Ballard digs in for Earth DayPublished 5:38pm Thursday, April 19, 2012
Ballard Elementary fourth-graders Harley Dunn and Emily Allen struggled to carry a bucket full of landscaping rocks up the side of a small hill.
They’d pick it up together, walk a few feet and set it down. Then they’d pick it up again and walk a few more feet. By the time they reached their destination — an area of landscaping in front of Ballard Elementary — they needed a break.
To most people it looked like hard work. Dunn and Allen called it fun.
“We love helping the environment,” Allen said. “It’s all dirty out here, and we want to make it pretty.”
Allen and Dunn were among hundreds of Ballard students participating in the school’s Earth Day project Thursday.
Indiana Michigan Power’s Cook Nuclear Plant partnered with Second Nature Gardens, of St. Joseph, to donate four hemlock trees to Ballard. A few tons of landscaping rocks and three large boulders were also donated to help improve the aesthetics of the Niles school.
Parents and staff worked this past week to remove the old bushes that used to be in front of the building, making way for the new trees, boulders and bushes.
On Thursday, students worked in shifts to help plant the tress and apply the landscaping rocks.
“It is just one of those goose-bump moments. The kids are having so much fun, asking ‘can we do this every day?’” said Darla Schneider, Ballard Parent/Teacher Organization president. “They are working together as a team and, hopefully, taking pride in what the outcome is going to be.”
In observance of Earth Day — April 22 — teachers went paperless Thursday. Students were also asked to bring in items to recycle.
Indiana Michigan Power has been donating trees to area schools since 2001 in observance of Earth Day. Dave Lefor, of Indiana Michigan Power, said it is a good way for the company to connect with the community and get students involved in conservation efforts.