentation with pledge cards and a fun worksheet. The students signed the pledge cards and promised to start — or continue — recycling, reducing and reusing their garbage.

SIFE's Conservation Cadets

It was wonderful to help participate in raising eco-awareness. It’s never really occurred to me that awareness should start with children.

They are the future and they will be making the decisions very soon. If they are going to make ‘green’ decisions in adulthood, they need to be taught them at a young age.

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