Keep Rockland Beautiful’s first Earth B.E.A.T. event of the spring season takes place on Tuesday afternoon. The B.E.A.T or Basic Environmental Awareness Training brings together 90 seventh and eight grade students from Jewish religious school programs in the county at the JCC Rockland. The program has been organized for Tu B’shvat, the Jewish holiday also called "New Year of the Trees.”
During Earth B.E.A.T., students will enjoy nature and increase their ecological awareness by rotating rotate through three interactive “Eco-Stations” that will teach about local species and habitats, waste reduction, and resource conservation. Each 25-minute activity also gives them simple steps they can follow in their own homes and communities to help protect the environment.
The Enviroscape Eco-Station includes a tabletop model of a watershed. Using spray bottles filled with colored water will help students understand how human activity and runoff affect waterways. In the Garbage Relay activity students will race to deposit garbage into the correct recycling receptacles and discuss the benefits of waste reduction.
The Nature Bingo Eco-Station will feature an illustrated game to familiarize participants with local species. At the Carrying Capacity station, students will circle around a shrinking tarp representing the earth’s finite natural resources. As they suggest steps to conserve and preserve natural resources, the tarp will be unfolded.
According to Keep Rockland Beautiful Executive Director Sonia Cairo, organizers, the purpose of Earth B.E.A.T. is to inspire students, teachers and parents to take steps to protect their community, the health of the environment and building a sustainable future. The First Niagara Bank Foundation is funding this program.
Since 2006, Keep Rockland Beautiful has coordinated 65 Earth B.E.A.T. events in 30 different schools throughout Rockland’s eight school districts. Each year, about 5,000 elementary and middle school students, and 200 teachers and PTA volunteers engage in a day of hands-on learning to encourage environmental stewardship.
The program made an impression on past participants.
A third grade student at Evan Park Elementary School in Pearl River said, “I liked all of the stations because they made helping the earth…FUN!”
A parent with a student at Link Elementary School in New City said, “My daughter came home and talked a blue streak about ecology and all she had learned at Earth B.E.A.T.”