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How Collierville teachers are preparing the next generation to care for our planet

Collierville teachers prepare our students to do many things. From college prep to career training, the students of Collierville Schools are equipped with the knowledge necessary to go forward successfully. This month, we celebrate Earth Day, and CEF is especially proud to help Collierville Schools' teachers prepare the next generation to take care of our planet. Here are a few of the many ways students are learning about the world around them thanks to CEF grants and the wonderful educators of Collierville Schools.

Collierville High School teacher Courtney Gillespie thought students and teachers should be able to recycle their plastic and paper trash to reduce pollution and lower energy consumption. So, she requested a CEF grant to institute a schoolwide recycling program. Ms. Gillespie and her students placed recycling bins, purchased through CEF grant funds, at all high-traffic areas of the school. Students now receive service hours by gathering all the recyclable materials once a week and putting them in the recycling bin provided by the city. Ms. Gillespie wanted to help her students start eco-friendly habits, and we think she’s off to a great start!

Speaking of recycling, Jennifer Harrants of Collierville High School wanted to show her students materials that weren’t only recyclable, but reusable. Making something like jewelry can get expensive once you factor in the cost of 3D materials; however, Ms. Harrants knew there was a better way. Using her CEF grant, she taught her students how to express themselves through jewelry making with recycled materials. The jewelry pieces, made of paper and recycled clay, have allowed her students to not only make something beautiful, but understand the benefits of reusing materials and reducing waste.

Crosswinds Elementary School teacher Lisa McGee is teaching her students how to care for our planet by highlighting the importance of an insect in danger of extinction – bees. Ms. McGee leads the school’s environmental club, and is passionate about educating students on the impact of bees on the environment. Ms. McGee plans to use her CEF grant money to fund beekeeper visits to Crosswinds Elementary, where they will do presentations using observation hives. These funds will also go toward the purchase of several handbooks and posters detailing the insects and their hives.

Appreciating Earth leads people to take responsibility for their well-being. Bailey Station Elementary School teacher Scarlett Marsh used her CEF grant funds to buy a garden for beautiful, monarch butterflies. Ms. Marsh wants this garden to help our environment but also help her students find joy in discovering something as beautiful as monarch butterflies. Thanks to CEF, the students of Bailey Station Elementary will be able to see firsthand how their time, hard work and dedication can impact our planet.

Thank you, Collierville teachers, for educating our community’s students on not only traditional schoolwork, but on how to be a productive, helpful member of our society and our planet.


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