FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 13, 2007
With the guidance of College of the Canyons student Lacey Ehrlich, students from Joanna Trafecanty's fourth-grade class team up to sort bottles, cans and paper as part of a class recycling project. Ehrlich has made weekly visits to the North Park Elementary classroom since October to teach students about the importance of recycling and environmental conservation.
Fourth-Graders to Perform Play About Environment
As a fitting conclusion to the Jan. 31 Focus the Nation: Global Warming Solutions for America conference being held at College of the Canyons later this month, one environmentally minded class of North Park Elementary School fourth-graders will take the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center stage in dramatic fashion.
Performing the original play "A Time Capsule Can Save the Word and Other Tips..." to present a variety of pertinent messages about recycling and conservation, Joanna Trafecanty's fourth-grade class will look to provide conference attendees with a variety of ways to incorporate environmentally conscious practices into our daily lives.
"It's a chance for the kids to tell us what they think about recycling and the environment and the future of our planet," said Dr. Jia-Yi Cheng-Levine, chair of the college's Sustainable Development Committee and one of the conference organizers. "Fourth grade is the time when students really start articulating their surroundings, so it's the perfect time to instill a strong sense of environmental responsibility in them."
The Jan. 31 performance comes as the end result of a service-learning project between North Park Elementary School and students from the COC Students for Sustainability Club, who have been working with Trafecanty's class to produce the play since early October.
The project, which was spearheaded by 19-year-old COC student Lacey Ehrlich, has also included a series of weekly classroom visits in which students were presented information on a number of environmental issues, including the "reduce, reuse, recycle" philosophy, before eventually initiating their own classroom recycling program.
"I feel education is the best way for community change to occur," said Ehrlich about her desire to undertake such a project. "I thought that a play would be a great way to get the kids involved and thinking about environmental issues, so it's my hope that by raising awareness about these issues students will understand their importance and want to do something to bring about that change."
Because the collaboration project has gone so well, Cheng-Levine hopes this year's partnership will serve as a model program for other teachers on the North Park Elementary campus, and eventually other schools in the valley.
"If we can reach fourth-graders this year, then maybe as fifth-graders they will want to come back and help teach younger students, or even go home and talk to their parents about the moral obligation we all share for our planet," Cheng-Levine said. "If this project proves successful it's our hope that parents will demand similar issues be taught and discussed in their kid's class."
This play, "A Time Capsule Can Save the World and Other Tips..." is written by Lacy Ehrlich and coaches from the COC Speech and Debate Team, Drew Ferrandini and Michael Leach. Trafecanty's fourth-grade class will perform the play at 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31 in the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons, during the Focus the Nation (FTN): Global Warming Solutions for America conference.
Admission to the conference is free, with a suggested $5 to $10 suggested donation to help offset event costs.
For more information about the FTN conference or other COC sustainability related events, please contact Dr. Jia-Yi Cheng-Levine at (661) 362-5806 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can register for the conference at www.cocsdc.org. "Early Bird" registrants will receive free tote bags full of goodies on the day of the conference.