Meet the Next Generation of Eco-Warriors

Innovation Academy students tour the living lab at Good Earth Plant Company with owner Jim Mumford.

Sixth grade students from Innovation Academy took a field trip to Good Earth Plant Company’s living lab earlier this year. Students are working on green roof and living wall projects and wanted to see the “real deal.”

During their visit to our living lab, we first did a power point presentation about how to build a green roof or living wall and some of the issues and concerns keeping them alive. We showed them photos of green roofs and living walls around the world. Then it was time to go outside and see them up close.

Boy do they have a lot of questions, some really smart ones. Kids don’t take anything for granted. They aren’t afraid to seem stupid, so they don’t hold back. (That feeling comes along later and it doesn’t help you learn anything).

Just last week we were surprised to receive handwritten thank you notes from the students, and we decided to share a few with you here. These are the actual notes we received.

“The best part of the visit was when we went on the roof.” – Hannah

It made me realize how much of an impression we made on these students. How might it change their thinking about the environment and the possibilities for improving the world they are going to live in – and run! – long after we are gone?

“I learned that to make a green roof you need to make sure the roof can hold all the weight.” – Bridget

When learning gets out of the classroom, students can apply what they learn to the real world, something they can see and not just imagine. When they engage with the real world, they are more enthusiastic and engaged in learning. It’s a lot easier to learn things when learning is fun. That’s true for adults too.

Students start to understand how interconnected we are to the environment and how our decisions and actions affect our world. They become more aware of their own behavior and are willing to adopt good habits now that will last a lifetime. Those choices will become part of bigger decisions later in their lives involving where they live, transportation, energy use, and even the elected officials they vote for who share their ideals.

Students from Innovation Academy toured our green roof.

In the short term, getting kids outside helps address some of the health issues we see today including obesity, depression, and attention deficit disorders. Kids actually have to learn to play outside these days. It’s hard to imagine for my generation but it’s true. This combats “nature deficit disorder” which I mentioned in a blog post just a few weeks ago.

When kids talk with me about green roofs and living walls, they’re not only learning about nature. They learn about science, math, history, and they are using language. They are also learning good business and personal practices by writing thank you notes. When was the last time YOU wrote someone a handwritten thank you note? It made a big impression on me.

Maybe in another life I was a teacher. I enjoy sharing what I know and get energized when my audience is enthusiastic about the subject. All of us who are parents end up being teachers in many ways we don’t even think about.

When I first started providing training on green roofs and living walls, it was the younger members of the companies I worked with who seemed most interested. I know my future employees and customers are in high school now. So why not begin letting them know about the possibilities for incorporating plants and nature into the built environment? They are the ones who have to live in the world they’ll be creating, and they understand a lot more than we did at a younger age how our actions impact the planet and the future.

Thanks for visiting us at Good Earth Plant Company!

Thank you to the next generation of “Eco-Warriors” from Innovation Academy for paying us a visit! If you’re a teacher and you’d like to bring your kids to Good Earth Plant Company, get in touch with us at 858-576-9300. We can use all the Eco-Warriors we can get!