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During four days in May 2024, 12 teachers and 305 students in grades 6-8 (including special needs students) participated in school cleanups at Eich Middle School in Roseville, CA. They collected an amazing 10,178 pieces of trash as part of the National Wildlife Federation’s EcoSchools U.S. program and the Clean Earth Challenge.

The Eich Middle School effort was led by sixth grade math and science teacher, Nicole Valencia who learned about EcoSchools U.S. and applied this year. The program offers certification for elementary through secondary schools with an award-winning curriculum-linked framework that supports school communities and helps nurture and celebrate environmental learning, excellence, and climate action.

Nicole notes that being a part of the EcoSchools U.S. program is the right thing to do and especially important because their community in Roseville is flanked by two creeks which are designated salmon habitat—Linda Creek and Cirby Creek—and it is vital to pick up the trash before it gets into the creeks.

The cleanups were held over a four-day period when kids were taking state tests and seated for long periods. During testing breaks, the kids went outdoors to get moving and do something positive by collecting litter around their school. Smart move, teachers!

During the cleanups, most of the trash found consisted of food wrappers and other litter. The county uses the “One Big Bin” waste system so all items (recyclable or not) go in the same can and are manually separated out at the city facility.

The kids loved the experience and have asked to do it again! (At first the teachers thought the middle-schoolers would be “too cool” to participate but they were really into it.)  Next year, Eich Middle School plans to have an “Adopt a Spot” system like the “Adopt a Highway” model. Each first period class will be assigned a specific part of the school to oversee for the entire school year and classes will go out frequently to collect trash.

Way to go students and teachers at Eich Middle School! Thank you for your dedication and spirit in helping to keep your school and the surrounding environment clean. Well done!

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