When it comes to the environment and protecting and preserving the world we all live in these teenagers aren’t playing games.
Huntington High School’s environmental club has quickly become a juggernaut as its members strive to make a difference in what’s sometimes seen as an uphill fight to protect an increasingly fragile planet.
Led by co-presidents Noah Morris and Rachel Roday, the club’s executive board includes Rachel Moss (recording secretary), Neil Jean-Baptiste (corresponding secretary), Katarina Obermaier (treasurer), Katherine Kitzen (social media) and Lauren White (historian). Science teacher Gina Carone is the club’s faculty advisor.
Club members mobilized in a special way last week for Earth Day. The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970 when about 20 million people across the United States participated in environmental teach-ins and related activities. It is estimated that more than a billion people in nearly 200 countries celebrated Earth Day in their respective communities by doing their part to help save the increasingly fragile environment.
“Throughout the week leading up to Earth Day, all I wanted to do was educate people about the earth,” Ms. Roday said. “Humans are harming our planet at a disastrous level. If the environmental club can somehow make a small difference in our community and inspire others to change their ways, then why not? It’s time we start giving back to our planet rather than taking from it. I think this year’s Earth Day event was a huge success. Seeing our t-shirts on peers who I’ve never met before was exciting. It means that we really are making a difference, no matter how small. Even though I am graduating, I can’t wait for next year’s Earth Day to see what Noah and Mrs. Carone do. I’m so proud of this club!”
Club members took to the high school’s public address system each morning and announced an “environmental fact” to generate interest. They also used their Instagram account @environmenthhs to advance their cause.
“We were just trying to generate some interest and overall awareness for Earth Day and get everyone excited to give back to the earth,” Ms. Roday said. “Part of the biggest problem with the relationship between humans and the earth is the unknowingness. People don’t understand how bad it really is. Our facts weren’t meant to scare our peers, but make them realize ‘hey, our earth is in trouble. Maybe this Saturday I should try a little harder to be green and conscientious about how many actions affect the plane.’”
The club distributed Earth Day t-shirts and sold a pile extra ones it had ordered. “We sold all 165 shirts that we ordered and gained a nice profit for the club,” Ms. Roday said. “This money will he used to landscape the courtyard at the high school and plant a tree with a plaque in Eli Mollineaux’s honor. We really just want to give back to our community by making the environment a healthier place.”
Club officers distributed over 900 ribbons to students and faculty on Friday. “These ribbons were used to stimulate awareness for Earth Day,” Ms. Roday said.
Those who had purchased a t-shirt were encouraged to wear it to school on Friday. A bake sale followed the last period of the day. Items included Earth colored and shaped cookies and cupcakes. The revenue generated from the sale will help in the courtyard planting efforts.
Earth Day was celebrated across the country and world on Saturday and Huntington High School’s environmental club was ready for it. Members and Mrs. Carone went to Heckscher Park for a tree planting extravaganza. Still other club members marched in Washington DC and Manhattan to promote awareness for science and climate change.
“The overwhelming support for this new club can be seen everywhere I look,” Mr. Morris said. “The hundreds of green Earth Day shirts that I saw on the Friday before Earth Day as well as the great turnout at the Huntington Arbor Day event proves the importance of this club to the students of this school. What the environmental club lacks in age, we make up for in participation and enthusiasm. I couldn’t be more proud of the members of this club and their support to make a change to the environment. Their efforts will be seen on a global level.”
It’s been a banner year for the new club, which has taken root in the building. “I am very proud of the environmental club members and Huntington High School’s students,” Mrs. Carone said. “It has been an incredible year thus far and I look forward to continuing to make our community a bit greener.”