LOS ANGELES, May 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- After months of attentive gardening, students from Los Feliz Elementary School's after school program today showed off their green thumbs to Assemblymember Mike Gatto and staff from the American Chemistry Council (ACC). The hands-on lesson on healthy eating began last December through a partnership with ACC and dozens of students from the LA's BEST After School Enrichment Program at Los Feliz Elementary.
"The children took pride in tending their own garden," said Edith Ballesteros-Vargas, director of BEST Fit at LA's BEST. "They nurtured it, watered it, and saw it sprout right before their eyes. This garden is a living, breathing example of healthy living and sustainability. Today they saw the fruits of their own labor."
ACC sponsored the installation of the "green gardens" in December 2012 at two LA's BEST school sites, which also included Hooper Avenue Elementary in Los Angeles, as part of a pilot program to teach elementary aged students about the importance of recycling plastics at home and school. Many of the garden materials used—including garden beds, watering cans, and bird feeders—were made with recycled materials, including recycled plastics from milk jugs and water bottles. Los Feliz Elementary School students in kindergarten through fifth grades worked alongside partners and volunteers to assemble garden boxes and plant a wide variety of fruit and vegetable seeds.
"Last year, we planted a seed to help get children excited about taking care of both themselves and the environment," said Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council. "The beauty of this project is that it is tangible. Just look around and you'll find everyday products made with recycled plastics from gloves and watering cans to the walking path 'stones' in the garden at Los Feliz Avenue Elementary. This serves as a constant reminder to recycle plastic bottles, yogurt cups, wraps and bags."
Assemblymember Mike Gatto was on-hand picking edibles, including basil, oregano and other herbs. After the students and partners were finished picking the ripe edibles from their special garden, they sat down to enjoy a pesto dip fresh from the garden to the table.
"It brings me joy to see young members of the community set such a good example," said Assemblymember Mike Gatto. "This program is near and dear to my heart because it teaches students about sustainable living and nutrition. It's a win-win for everyone, encouraging healthy habits that start with eating well and recycling."
As part of the "green gardens" program, all of the 28,000 LA's BEST students received educational materials about healthy eating and how to live a sustainable lifestyle through actions like recycling. In 2013, ACC has committed to installing additional "green gardens" at other LA's BEST school sites in an effort to educate future generations about the long-lasting benefits of recycling.
LA's BEST After School Enrichment Program is a partner in the statewide recycling awareness campaign, Plastics. Too Valuable to Waste. Recycle.TM The campaign launched in 2008 when representatives from the California Department of Parks and Recreation, ACC, and Keep California Beautiful initiated a beach recycling program at State Parks sites in the Los Angeles and Central Coast areas. The program soon spread to State Parks beaches in San Diego, Monterey, Santa Cruz, and the City of Woodland. For more information, see www.2valuable2waste.com.
About LA's BEST – Better Educated Students for Tomorrow
LA's BEST - Better Educated Students for Tomorrow - is a nationally recognized after school education, enrichment and recreation program serving more than 28,000 children with the greatest needs and fewest resources throughout the City of Los Angeles. LA's BEST After School Enrichment Program provides a safe haven for children ages 5 to 12 at 189 elementary school sites each day during the critical hours after school — at no cost to parents. Established in 1988, LA's BEST is a partnership including the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Unified School District and the private sector. LA's BEST is part of Beyond the Bell, whose mission is to ensure that all children and youth in LAUSD have access to high quality, safe and supervised academic, enrichment, and recreation programs that inspire learning and achievement beyond the regular school day. For more information, please visit www.lasbest.org.
About the Plastics Division
The American Chemistry Council's Plastics Division represents leading companies dedicated to providing innovative solutions to the challenges of today and tomorrow through plastics. Ongoing innovations from America's Plastics MakersTM have led to medical advances and safety equipment that make our lives better, healthier and safer every day. And, advances in plastics are helping Americans save energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and decrease waste. Because plastics are such a valuable resource, the Plastics Division is leading efforts to "reduce, reuse, recycle and recover," including through outreach, education and access to advances in recycling technology. For more information, see www.americanchemistry.com/plastics.
SOURCE American Chemistry Council