Friday, September 7, 2012
Seventh-grade teacher Lisa Raddock and her students at Fort LeBouef Middle School learned about pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) at an Earth Action Youth Training Day and decided that people need to know more about this important topic. They did such a good job at sharing what they had learned that Ms. Raddock was selected as one of three teachers in the Great Lakes region to win a Sea Grant PPCP Stewardship Award.
First, the students from Waterford, Pennsylvania researched the subject of PPCPs using resources provided by Marti Martz and Anna McCartney from Pennsylvania Sea Grant. The newspaper insert "It's what you can't see..." (PDF) helped them learn more about PPCP stewardship. Next, the students spent a month developing projects to teach other students and community members how they can help keep medicine and personal care products out of the water. The students decided to write short stories, which they shared at the annual Fort LeBoeuf Middle School Earth Day Symposium. Students, parents and community members read the stories and learned more about what they could do to protect their health and the health of the environment.
Casey Corritore wrote The Mighty Thor Loves the Earth! She defines PPCPs for her readers and explains that "some mortals flush the pills down the toilet and it effects the environment." The story's villain is a bottle of pharmaceuticals. Her story includes details like "many natural things can replace medications, and at the same time, keep you healthy and fit." Thor uses "good" things like a carrot and a shoe to beat the enemy. The pharmaceutical bottle cannot thrive with healthy foods and exercise. The last message to readers is to, "Remember to drink water and exercise to keep yourself healthy!"
Lauren Fadden wrote Shampooing on the Town, which teaches her readers how to find safer personal care products. Her main character, Shampoo Dude, is outraged by people using dangerous personal care products and harming fish in local waterways. Shampoo Dude and his friends start a store that only sells safer personal care products.
Ashley Kestle wrote Super Indy and the Battle of the PCPs, which features her dog Indy. As Indy goes into the bathroom, voices call for help. The voices are those of good personal care products asking to be saved because bad personal care products are taking over the bathroom. Super Indy saves the bathroom by eliminating the bad PCPs.
Emily Pacileo wrote The Adventures of Hubert, showing a green pipe cleaner hero teaching children to eat healthy food and exercise because it "makes you feel great." The kids enjoy the healthy snacks and have so much fun playing they don't notice that they are exercising. In the end, Hubert and friend Tony feel "good knowing that they helped the kids learn a valuable lesson."
Additionally a group of nine Fort LeBoeuf Middle School students put together a segment on PPCPS for MegaConference Jr. on May 3, 2012. During the international videoconference the students hosted an hour-long segment titled "Improving the Health of Our Waterways". They selected this topic so they could share problems and solutions of PPCPs with students around the world.
Ms. Raddock received a $100 gift certificate to use for education resources as an award for her classroom's excellence in fostering student engagement and stewardship. The contest, sponsored by Sea Grant Programs in Pennsylvania, Illinois-Indiana, and New York will continue throughout the 2012-13 school year.
The Stewardship Project Contest PDF provides more details about how you and your students can participate.