Bugs help kids learn about Earth Day

April 22, 2008 1:13:30 PM PDT
Even yucky bugs can be helpful. It was just one part of a school's focus on keeping a healthy planet today. Students at Overbrook Elementary have it all down to a science.

Believe it or not, some bugs should make you scream with delight. Unlike our roaches, who bite and carry disease, the hissing cockroach of Madagascar is a good neighbor.

Michelle Niedermeier from Pennsylvania Integrated Pest Management explained to students, "They help turn dead leaves back into soil. So, they're actually really good insects. They're big. They're kinda ugly. But they're good."

This hands-on presentation was just part of Earth Day at Overbrook Elementary School. Educators from environmental groups, like the U.S. Forest Service and EPA, came out to teach kids about conservation and scientific developments.

The hope is that knowledge is not just power, it's change. In the case of the bugs, they may be creepy but they are also an alternative harsh chemicals.

Third grader Jada Ackney says, "Usually I would think that bugs were just nasty. But now that I know that some bugs can help you do certain things."

"So in the long run, they're not using so many pesticides, they're not using such toxic pesticides, and then not impacting their health and the environment," says Niedermeier.

Even before today's big Earth Day presentation, the kids were already learning one of the big tenets behind conservation - Think globally, but act locally.

Overbrook Principal Kathleen McCladdie says, "They started cleaning the school yard, and then they asked, 'Can we go back and finish it again? Can we do some other projects?'"

Sounds like a lesson planted in fertile soil and ready to grow.