Monday, October 18, 2010 9:56 PM
Papalote Students Get a Lesson in the 3 "R"s
Recently, several of the Primary classes from the El Papalote School were invited to visit the new and improved Parque la Ceiba. It has been almost a year since I have taken the time to visit the park and I was impressed with the changes. A beautiful new entrance has been created to welcome the families and individuals who come to enjoy the tranquility of the green space, take in a class or workshop, play on the various jungle installations, chat with friends over coffee and pastries in the cafe or drop of their recycling. On this day, the students, including Cole and his 1st grade classmates were treated to a taste of everything the park has to offer our community.
Divided up into teams, the students were expertly guided through the park by the animated and knowledgeable staff of Flora, Fauna y Cultura. The tour culminated in an age appropriate workshop on recycling. The park has a new outdoor classroom with benches and lots of interesting visual aids to help teach the 3 "R"s - Reduce - Reuse - Recycle. As El Papalote School maintains its own recycling center right at the school, one that is WELL used by Papalote families, including our own, our children were all ready well versed in the difference between organic and inorganic waste. They could easily identify materials that could be recycled or composted. The main message that the children (and the grown ups as well) were to take away from this experience was that even though they can identify recyclable items in the trash, if they are not properly separated, they too are garbage.
The group toured the recycling area then looked through the nursery where young plants are cultivated for use in the park and made available for sale to people in the community hoping to make their living spaces more green by integrating indigenous plants into their landscape designs or potted plant patios. Modern compost bins are also set up in this area which utilize the organic remains left over from the cafe, banana peels left by visiting children and trimmings and leaved from the trees and bushes in the park. Of course, bins for recyclables and organic trash are scattered throughout the grounds. Nothing goes to waste!
Finally, the children took a break for lunch and a chance to draw a picture depicting the ways that they can incorporate recycling into their own routines. It was interesting to see what each child took away from the experience. Before leaving, the students were each given a small sapling to plant in a recycled plastic bottle and bring home, a good time to get their hands dirty and the perfect souvenir from their field trip.
It is my understanding that Flora, Fauna y Cultura is inviting groups from all the local schools to come and discover the park and all it has to offer. The hope is that by educating this generation about the importance of reducing our non-biodegradable waste we can begin to reverse the effects of indiscriminate dumping and polluting our water and destroying our environment. It's never too soon to make a change and this program will undoubtedly have a positive effect on the daily lives and habits of many students and their families. If you live in Playa and haven't yet taken the time to visit Parque la Ceiba, I highly recommend that you do. It's a great, safe place for kids to run around and explore. Parents will love the quiet cafe with free internet and fresh baked goods. Maybe you will see us there!