Earth Force has been a long-running tradition here at Friends’ Central. The eighth graders are tasked with identifying, researching, and solving a problem that they have observed in society. The problem may only affect the FCS community, or perhaps another community or the world as a whole. Students build a website and work with a group to solve the issue, reaching out to other community members and building support systems for the final impact. Adele Goldader (‘22) has been working with Tiffany Qin (‘22) to recycle used chip and snack bags and send then to facilities where they can be reused. Adele says that, “at least half the snacks that people eat during snack and lunch are chip bags, and that’s a big percentage of the waste that we accumulate at school.” They’re building a designated space for recycling the chip bags, aiming to limit the amount of waste that goes into our trash cans. Their project has been well-received by the community, earning them support from many different staff members.
Jared (‘22) and Riley (‘22) are another group working to solve an environmental issue. This time, however, they’re focusing on runoff. They’re attempting to put a roof-top garden on the roof of Shallcross. “If we don’t have rooftop gardens, then all the rain will build up and pollution will get caught in the rain and just keep on going down,” says Jared. The gardens collect rainwater and use it to nurture the plants it contains, rather than allowing the water to run off the roof and collect dirt, trash, and bacteria. When asked if the project was important to him personally, Riley said that, “Pollution is actually a huge problem in cities like this one, and [causes] heat exhaustion as we’ve seen from a recent slideshow shown to the middle school.” Rooftop gardens can improve both of those issues.
Audrey Blinman is working alone on their project which is centered around gender in athletics. As a genderqueer student, they often experience issues surrounding the gender divide in sports at school. They are working to create a lesson plan for athletic directors in order to inform coaches, teams, and department heads of the importance of gender-neutral language and existence of non-binary identities. They hope to see a change made to increase the comfort of all trans students. Audrey has reached out to multiple Friends’ School League schools and asked for input, in order to diversify the definition of “non-binary,” as well as to see how the issue has impacted other schools.
With the Earth Force deadline approaching, students are rushing to finish their projects. A recent change has been made, stating that students may not collect money for their projects, so please remember to support the eighth graders in your community in other ways! Earth Force is an important and inspiring course and the outcome will surely be worth the effort.