By Ryan Barich, Executive News Editor
Environmental Club has laid dormant for two years after teacher and club sponsor Molly David retired. This year, the Environmental Club is seeing a rebirth thanks to co-leaders Lauren Ellstrand and Sophia Palomo and sponsor Michael Higdon, a first year chemistry and physics teacher.
The new Environmental Club has been dubbed “The Green Team” by its founders in a hope that the new club will attract more members and becomes a staple at the school.
Ellstrand hopes to incorporate aspects of her Lake Michigan charity (a charity entirely devoted to the cleanup of Lake Michigan’s shores) she and her friends started last summer to this returning club.
“This is a club that can be passed down from graduating class to graduating class,” Ellstrand said. “It’s a club that can continue at Prospect forever.”
Higdon shares the same aspirations as Ellstrand as he too is a proponent of environmental protection. Before coming to Prospect he spent time in Iceland studying environmental sustainable energy, a form of energy that could last longer for future generations to use and at the same time prove more beneficial to the environment than fossil fuels according to The Natural Resources Defense Council.
“Environmental protection is the whole reason I went to Iceland in the first place,” Higdon said. “I love everything about it and wanted to help this new club with whatever they needed.”
The club has only had one meeting so far, but they already see a lot of opportunities to help Prospect and the surrounding communities grow a green thumb.
They plan to do that by taking on one long project each semester. Some ideas they are already discussing include facilitating a compost pile for the school, making a recycling education program for elementary schools and reattaching the school’s solar panels.
The group also participates in small, daily projects meant to educate the masses on how recycling is beneficial to the environment around you and they’re going to start putting up posters to motivate a green initiative within the student body.
“We want to show students ways to make recycling fun,” Ellstrand said. “It’s the simple environmentally conscious habits that end up making a difference.”
To help balance out the work the members put in to the club, Higdon plans on adding some fun activities and aspects to the club.
The club already participates in open ended discussions on the state of the environment, but Higdon hopes that in the future he can take the club on extensive nature walks or to visit a state park to go kayaking. There are even talks of making their own tulip garden.
“Making changes and having fun, those are our two big things,” Higdon said. “We might even make some toys out of reusable plastic just to do a fun little craft.”
It is important to remember though that this club is dealing with a very serious topic in our nation. Within the fun activities and the posters, these students hope to create real change in their communities. With activists such as 16 year old Greta Thunberg speaking before the United Nations on the state of our planet and what we’ve failed to accomplish, the voices of teenagers are more important than ever.
“From now on, whatever happens to our environment will directly affect our adulthood, and our kids’ childhoods,” Ellstrand said. “Hearing from teenagers is powerful because it comes from a place of true fear and passion.”