Wilson hosts “Earth Week” in recognition of climate change

Alex Holmes

The Wilson Climate Committee celebrated Earth Day last week with a variety of environment-related activities every day at STEP.

Spearheaded by science teacher Angela Benjamin and world languages teacher Simona Spicciani-Gerhardt, the week was focused on raising awareness about environmental issues.

The activities included earth-themed music on Monday, healthy drinks and a clothing exchange Tuesday, interviews with climate experts on Wednesday, a tee shirt competition Thursday, and a school wide door decoration contest on Friday.

Benjamin had been waiting a long time for Earth Week plans to come to fruition. “I’ve tried to do the Earth Day celebration for a couple years. Three years, as a matter of fact.”

The one factor that consistently stopped Earth Week in previous years was the PARCC test. This year, she initially wanted to do the celebrations in the second part of the day, but was forced to settle for STEP due to the exam.

On Monday, Assistant Principal Gregory Bargeman played Earth, Wind and Fire music, including some of the group’s most popular songs like “September” and “Let’s Groove.”

On Wednesday, qualified guests were invited to host their own tables in the atrium at STEP on various topics, ranging from sustainable building to NASA. Some were parents of students, and others were not, but they all had an interest in educating the Wilson student body.

“I wanted students to inform themselves about the issues and then find a passion where they want to dig more deeply,” said Ann Peters, who works for the Pulitzer Center and was at the fair.

Junior Graham Cunningham, who attended the event as part of a requirement for her Principles of Engineering class, was drawn to a table manned by representatives from NASA Goddard, with a focus on weather.

“I don’t really know specifically where I would want to work in that area, so it was good to hear from weather experts, and satellites and atmospheric sciences and research which is not something you usually think of associated with NASA. That was eye-opening and helped me kind of see the range of careers in that field,” said Cunningham.

Most of the adults there had an interest in student well-being. Adam Roberts, the executive director of Bethesda Green, says that his company has a leadership Academy that partners with high school students to do composting. He said there are a lot of “individual actions that everyone can take to make a difference” including choices of “transportation, power, using solar power, what you eat, [and] reducing meat consumption.”

Hung Pham, a senior who attended the fair, has an interest in the environment. Pham thinks it’s important to take action, but not many of his friends are as interested as he is in the climate. He wants that to change, and thinks that Earth Day may be part of the solution. “I think Earth Day is important to make the people understand how the Earth is changing and how climate change is happening right now.”

The door decoration contest, which was held throughout the week, was judged by Dr. Dani Moore, a science teacher. At least ten doors were decorated. Benjamin’s favorite, aside from her own, was Room 229’s, which featured a piece of red construction paper with a box in the center containing the words: “Hey Wilson, you dropped this.” Surrounding it are various pieces of Wilson litter, like a pizza box, a Dunkin Donuts bag, and a water bottle.

The winner is yet to be determined, as Dr. Moore wants to have another look at the doors to be sure.

“I celebrated Earth Week because we only have one home to live on, and we need to be stewards of this precious gift. Climate change is affecting our daily lives and can no longer be denied or ignored,” said Benjamin. “It is your world that is at stake. Rally for the Earth and against climate change.”