By Tom Korson
RIALTO—In Genesis 1: 28-29, God gives dominion over the Earth to Adam and Eve. Here at St. Catherine of Siena School in Rialto, we take caring for our environment very seriously. Among our School Wide Learning Expectations (SLE’s) is the dictum to be stewards of the environment, to show respect for all forms of life.
As a school, we know how precious this Earth is, and how remarkable a place it is for all of us to live in. The Earth’s astonishing beauty is one of God’s greatest blessings.
Sadly, not all humans accept responsibility for the environment, and this fact drives our commitment to protecting and preserving God’s creation.
Placed in our lunch area are four bins, each for a different purpose. The two black trash cans are for non-recyclable waste. The red recycle box is for empty water bottles and cans, and the brown box is for food that was not eaten during the student lunch period. The food collected is given to our after school care center for snacks. After every lunch period students take turns sweeping up under the lunch arbor, for any food or trash that did not make it into the trash cans, and thereby help maintain a clean and safe environment for all.
For more than a decade the school has maintained a small plot of land with fruit trees and ground crops. Tending the school garden has helped our students appreciate the important role they play in maintaining the Earth.
Caring for the environment permeates the entire school community. Every classroom is equipped with a recycle can so students may deposit those empty water and Gatorade bottles. At the end of each week, the 8th grade goes to each class and empties the recycle bin for the teachers. Besides helping the environment, the recyclables provide a source of additional revenue for the school. The school office and the classrooms have a paper bin, to recycle paper scraps to be used for another time. One of our dumpsters is specifically for paper and plastic waste, and it is routinely filled each week. Teachers and families at St. Catherine also recycle their ink cartridges and batteries, thus keeping toxic substances from local landfills.
Psalm 96: 11-12 states: “Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.”
Toward that end, we dedicate our thoughts and actions.
Tom Korson is the seventh grade homeroom teacher at St. Catherine of Siena School.