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Environmental learning day

Updated: Wednesday, 22 Sep 2010, 3:16 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 17 Sep 2010, 3:18 PM EDT

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (Mass Appeal) – Getting students outside can be harder than it might seem, with the allure of video games and movies. But one local organization is not only getting kids outside, but teaching them about the environment at the same time.

Groundwork Springfield is part of a national network of Groundwork USA and their mission is to bring about the sustained regeneration of our environment and to teach local stewardship of our parks and our green spaces to our young people and all other members of the Springfield community.

Patricia Moss, Project Manager from Groundwork Springfield is with us, along with Setta McCabe and Anand Gilberta Rivera, who are both members of the steering committee and all are here to tell us more about Groundwork Springfield.

They have weekly meetings with our young people at the Springfield Central Library, every Thursday at 3:00. They hold community forums, workshops and information at different locations that are connected with their partners such as Springfield Technical Community College. They also work with Springfield Parks and the Recreation Department and meet at their locations as well.

I think it’s important because when our youth goes to the park and if the park is dirty — and I know because I’ve been there. The kids immediately ask me, why is the park so dirty? Or why is the grass not green? And this and that. And why are we playing here? So, that’s why I hooked up with Groundwork, not only through the parks department, but as a volunteer. I want to make sure that the parks that we do go play in are nice and clean and the grass is green, etc.

There is a program called The More Kids In The Woods program and its purpose is to give children an opportunity to go out and explore our natural environment and learn about our natural habitats and species of plants and animals that are there in order for them to take that information to their peers.

The More Kids In The Woods grant was an alliance grant with Groundwork Lawrence and Groundwork Somerville. We’ll be hosting Lawrence and Somerville to teach our kids about the history of Somerville and the species of plants and animals there and the opportunity to have some fun in the outdoors.

The workshops that we provide for our young people helps to build their self-esteem, teaches them public speaking and also teaches them to own their neighborhoods, their community and be responsible for their environment.