In honor of Earth Day, Northeast Michigan youth participate in the Northeast Michigan Earth Day Bag Project. This project allows students to learn more and raise awareness about the dangers of single-use plastics, like plastic bags, for our Great Lakes and ocean. This project idea originated from the Earth Day Groceries Project, a world-wide activity coordinated online to develop educational activities on Earth Day.
Working in partnership with the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative, its community partners, and local grocery stores, students decorate paper bags to convey messages regarding conservation and preservation following a discussion about the dangers of using plastic bags. These paper bags will then be distributed to customers on Earth Day, April 22nd.
The students’ campaign aims to lower the use of plastic bags, which have harmful environmental consequences, and to advocate the use of reusable bags. Single-use plastics, like plastic bags, are especially dangerous since they can enter into the ecosystem and break down into microplastics. Microplastics are small pieces of plastic that can absorb pollutants. Confused as food, they are commonly consumed by fish and birds; this consumption can ultimately lead to the animal’s death.
This simple learning project allows students the opportunity to provide a great environmental service as well as the ability to take an active role in making a positive contribution to their community. Support these students in this community effort to keep the Great Lakes plastic-free by using reusable bags and refusing to single use!
Led by local teachers, 3rd, 4th and 5th graders in Alpena Public Schools learned about the impact of marine debris and connected these messages with their community. Students from Besser Elementary, Hinks Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, Sanborn Elementary, and Wilson Elementary all participated in this project! This year at Ella White Elementary, a 5th grade class led this project with 1st-5th graders throughout the school. Working in partnership with Neiman's Family Market, over 1,000 Alpena students decorated paper grocery bags to educate their community about the impact of plastic pollution and the importance of reducing our use of disposable plastics.
In addition to Alpena Public Schools, All Saints 6th, 7th and 8th graders informed their school how plastic impacts our Great Lakes, and following this lesson, 4th and 5th graders decorated these bags to raise awareness about the dangers of plastic bags for our Great Lakes. The Boys and Girls club of Alpena also visited the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and participated in the lesson and decorating paper bags.
As part of their Environmental Service Learning Class, two Onaway High School students educated students from the Elementary School about the impact of plastic pollution and marine debris. 4th and 5th grade students then decorated paper grocery bags to raise community awareness about these issues. Working in partnership with Tom's Family Market in Onaway, 120 student-decorated bags were distributed to customers on Earth Day.
Oscoda High School Biology students explained how plastic impacts marine environments at Richardson Elementary. 4th graders then decorated paper grocery bags to raise awareness about the dangers of plastic bags for our Great Lakes. Working in partnership with Roger's Family Foods and ACE Hardware, 130 student-decorated bags will be distributed to customers to raise awareness about the impact of marine debris and what we can do to help!
Rogers City Middle Schoolers visited with 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th graders from Roger’s City Elementary to explain the negative impacts of plastic in our Great Lakes ecosystem. The elementary students then decorated paper grocery bags to raise awareness about the dangers of plastic in our Great Lakes. Partnering with Save-A-Lot and Family Fare, 170 student-decorated bags at these locations and available to customers to raise awareness about this growing issue.
Led by a Huron Pines AmeriCorps member serving with Huron Pines, Kindergarten through 6th graders at Vanderbilt schools learned about the harmful impacts that single-use plastics can have on our Great Lakes and ocean. To encourage their community to use reusable bags rather than plastic bags the students decorated paper bags with messages of conservation. Partnering with The Village Market, these student-decorated bags will be available to customers encouraging them to refuse single-use plastics.
Be sure to participate in this event! Stop by your local grocery and grab a student-decorated paper bag and spread the word. #RefuseToSingleUse