Francis Lewis Creates Environmental Awareness

A poster promotes the conservation of clean water to combat the issue of water pollution.

In the hallways of the third floor, students walk to their science-related classes passing by vibrant posters on the walls. Each poster displays photos, drawings, and information all involving one common topic: environmental awareness. The posters hanging on the walls were projects all part of the FLHS Earth Day Awareness Contest, a competition that is a part of the Science Department’s Annual Earth Day Awareness Celebration.

Earth Day was initiated to bring environmental awareness on April 22, 1970 under Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson following the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill. The school’s annual celebration first occurred on April 22, 2016 as an initiative that would include all science classes and electives regardless of their subject. Science AP Ms. Jaipershad wanted a celebration that was about environmental awareness echoing Senator Nelson’s cause.

“This celebration is 100% about creating environmental awareness,” Ms. Jaipershad said. “From things like the poster competition – getting students to enter a competition and create posters or videos or models – they themselves are now aware.

“They’re talking about it with their families because they’re working at home or talking about it with their friends.  That’s creating awareness.”

Students who visited the auditorium on April 21 observed projects made by their peers and themselves. Sophomore Joy Park, who did a project on nuclear energy, saw the celebration as a way to help students prepare for the future.

“The world has been put into a terrible situation in which the people do not realize that their actions have such a detrimental effect on the Earth,” Park said. “I feel that it is necessary for people, especially the young, to be educated about environmental awareness in order to be prepared to deal with problems that would occur in the future.”

Sophomore Nada Eldeeb did her project on global warming and viewed the celebration as essential since her generation “[determines] the future of the Earth.”

“The event opened the eyes of people who felt indifferent about the Earth,” Eldeeb said. “It provided the message that doing something as little as planting a tree is helping the Earth.”

Ms. Jaipershad hopes for the event become bigger every year as this year’s Earth Day Awareness Celebration saw environmental organizations and individuals educate students in their professions for the first time.

“I hope that every year it gets bigger,” Ms. Jaipershad said. “This year, we brought a lot of outside organizations. We had the Humane Society… a beekeeper… [and] solar panel companies… We’ve planted two trees in the courtyard on Earth Day. Every year we’re trying to find new ways to keep it refreshing and make people interested in the effort.”

The efforts performed by the students and the school were well received by environmental organizations. The NY-based Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) appreciates the effort exhibited at the Earth Day Awareness Celebration.

“We broadly support youth environmental awareness and activism to counter climate change,” EDF Member Service Assistant Ryan Eldredge said. “The youth will face  more environmental challenges posed by an ever changing climate. We need high school students such as yourself.  You are the future stewards of our Earth.”

As posters are taken off the walls toward the end of the school year, Ms. Jaipershad hopes for students to take a simple message along with them.

“Throwing your garbage away, recycling your stuff… just these little simple things have a huge impact,” Ms. Jaipershad said. “Everyone has to care and be aware of their impact on daily life on the planet.”