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How Long Island kids celebrate Earth Day

Yichen Song, 11, of Arrowhead Elementary in East

Yichen Song, 11, of Arrowhead Elementary in East Setauket, plants a tree. (April 8, 2011) Photo Credit: Handout

Friday is Earth Day, and students across Long Island have been working on projects that involve their communities in taking care of the planet. Here is a sampling of what's going on to honor Mother Earth, from a school district's sponsoring a collection of recyclable electronic projects to second graders decorating paper grocery bags to remind shoppers of the importance of being environmentally conscious:

Saving the American Chestnut Tree

Arrowhead Elementary School, East Setauket

The public won't benefit from this project immediately -- but the hope is that all Long Island will in the future, says Brigit DiPrimo, the teacher whose fifth-grade students came up with the idea of trying to repopulate the American chestnut tree here. Apparently only two are left on the Island, DiPrimo says, after a blight in the 1950s. Scientists are working on resistant seeds, and the American Chestnut Foundation donated 20 to DiPrimo's class in October. The students tended to them in a pop-up greenhouse and this month planted four saplings on the school grounds.

Second Annual Spring e-Waste Event

Drop-off 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., May 2-6

Newfield High School

145 Marshall Dr., Selden

631-285-8300

The Middle Country School district is collecting outdated, unwanted, used or broken electronic equipment from the public. The district did a roundup last spring and a winter roundup in January. "When we did it in January, we got over three tons of waste. It was amazing," says Arlene Mordente of the district's Business Advisory Board. Items accepted include cellphones, TVs, VCRs, DVD players, pagers, camcorders, projectors, radios/stereos, answering machines, fax machines, copiers, calculators, electronic typewriters, laptops, printers, scanners, routers, modems, cables, power supplies, backup batteries, electronic handheld toys, CD ROMS or circuit boards.

Students Working for Enhanced Environmental Protection (SWEEP)

11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 30 (rain date May 1)

Earth Day Festival, Gillette Park, downtown Sayville

Members of the Sayville High School "SWEEP" club will run a free book swap. "The public library has collected books throughout the year," says club adviser Sonja Anderson. "People can drop some off at the table; they can take." The students also will lead craft activities for children, including making a "living sculpture" from moss and wood chips or a bird feeder from recycled bottles or pine cones with peanut butter. "We also have trees to give out that people can plant outside their house. We put them in little cups of soil," says club president Gabrielle Pacia, 17, a junior at Sayville high.

Paper Bag Art

Vanderbilt Elementary School, Dix Hills

In conjunction with Waldbaum's supermarket, Route 110, Melville

Pupils in the four second-grade classrooms pulled out crayons and markers to decorate 100 paper shopping bags with pictures and slogans for Earth Day. "We Love Our Earth" and "Happy Earth Day" are combined with their pictures of the globe, flowers, trees and more. The bags are returned to Waldbaum's and used when customers buy groceries, spreading the message. "Hopefully they'll reuse the bag and not just dump it," says second-grade teacher Andrea Marcus.

 

Other ways to mark Earth Day

 

* Earth-Fest, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 30 and May 1 at the Center for Science and Learning, Tanglewood Preserve, 1 Tanglewood Rd., Rockville Centre; $7 a person, free for ages 2 and younger; 516-764-0045; cstl.org: Family activities include nature hikes, live animals shoes, recycling games, music, and more.

* "Arthur," 3 p.m. Friday on PBS KIDS GO!: "Buster Baxter and the Letter From the Sea" is a new episode with an Earth Day Message.

* "The Adventures of George Global: The Lakeside Lather" (CreateSpace, $6.95): George is a rotund, Earth-shaped superhero determined to enlist kids in saving the world from pollution, oil spills and more. He was created by Garden City resident John Magno and Peter Gorin, and the book was written by Gorin. For more information, see georgeglobal.net.

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