Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Congrats to Apopka Elementary students!
ORLANDO –The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) joined The Walt Disney Company to honor this year’s winners of Disney’s Environmentality™ Challenge. Fifth grade students from Mr. Scott Ralph’s class at Apopka Elementary School in Apopka were honored as the 2009 statewide Environmentality™ Challenge winners during a ceremony earlier this month at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. “DEP is proud of our partnership with The Walt Disney Company to promote the annual Environmentality™ Challenge,” said DEP Central District Director Vivian Garfein. “This challenge is an interactive learning tool designed to help students educate themselves and others about what they can do to ensure a healthier environment.” The statewide challenge, conducted annually by Walt Disney World and DEP, encourages fifth graders to actively participate in the protection of their local environment by completing and documenting an environmental project in their school or community. Each year, state fifth graders are invited to take the challenge. To date more than 130,000 students have participated in Disney’s Environmentality™ Challenge. More than 78,000 students have pledged to help protect their environment and more than 24,000 students have completed a community or schoolyard environmental project. This year’s statewide winners educated fellow students and the Apopka community about recycling through their project, “Mission: Eliminate Plastic Bags.” Mr. Ralph’s class researched the effect plastic bags have on the environment, and set out to collect plastic bags from their community for recycling. The students raised funds to purchase reusable shopping bags to help spread the word about alternatives to plastic bags. The students also presented their project to the Apopka City Council, and distributed reusable shopping bags to each council member. In addition, the class designed packages to send to other fifth grade classes in the area in order to teach local schools about the negative impact of plastic bags. The class has supplied more than 800 reusable shopping bags to the Apopka community since the project started. “Our students provided solutions to a problem and gave people an alternative that was both easy to accomplish and useful in the long term,” said Mr. Ralph. “That’s really the strongest part of the project.” The state champion, in addition to five regional winners, was chosen from among 36 submissions from Florida fifth graders. For more information on Disney’s Environmentality™ Challenge and how to participate in next year’s program, visit http://www.dep.state.fl.us/secretary/ed/, or www.deckids.org.
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