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OMS Earth Fair has lasting effects on the community

April 27, 2016


Arlington Heights, IL – Earth Day has come and gone, but the energy of that day lives on at Olive-Mary Stitt Elementary and within the Olive-Mary Stitt community.

Last Wednesday, April 20, a year of learning and preparation by the OMS Ecology Club came to life in the form of an Earth Fair. This 90-minute evening event hosted seven outside entities and businesses from around Arlington Heights, and over 60 community volunteers, all hoping to bring some knowledge and awareness for our planet, Earth.

“The goal of the OMS Earth Fair is to show our children and community that it is their responsibility to keep the Earth clean and green,” OMS Ecology Club co-chair Judi Schuch said. “Our Earth Fair is a great way to really come together as a community and show off our passion for our planet.”

With the support of District 25’s Administration and the Olive-Mary Stitt PTA, Schuch and fellow OMS parent, Zhaneta Roura co-run the OMS Ecology Club. The 18-student club meets the first Friday of every month after school to learn as much as they can about taking care of Earth’s environment.

Schuch and Roura create curriculum highlighting a different topic or lesson each month that opens the student’s eyes to the effects of waste and pollution and practices of keeping Earth clean, starting in their hometown of Arlington Heights.

Outside speakers and presenters like Groot, SWANCC, the EPA and Spring Valley Nature Center have spoken to the OMS Ecology Club to show them the proper ways to recycle and to talk about conservation of utilities.

“We try to engage the students with hands on experiences,” Schuch said.

One Friday, for example, Schuch and Roura showed the students how much water is actually wasted when leaving the faucet running while brushing their teeth. Everyone was given a cup and told to not allow any water down the drain by collecting it and dumping it into a bucket while the faucet ran for two minutes straight.

“By the end of it we had a giant bucket, almost filled to the brim with water,” Schuch recalled. “That was a fun experience for the kids.”

The Earth Fair last week was a yearly culmination of all the research, information, and passion that the OMS students have for their planet, on display for the community to see and engage in. Local community businesses and organizations such as the local Home Depot, the Arlington Heights True Value,  the Davey Tree Company, the Arlington Heights Village Health Department and Public Works, and the Arlington Heights Memorial Library all participated in the evening with booths, displays, contests and hands on experiences for the students and community members.

The Olive-Mary Stitt gym was buzzing as students participated in games, recycling slam dunk and recycling bottle ring toss, art projects, face painting and tattoos, and sharing and recycling their OMS spirit wear. Some specific stations taught students how to transform trash to treasure, as directed by OMS art teacher Fred DeMarco, OMS gym teacher Del Pusateri and several helpful parents.

“We are so thankful for the support our community shows every year for the OMS Earth Fair,” Schuch said. “The businesses always send great representatives with engaging information and competitions. We are so grateful for the Arlington Heights Village and Library as well. It’s an amazing display of Arlington Heights at its best.”

Adam Harris