Congratulations to the students in 2nd grade at Osborne Elementary School who were selected to receive a $1,000 grant from Polar Bears International, thanks to the hard work and dedication they put into their polar bear project this school year. They call themselves the 'Polar Bear Protectors' and this year they set out to prove that anyone can make a difference.
The students, along with teachers Kristi DiRenzo, Amy Quinn and Claudia Scanlon, embarked on a study of the various climate regions of the world and how climate issues impact the living members of those habitats. The students created a project to teach others about the importance of energy conservation, particularly in the aid of climate issues, resulting in problems for polar bears. Part of the year-long study included a Polar Bear Dance, to raise money to donate to Polar Bears International. The students raised more than $1,400 and delivered the check to the Pittsburgh Zoo.
Here is a clip from the grant submission, written by the 2nd grade teachers:
"Each student chose their own animal to research through the use of technology as well as through collecting facts during our first trip to the Pittsburgh Zoo in the fall. Since we were offered the opportunity to return to the zoo for free in April we wanted to do something to give back. The students decided they wanted to do something to help and we inquired about “adopting” an animal. Polar Bears were on the list of possible animals to adopt and that was our choice. During this initial trip to the zoo the children participated in an informational session that taught them about the polar bear’s plight and the difficulties they faced daily in their changing climate. Many of the students became interested in the polar bear and began inquiring about why there are no longer large numbers of polar bears living. These questions prompted lessons on climate change in correlation with our study of climate regions and geography during our social studies classes. Since the students showed such an interest in this topic, Margie Marks, from the Pittsburgh Zoo, suggested that we enter the Project Polar Bear Contest sponsored by Polar Bears International. Together, grade level students voted on ideas and agreed that they wanted to create a project to teach others about the current climate issues and what everyday citizens could do to make a difference. This in turn, would help the polar bears who are quickly becoming endangered due to these climate issues. The students took this a step further and decided to also host a fundraiser to help raise money to help this cause. When they returned to the zoo in the spring they presented a check for the money they raised to the polar bear keepers to give to the Polar Bears International Organization."
The initial goal of the Polar Bear Dance was to raise $300. The students raised more than $1,400 for the cause.
The students found out on Monday, May 7, they received the grant for $1,000. Thanks to the Osborne Home and School Association, the students celebrated with the Kona Ice Truck at the end of the school day.