Senior Amanda Lemmeyer has always admired the Earth. As a young child, she liked to get her hands dirty and explore the woods while others were inside staring at their video games.
Wanting to learn more about the world she was always immersed in, along with the appeal of not being stuck inside all day, Amanda applied for Goodwillie Environmental School. With that, she ended up receiving a letter that read “Congratulations” at the top.
Through her experience at Goodwillie, Amanda’s love for nature only grew.
“Goodwillie helped me learn a lot about nature and how important it is,” Amanda said, “and I feel like having a better understanding of the environment and [the] nature around us can make [us] care about it more.”
As Amanda’s days grow busier and technology grows more addictive and advanced, she still finds the time to feel the fresh air outside.
Now that she is older, Amanda recognizes that this fresh air is growing more polluted every day and wanted to do something about it.
Taking these small steps, Amanda focuses on making sure to shop small and looks at the background of the brands and stores she buys from in order to reduce the depth of her footprint on the Earth.
“The planet is the only thing we have,” Amanda said, “and we don’t have anything without it, so any small thing you can do to help the Earth will make an impact. Even if you think, Oh I’m just one person; I can’t make an impact by myself, you can [make a difference]. Everything that someone does will help.”
Another way to help the environment is by reducing meat consumption and plastic use, which are both very familiar to FHC alumna Ally Brown.
“It’s important to give back as much as you’re taking,” Ally said. “I also think having environments to explore and be out in nature is really important [for] mental health and well-being, so I think preserving the environment has a lot of benefits.”
Ally has also loved the environment since she was a young child, and since she wants to be able to still have an Earth to adventure when she is old, she sees the importance of giving back to the Earth.
Earth Day is one she appreciates as it reminds people of this necessity.
“Earth Day is a great reminder to everyone that we should be celebrating the earth,” Ally said. “I think that sometimes we forget—especially after a winter of being cooped up inside—that it’s important to go out and explore and take care of your local environments.”
AP Environmental Science (APES) teacher Chad Scholten also sees the necessity of helping the environment and informing others of the environment’s problems as he knows the horrible state it is in.
“As we learn the beauty of the environment,” Scholten said, “we’re also learning how we’ve kind of disrupted [it], maybe destroyed it, definitely degraded it, and the choices that we make going forward can maybe help to restore that, and kind of fix some of the wrongs that we’ve done in our past.”
In APES, the students learn about how humans have weakened the planet in the past, but they also learn about what they can do to take steps toward revival—just as Ally and Amanda continue to work towards.
“By teaching those students that I have—those 60 students—if they’re also making [environmentally friendly] decisions, well that’s 60 times [the] improvements on any one choice my family and I can make,” Scholten said, “so I do kind of take that to heart, and I kind of carry that with a little bit of pride; hey if I can get students to buy into this mindset, if I get students to realize this is the best for them and their futures, that is obviously a goal of mine as their teacher for the environmental class.”
Scholten has many tactics in working towards a better Earth: using LED lights, planting a garden, having efficient insulators, driving a hybrid car, and being conscious about where his food comes from and the impact it has on the Earth.
With all he does and all he knows about the state of the Earth, Scholten agrees that Earth Day is important, but he knows there needs to be a greater effort made than just one day.
“It’s kind of like Mother’s Day,” Scholten said. “I mean we obviously love our mothers and care about our mothers other than just on Mother’s Day, and yes I do appreciate having Earth Day and our Mother Earth and appreciating that on a single day, but then for people to only focus on Earth Day, you know, that’s where obviously we need to expand our care for the earth.”