Third graders at Ira B. Jones are doing a project about soil erosion and how it can be bad for the environment. They are trying to help stop soil erosion in Haiti and local soil erosion in the French Broad River, which is Asheville’s drinking source. “I think Asheville will set a great example for the rest of the world,” said Kristi Schmidt, parent of a Jones third grader.
Soil erosion is when dirt gets moved, by wind, water, or ice. When a tree dies, its roots stop grabbing onto the soil. Rain washes soil into the rivers. When it washes away all the soil, it pollutes the French Broad River, and Asheville can’t plant a lot of food. In some places like Haiti, there is no topsoil. All the plants start to die, and people starve to death. “When I was a child in Shada,” said Luxo Vitali, a former resident of Haiti, “I could see the beautiful river that went by our town. It is now a dry riverbed. We have to work on getting the clean water back, and we need the trees.”
RiverLink, a local organization that helps the French Broad River, is helping the students plant trees at the RiverLink Sculpture Plaza, which will help stop erosion there. The Plaza is near the French Broad River. Planting trees there will stop a lot of mud from getting into the French Broad River. They will be doing this on November 7, 2011. “This is a great project,” said Karen Cragnolin, Executive Director of RiverLink.
Jones third graders are working together to try to stop erosion in Haiti. The third graders are sending press releases, business letters, brochures, and posters to raise money for the service learning project. They will be sending the money to The Lambi Fund, which is trying to plant a million trees in Haiti. “I think that we came up with a good idea to raise money for Haiti,” said Hayden Strickler, a third grader at Jones.
The writing the third graders do is to persuade people to donate money. “We want students to learn about our ecosystem,” said third grade teacher Daniel Withrow, “but we also want them to learn to write persuasively about an issue that’s important to them. Students have worked very hard on these pieces.” Third graders at Ira B. Jones have written research sheets and used sentences from their research sheets to write this press release.
For more information, visit www.tinyurl.com/puttingdownroots, where a blog about the third grader’s service learning project will be found, including a donation form.