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Hillside Montessori School celebrates Earth Day

Seeds, sediment, soil and snakes were just a few of the ‘s’ words that came from students at Hillside Montessori Thursday morning. 

In years past, the Montessori school has always hosted a large Earth Day festival in the Hillside Community, but due to the pandemic this year and last, they decided to keep it small and simple at the school this year. 

“We still wanted our students to have the opportunity to engage with organizations who promote sustainability and earth-friendly practices,” said Bethany Headrick, Head of School. 

Representatives from The Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Pickels Mobile Petting Zoo, Sierra Club, The Ray and Jenny Jack Farm created stations for students to visit and get hands-on experience. 

Each student also planted their own tomato plant to take home. 

“Earth day is important, and this is a time to pause and recognize the importance of how we interact with the environment,” Headrick said. “Regardless of our current situation, we do need to take time out to think about the state of our environment, and how we can be stewards and how our actions and decisions affect the world that we live in.” 

She added that each student is having the opportunity to learn about the world on their own age level. 

“We want to continue to educate our children because they’re the next generation that will carry these practices forward,” Headrick said. “A lot of times children are the ones who can best advocate and teach the adults around them. The educators are being real generous and adapting their presentations based on the age of the students.” 

Each age group had their favorites but one of the biggest hits of the morning was the petting zoo. Students got to pet snakes, goats, a rabbit and a chicken. 

Henry Jacobs with The Chattahoochee Riverkeeper brought buckets of sediments and sand for students to dig through to find trash to teach them about litter in the water. Students also learned about bird eggs and their environment from the Sierra Club. 

“They are learning everything from how we can protect our birds to how we protect our waterways with the river, to solar power to organic gardening,” Headrick said. “We just wanted them to get as much hands-on learning today as possible. Each station has been a different experience for them, which is great. We are thankful for all of these organizations who came out today to teach the students.”