Beaver Ridge students learn about environmental topics

NORCROSS - Some students at Beaver Ridge Elementary School got science lessons Wednesday from employees of an environmental firm.

Half of the school's third-, fourth- and fifth-graders participated in events led by employees of Weston Solutions' Norcross office. Students were divided into seven groups, and each group learned about a different environmental topic such as green roofs, alternative energy or recycling.

At one station, students made biodegradable bird feeders by spreading lard and bird seed on a pine cone. The project was Earth-friendly because it would produce no waste, said Nancy Koehler, the school's science specialist.

Another group learned how pet droppings could pollute the water supply. They participated in a relay, scooping up droppings made out of model clay and disposing of the waste in bags.

"It's a fun way to learn," said Ally Shores, a third-grade student who participated in the relay.

Koehler said students would be encouraged to talk to their classmates about what they learned at the different stations. Learning about the environment is part of the science curriculum, and Koehler said she hoped the activities helped bring the lessons to life.

"They're going to remember this," Koehler said. "We know kids learn best when they get to experience it. They may not remember the chapter they read in class, they many not remember what they read in the newspaper, but they're going to remember the activity ... and hopefully form better habits for tomorrow."

Koehler, who led a schoolwide water conservation campaign earlier this year, said Weston Solutions contacted her about developing an Earth Day event. Weston Solutions started as an environmental engineering firm, but the company now develops sustainable solutions for environmental restoration, property redevelopment, construction, green buildings and clean energy.

Beaver Ridge Elementary had never done anything beyond the classroom level, but Koehler wanted to do something to involve the older students, who finished taking standardized tests Tuesday. The other half of the third-, fourth- and fifth-grade classes will participate in the activities today, she said.

Greg Harper, a project manager for the GreenGrid Green Roof System, said the school visit was a good opportunity for the company to show students the range of jobs available in science.

"These are the kids who are going to be our next generation of engineers and scientists," Harper said.

As for the students, these lessons could help them become environmental stewards.

"It's good to learn about the environment because it can save our planet and everyone in it," third-grader Jenny Tian said.