Earth Day Nicaraguan Style

“A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children.” —John James Audubon

This week we are celebrating Earth Day at the La Paloma Elementary School. Because one of the greatest environmental problems in Nicaragua is deforestation and destruction of the Nicaraguan forests, we decided to stress the importance of trees to the elementary students through a variety of fun age-appropriate activities.

The Nicaragua Network reported, ” Logging of the 72,000 hectares of pine forests in Nueva Segovia, Madriz, and Estelí was stopped on Apr. 13 by an order from the Nicaraguan Institute of Forestry (INAFOR). On Apr. 15, government communications coordinator Rosario Murillo announced the formation of a presidential commission to evaluate Nicaragua’s forests which would be led by Attorney General Hernan Estrada.”

We could think of no better way to teach environmental awareness than through Dr. Seuss and The Lorax. Ron hauled a bucket of dirt to the library and filled the cups with the dirt, while Maxwell and I set up the program for the first and second graders.

IMG_1614I found several songs in Spanish from The Lorax movie, downloaded them to a memory stick and played them for the kids using our new projector. We already had The Lorax book in Spanish, but when I was looking for songs in Spanish, I found a video of a woman reading The Lorax and downloaded that, too.

Maxwell introduced the book and asked the children what they thought the book was about. Smart kids! We received a variety of good answers; It is going to be about chopping down trees. It will be about dirty water. I think it is about how to take care of the earth. 


Meanwhile, we prepared the dirt so each child could plant his or her “Truffula” seeds to take home. Actually, they are pigeon peas or gandule seeds. We grew tons of them in our garden this year. They grow into hardy small trees loaded with pea pods.

The trees will bear fruit for three years. They are drought resistant and not affected by insects, so it was the perfect seed for the little ones to plant. Pigeon peas are incredibly versatile and can be used for many purposes. They can even be ground into flour.

IMG_1617The children are fascinated by The Lorax and as they watch, the book is passed around for them to follow the story read to them. I am loving our new high-tech library. I bought external lime green speakers the other day so we would be able to hear better.

IMG_1619The children drop their truffula seeds into the holes in the dirt, tenderly cover them, and the teacher writes their names on their cups.
IMG_1621“Say Feliz Dia de Tierra!”
IMG_1623Then, the children returned to their classroom, where Ron entertained them by drawing trees on the white board. Of course, they all marveled at his drawing skills and wanted him to add volcanoes and houses. 🙂

IMG_1625Tomorrow, we will have programs for the older children and they will plant pigeon peas in the school garden. I think we may even have a pigeon pea day with pigeon pea soup next week.

Happy Dia de Tierra from Nicaragua. How will you celebrate this special day?

12 thoughts on “Earth Day Nicaraguan Style

  1. This post made me cry! These children are learning things that will help them keep the planet alive when they are adults: you are giving them a level of global consciousness that is absolutely vital to the future of Earth and in a way that fits seamlessly into their Nicaraguan schooling and lifestyle. Bless your kind hearts for being so giving to these little people!

    • What sweet comments, Claire. Thank you so much. There are so many things I miss about being a teacher, and this gives me an opportunity to plan lessons and have fun with the kids without the beaurocratic nightmare of paperwork and regulations that accompanied my career in the states. I only wish my Spanish was better, but Maxwell is a lifesaver because he can translate for me.

    • You know, Sunni, when I am having a bad day and nothing seems to go as planned, all I have to do is go to school and read to the kids and my day is brighter. Their enthusiasm and wonder always puts me in a better mood, especially with this brutal heat.

  2. What a blessing you are for that community! May you live long to see those trees grow and propagate into more and more.

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