In observance of Earth Day on April 22 and Arbor Day on April 23, several Upper Arlington schools participated in environmentally-friendly activities during the week.

In observance of Earth Day on April 22 and Arbor Day on April 23, several Upper Arlington schools participated in environmentally-friendly activities during the week.

Students at Wickliffe Progressive Community School helped build a "green roof" for the building. Working in teams, students in each grade level assembled groups of drought-tolerant sedum plants in lots, or modules, to place on an overhang roof at the school.

The idea originated from a recent field trip to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency in downtown Columbus, said Tamar Sorin, the teacher who coordinated the project.

"Unlike the EPA roof, which is all done one piece, ours is done in modules so that if anything needs to be taken care of, it's easy to get them on, easy to get them off," Sorin said.

After receiving the go-ahead from the district to proceed with the project, Wickliffe's Parent Teacher Organization and the Upper Arlington Education Association split the $3,000 cost of purchasing 64 modules from Weston Solutions.

The green roof is designed to increase energy efficiency by providing an additional layer of insulation for the building.

"It acts as a water filtration system," said Beth Mueller, co-chair of the Wickliffe PTO's Outdoor Learning Environment Committee. "The rainfall that comes down doesn't get washed directly into the sewer system. There are little reservoirs that will collect some of the water."

While participating in the project, students learned various aspects of environmental science and technology.

"Whenever we do a project that's big, we make sure the students are involved so they have ownership of what's going on," Sorin said. "That really is the energy behind the whole thing."

There are plans to continue planting more modules each school year so that future classes can participate in the green roof, which is angled so that students can see it growing out of a second-floor window.

Mueller said her daughter Caroline, a fifth-grader, and her classmates were enthusiastic about the hands-on learning project.

"They got to touch the modules and touch the plants," Mueller said. "It's something that's real and they can see it and how it works."

Other school-related Earth Day and Arbor Day activities included:

Wickliffe partnered with Upper Arlington Progressive Action and Sustainable UA to recruit volunteers on April 25 to plant trees, prune old trees and spread mulch to beautify the school grounds.

Upper Arlington High School sponsored an Earth Day Electronic Recycling Event on April 22, in which the public could drop off discarded computers and other electronic items.

On April 22, Greensview Elementary welcomed a visit from wild animals under the care of Ohio Nature Education, a local environmental and wildlife rescue group.

The Wellington School observed Arbor Day with a tree-planting ceremony at the school on April 23 (April 24 was the official Arbor Day observance). The afternoon's activities included a proclamation by Mayor Don Leach and a presentation by Wellington sixth-grade students.

cbournea@thisweeknews.com