What could be better than doing my yearly A4ED event in the Ariel Sharon Green school?
This Green Elementary School in Hod Hasharon, Israel, is a school dedicated to the environment and aims to educate its students on subjects such as sustainability, recycling and nature preservation.
When Tsvia Hemo, the Green school’s culture events coordinator, invited me for a school visit, I immediately offered her to turn this visit into an Authors for Earthday event. Tsvia, together with Merav Mazor, the school principal, loved the idea and we started planning the event.
I decided to choose this year 5 organizations who support endangered species of wild animals. The 3rd graders started to research about the organizations and the animals more than a month before my visit. The animals they learned about were: gorillas, whales & dolphins, pandas, river otters and wild parrots. I thought the choice was going to be very hard. But when the time came to vote, I was surprised by the results. 82% of the students in 4 classes chose one organization, leaving 18% to be divided almost equally between the other four organizations. Can you guess what was their choice?
So, the winner was: Pandas International!. The winning organization will receive a donation from me, 50% of my honorarium. The donation will be sent in the name of the Green school’s students.
I asked the students to share about how they reached their decision. The kids’ answers were very interesting. Some of them told about personal experiences which helped them make their choice: A girl who was fascinated when she watched gorillas at the zoo; or a boy who went swimming with dolphins. Others pointed facts they learned during their research like the fact that there are less than 3,000 pandas left in the wild today. Other kids shared a bit less serious reasons for their choice, for example the irresistible cuteness of the pandas. But the last girl who spoke said something different. She said she chose the pandas, but could have easily chosen any other one of the five organizations, and she wished she could support all of them. This was such a moving moment, everybody was silent and I could sense how they all got it. That this event, with all the excitement of the voting, is not about competition, but it is about one goal—supporting nature and wild animals.
I want to thank the wonderful teachers for their cooperation, Eti the librarian for her help during the sessions and for taking the photos. And of course—I want to thank the enthusiastic students for an exciting, inspiring day full of love for nature and our earth.