By Jessica Seay, City Year Baton Rouge AmeriCorps member proudly serving on the New Schools for Baton Rouge team at Merrydale Elementary School

Every day is Earth Day at Dale in the Garden (DIG) Club, the afterschool garden program at Merrydale Elementary School. These 2nd- through 5th- graders have been meeting on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons all year where they tend the garden and learn about healthy foods that they can grow themselves! These students also recently embarked on the arduous task of digging a hole to China as part of their lesson on soil layers.

In celebration of Earth Day, the members of DIG created a painting depicting what they think makes the Earth beautiful. The students filled a page with flowers, rays of sunshine, rainbows and streaks of blues, greens and yellows. They also discussed some of the ways they can keep Earth beautiful. Their ideas ranged from recycling to planting more plants, to walking more instead of driving everywhere. Calvin*, a 5th-grader, said he is planning on celebrating Earth Day by going to pick up litter with his mom on Sunday.

The members of DIG are working now to learn about the Earth and develop an appreciation for its beauty. Their outdoor lessons in elementary school will hopefully cultivate a love of the outdoors as they grow. What starts today as an appreciation for sunshine, flowers and digging in the dirt could someday turn into a school-wide recycling project or a day dedicated to cleaning their community as these students gain their voice and become leaders.

Happy Earth Day from City Year Baton Rouge and Merrydale Elementary School! Take some time to notice and appreciate the beauty of the flowers, the sunshine and the streaks of blue and green.


*Name has been changed to protect the student's privacy

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