Under the guidance of Mrs. Librizzi, Collier’s environmental science students are tackling climate change, instituting comprehensive plans to protect the environment, promote locally grown food at Caramore Farm, and engage their local communities.
For several months, students from Collier High School and Middle School have planned, developed, and installed a new rain garden on school property. In order to create a serene place for the entire Collier community to enjoy, students constructed benches and hundreds of perennials. Participants in this effort included members of Collier High School’s Animal Lovers Club, Collier Building Trades Class and Collier Middle School’s Animal Sciences Club. The National Wildlife Foundation has even supported the Collier Rain Garden through a $14,000 grant. Additionally, the National Wildlife Federation has designated the Collier Rain Garden as a Certified Wildlife Habitat.
“For Collier to have developed a Certified Wildlife Habitat is a tremendous accomplishment,” Librizzi emphasizes. “The Collier Rain Garden has water, food, nests, and other places for animals and insects to live. We’re so proud to have created a groundbreaking place of learning, healing, and connection on Collier’s campus."
Moving forward, Librizzi says Collier students have begun work on Project Polar Bear, which is an international competition that challenges “bright young minds to outsmart CO2.”
Caramore Farm offers a unique opportunity for Collier to harness the power of the environment as an engaging educational tool. At the farm, Collier students are examining how composting, reducing waste, and growing one’s own food can make a positive impact on climate change. “This past summer,” Librizzi explains, “many Collier students worked at Caramore Farm planting, thinning, weeding, hoeing, watering, and learning how to grow vegetables. This fall, they began researching how to reduce pollutants on the farm, increase sustainability, and inspire others to take action on climate change. The Collier Rain Garden has become a natural extension of this work.”
“Collier students feel like they can make a difference,” Librizzi shares. “They love animals and are concerned they’re being hurt by things that humans are doing with pollution. I try to encourage students to interact with other people, take care of other living things, and have respect for the Earth.
“All of the environmental efforts at Collier begin with our students,” Librizzi continues. “We believe our students will keep going with their preservation efforts for the rest of their lives and help others to understand the importance of caring for the Earth. Everything in our world is connected.”
As Sister Debbie Drago states, “I am so proud of our students and their sincere concern for the environment. What they are learning in class has propelled them into action. They are making a difference through their hard work and dedication. Our students are not passive learners but are engaged in doing what they can to make the environment and the human community a kinder and healthier place for all. The quality of our lives depends upon our precious natural resources. Collier students do not take that for granted. They are an inspiration to me.”