Yesterday, Earth Day, was a tremendous one for our school and students. During our afternoon ceremony, our third- and fourth-graders got to present their 3-D Legacy of Giving habitat murals to community members from around the city, including National Wildlife Federation, Wild Basin Preserve, Wildflower Center, Spicewood Springs Library, Austin Nature & Science Center, Representative Mark Strama, RRISD Superintendent Jesús Chavez, Texas Education Agency, and Austin Children’s Museum. It was an amazing presentation, and cheers could probably be heard throughout the whole school. The recipients were thrilled, and our students’ habitat murals will get to teach others all over Austin and the state of Texas about creating wildlife habitats at home through the use of native plants!
Also visiting our school were representatives from Texas Parks and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Legacy of Giving, RRISD Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education Beverly Helfinstein and reporters from News 8 Austin and Round Rock Leader. Yes, we were on the news last night!
We have many exciting announcements. First, National Wildlife Federation’s Meg Haenn was on hand to official recognize our school as a Certified Wildlife Habitat, and Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Mark Klym declared our school a Texas Wildscapes Schoolyard Habitat Demonstration Site. This is an important and special honor reserved for places that exhibit habitat restoration and conservation, providing the necessary elements for wildlife and contributing to biodiversity of native animal and plant species. We are proud to have our new signs already on display at our Outdoor Wildlife Lab. Please stop by and see them! And be sure to thank Mrs. Conti, our art teacher for the beautiful painting she did for our Outdoor Wildlife Lab sign, seen above.
We also officially announced that we are proud recipients of two environmental grants. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program has given us a wonderful reimbursement fund of up to $7,500 on money raised and spent toward our environmental goals! In addition, we are thrilled to be Home Depot 2010 Building Healthy Communities grant recipients for $2,500! It means we’ve got to get busy on our next eco projects, including our new rain collection system! We are very grateful to both Partners for Fish and Wildlife and Home Depot for their support of our school’s environmental goals.
If that all wasn’t exciting enough, we were invited to another special event for Earth Day. In the evening, McNeil High School’s Green Club honored several elementary schools for their contributions to energy conservation through the Watt Watchers program. Caraway wasn’t one of the top three, but we did receive an honorable mention for our energy conservation (thank you to Deborah Walker and her Watt Watchers for their hard work at getting us to turn our lights out!), and we received special recognition for our habitat, giving us the very first POWER Environmental Award — Protecting Our World’s Energy and Resources. Thank you so much, McNeil Green Club!
It was an exciting day for our students, without a doubt. The Caraway Earth Day ceremony was tremendously special, and we want to thank all of our dignitaries for spending their afternoon with us. It did rain, bringing our ceremony indoors, but the rain was a gift for our garden on Earth Day. Remember, Every Day Is Earth Day — so reduce, reuse, recycle, conserve water, go native, and go green — every day!