Normandy students launch Kindergarten Mask Awareness Project

Mason Shihadeh picks up a mask on Normandy's Eagles Playground.

Our kindergarten class at Normandy School in Bay Village noticed a problem, so we decided to do something about it. This spring, as we began to spend more time outside, we started noticing a lot of masks lying on the ground. It seemed like they were everywhere! We could not understand how people could just leave their masks on the ground, littering.

First, we did some research and learned that mask pollution is more prevalent than we thought. We see them on the ground, but animals are affected by the litter, too. We looked at pictures of birds with masks caught on their wings and feet. We saw sea turtles and fish caught in masks. We knew this was terrible! Mask litter spoils a walk through the neighborhood or the park. Mask litter can kill animals.

Next, we collected data. For 10 days, we kept track of how many masks we found and where we found them. We also took photos of the mask litter. Zoe Shumaker found one by a tree on the Whales playground. Logan Horn found a mask at Bradley Park. Ava and Gia Ferrando found several at the zoo. Esther Schearer saw and picked up a mask at Huntington Beach Park. 

It did not take long for us to see that mask litter is everywhere. Most often, we found disposable masks, but we also found lots of nice, reusable ones. We analyzed the data and found that, on average, we see two masks lying on the ground every day. Jaxson Burger commented, "I was very surprised!" We were all shocked. We knew we had to do more.

Based on our data, we learned that students were leaving masks on our Normandy playgrounds. We decided to make posters with messages, photos, and drawings to help everyone remember to bring the mask they wear outside back inside. Our posters are displayed at every entrance and exit at Normandy School.

Our Kindergarten Mask Litter Awareness Project has taught us some valuable life lessons. Levi Scattergood said, “We never want anyone to litter masks ever again.” Although our project is finished, some students, such as Cecily Weaver, are continuing to clean up our environment. She told her class, “I pick up masks with sticks and throw them away.” We even inspired Mrs. Shamaly, a Normandy staff member, to make reusable masks to donate to the homeless.

In kindergarten, we have learned to pick up after ourselves. If we can do it, so can you! Our Mask Litter Awareness Project showed us that it is our responsibility to keep our planet clean and keep the animals safe. We will do our part, won’t you?

Elizabeth Shiry

Ellizabeth Shiry is a kindergarten teacher at Normandy School in Bay Village.

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Volume 13, Issue 10, Posted 10:13 AM, 05.18.2021