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Buffalo Zoo

2013 WNY Earth Day Family Expo at Buffalo Zoo's 'Party for the Planet'

By Bonnie Marrocco

Students and teachers throughout Genesee County who are involved in environmental studies participated in an Earth Day-related event at the Buffalo Zoo in late June. The students created projects about climate change, natural habitats, invasive species, renewable energy, and recycling.

These were showcased in an Environmental Education Science Fair at the “Party for the Planet” -- sponsored by the Sierra Club/Niagara Group along with Daemen College Center for Sustainable Communities & Civic Engagement.

Alexander Central School submitted posters and projects highlighting its Outdoor Classroom. Alexander School is building the first certified Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom in WNY -- where nature will be connected to curricula.

This outdoor classroom provides experiences that encourage students to appreciate the environment. Students will be able to participate in such activities as building, balancing, adding, subtracting, sorting and classifying using materials from nature like pinecones, sticks, plants, etc. Various stations will facilitate nature observation and art, poetry, journaling, music, drama and physical activities.

Batavia School District entered three projects from Jackson Elementary School.

Students in Aimee Nelson and Heather Landers’ first-grade classes submitted projects on the Rainforest, which combined science and art. Each student prepared a research report focusing on a particular animal in the rainforest. They also submitted 3D projects depicting the four layers of the rainforest.

Jessica Torrey's class studied the temperate deciduous forests. Detailed artwork and individually written reports highlighted each student's understanding of the interconnectedness of life in the forest.

Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia submitted its Gardeners and Scientist project, which children's librarian Kelly March organized.

The submission is from "The Great Sunflower Project," which is one of the programs offered through the library’s “Dig into Reading” summer reading club. Activities for Great Sunflower Project include the study of pollination and pollinators, growing sunflowers, as well as taking part in the national “Backyard Bee Count” – the world’s largest citizen science project focused on pollinator conservation.

Each participant in the Environmental Education Science Fair in Buffalo will receive special legislative recognition for their work.

For more information on environmental education programs in Genesee County, contact Judy Spring at 343-2362 or 344-1122 or e-mail

Photo: Jackson School students learn about polar bears

By Howard B. Owens

Tiffany Vanderworth, curator with the Buffalo Zoo, leads a group of children at Jackson School this morning in a discussion about polar bears. Vanderworth covered the nature, habits and habitat of polar bears.

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