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Third-graders Bailey Monzon-Gomez, left, and Sophia Aguilar and fourth-grader John Fugate, get an up-close look at a snake April 29 during the monthly Green Club meeting at Blumfield Elementary.

In hopes of protecting the environment, a Ralston teacher is sharing her love of the Earth with her students.

This year, Laura Blumenthal, a third grade teacher at Blumfield Elementary, started a Green Club to show her students the importance of the environment.

“It’s always been something I loved,” Blumenthal said.

The club, aimed to promote awareness and spark appreciation for nature, gives children a chance to get an up-close look at the world around them, Blumenthal said.

Meetings, which take place from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. the last Monday of each month, regularly feature guest speakers including those from Fontenelle Forest, Papio Missouri River Natural Resources District and Nebraska Forest Service.

Sometimes, the speakers bring live animals to show students.

“It’s neat to have those wild animals come into the school buildings. Getting up close and seeing those animals is cool for me, too,” Blumenthal said. “A lot of these kids have never gotten up close to a snake.”

Blumenthal said the club, which has 30 members, is open to third- through fifth-graders because she wanted to offer a special activity to younger students.

“Sixth grade has so many fun activities they get to do which make them stand out and special,” she said. “I tried to find something for the younger kids they could do.”

Club members also help out at the school by picking up trash around the playground.

They have even helped those in need.

Earlier this year, the club helped a local nonprofit that collects and crochets plastic bags. Students sorted, flattened and cut previously donated bags and gave them to volunteers who crocheted them together for the homeless.

“That was a really great discussion about recycling as well as actually helping the community,” Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal is an avid recycler, she said, and through this club, she hopes to teach her students good habits.

“I’m definitely strict about recycling,” she said. “There’s nothing that goes in the trash can that can’t be recycled.”

Loving and respecting the environment is important, Blumenthal said, and she is excited to get her students involved.

“I really hope I’m instilling a love for the environment and just letting them know that even as a child, you can still make a difference and make the world a better place,” she said.

Email: ashley.quintela@bellevueleader.com Phone: 402-537-4849

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