Trash or Treasure

April 21, 2011 (final “Garden Harvest” event is April 22, from 11:30-12:00)
Pacifc Beach Middle: An International Baccalaureate World School
4676 Ingraham St. San Diego, CA 92109
Contact: Jennifer Sims, 8-2pm M-F 858.273.9070x2357, or email:

Trash or Treasure? Piles of Trash Provide a Valuable Lesson at PB Middle School

Inspiring IB students to take care of the earth, Pacific Beach Middle School's IB Ecology Club organized a number of lunchtime activities leading up to Earth Day. The entire campus placed their lunch-time trash on a huge tarp. “It was so gross that I felt sick to my stomach,” claimed Kathryn Johnson an active member of the newly formed Ecology Club.

The purpose was to expose the students to how much trash is generated in one lunch period at our school. “We had a huge crowd as students ran to contribute their trash and left-over food. You could see it on their faces as their excitement quickly turned to disgust then to concern,” reported Leslie Chadwick, Science teacher and Co-Advisor to the Eco-Club.

After gathering the trash, student volunteers from Science and Design Technology classes donned rubber gloves to start investigating. Sorting the trash into piles: compost, recyclables, and trash, became an eye-opening and powerful experience.

Kathryn continues, “I couldn’t believe how much trash we had on the tarp and we only collected probably half of what was actually tossed that day. There was also a movie playing all week at lunch teaching us about global warming and students signed a huge 50 foot pledge to reduce, reuse, refuse, and recycle our natural resources. It was really fun to connect our learning to the environmental issues and help us reflect on how our actions here affect the outside world. It’s funny, we always think we do a good job saving our environment because we recycle paper all around campus but we never realize how much we still throw away,”

Students were heard saying, "I cannot believe how much food is wasted everyday and if we grow more on campus rather than bring packaged, processed food, we can really make a difference in keeping our Earth healthy,” said a 6th grade student. "The Earth Week activities were really fun but it's really gave me something to think about, because we make that much trash everyday for the whole year." Another student was overhead summing up the week…"we need to find something to use besides foam noodle cups!"

To top off Earth Week we harvested our PB Middle Waves of Green Student Garden. Students picked enough lettuce, peas, broccoli and beets to make salads for everyone to sample our fresh, organic “bounty at the beach.” The Ecology club has also started composting to keep the garden growing and have started a recycling program.

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