An Intern’s Experience in Environmental Leadership

*STUDENT BLOG*

I joined Druids at the beginning of my sophomore year, hoping to become more involved with my school’s community. When I could, I attended after school native garden labs on campus, and I felt more and more connected with the Earth as I learned to nurture our local environment by working with and learning about native plants.

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Druids teaching local elementary students about Native American survival in the Native Garden. At this station, they learn how to use friction and sticks to make fire.

I also attended the Druid’s weekly on-campus recycling, and learned that the Druids club alone was responsible for separating recyclables from trash and ensuring that we had a recyclable program at all. Druids do on-campus recycling weekly. The image below is only about half of that week’s bottles and cans in the pile. Several more loads of the same size are separated into aluminum and plastic and taken to the recycling center.

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Prior to the Druids taking on weekly recycling, the Environmental Leadership and Action class did the recycling on campus for class credit, among other parts of their curriculum. They learned how to cook healthy foods from the food garden at school. They also succeeded in petitioning for a tree sound wall next to the freeway that now blocks the freeway from San Lorenzo High’s campus.  Three years ago, the ELA class was discontinued due to lack of promotion and financial support, leaving the task of ensuring recyclables were actually recycled to the Druids.

I saw that a lot of people joined Druids in order to gain community service hours, but left with a better understanding of the natural world, a better understanding of how to be caretakers of the environment, and an appreciation of the Earth.

I was invited to be a part of the Druids board my junior year, which encouraged me to fight for the promotion of environmental justice through education by bringing back the ELA class. After collecting fifty-plus signatures on a petition to restart the class, I was told by administration that there was no budget for the class and that for the district, it wasn’t a priority.

This is why Earth Team is so important to me. It’s a way of learning how getting involved locally can have an impact that is potentially global. It’s because of Earth Team that I will not stop working towards environmental justice in our community and for our world. In the future I believe that the Environmental Leadership and Action class will be an option for San Lorenzo High students. Until then, I am proud to be a part of environmental organizations such as Druids and Earth Team that strive to keep the movement for sustainability going and give me hope for our future.

– Aubury Freed, San Lorenzo High Intern

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