Eden Prairie students and teachers got in touch with their green thumbs this past weekend for Earth Day.

Jen Heyer and Carol Reno’s kindergarten class at Cedar Ridge Elementary have adopted four storm drains near the elementary school through Hamline University’s Adopt a Drain program, Heyer told Eden Prairie News.

On April 16, the class visited their adopted drains, which they’ve named The Abyss, Storm Trooper, Cleany McCleaner Face and Stormy, Heyer said. Armed with rubber boots donated by the Riley Purgatory Bluff Creek Watershed District and rakes, shovels and gloves donated from Home Depot, the students and teachers cleaned out the winter muck that had accumulated in the drains.

The classroom activity inspired some of the students to take their enthusiasm for drains home, she added. With the help of their parents, several students have adopted their own neighborhood storm drains.

At Forest Hills Elementary, another clean-up happened closer to home, said Principal Connie Hytjan. A group of families stopped by on Saturday to do a “spring clean-up” of the courtyard, she said.

Kelly Reynolds teaches science at Central Middle School and took the opportunity to blend Earth Day with another upcoming holiday. Her class planted marigolds to celebrate Earth Day, which she hopes will be ready to bring home by Mother’s Day on May 12. Reynolds also led a class activity discussing the importance of sustainability and how to grow food at home using potatoes, avocado seeds and strawberries, she wrote in an email.

The main lesson is to “love your mothers: Mother Earth and your mother,” Reynolds wrote.

The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970 and consisted of demonstrations to urge companies and local and national governments to take up environmentally responsible policies, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s website. A U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson, created the day to spark conversations about environmental stewardship on a national level. Today, people in 192 countries participate in celebrations and projects for Earth Day, according to earthday.org.

Eden Teller is the multimedia reporter for Eden Prairie News. She's passionate about fostering productive conversations and empowering communities. When she's not reporting, she can be found reading a book, on a hike or tackling home improvement projects.

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