Colfax kids

Photo caption: Nine members of the Colfax Elementary School second grade Nature Club from left to right: Sol, Alex, Isabella, Adelaide, Lucy, Felicity, Sofie, Peter, and Devorah. (Photo by Katie Hatcher)

By Katie Hatcher, Magazine Intern

If you’ve found yourself looking for hope for the future lately, here’s some inspiration: the Nature Club from the second grade at Colfax Elementary School has written to us at SHUC to ask how they can help during our Squirrel Hill Litter Patrol Spring Clean-Up!

My assistant journalist, Mila Rao (7), and I recently caught up with some of the members of the Nature Club at the Squirrel Hill branch of the Carnegie Library to get to know them and learn what excites them about their neighborhood and the great outdoors. Lucy, Peter, Isabella, Sol, Adelaide, Felicity, Devorah, Alex, and Sofie had a lot to share!

Since they’ll be helping us out at the Spring Clean-Up, I asked the kids if they had any ideas for how to keep Squirrel Hill litter-free all year round, and they had some excellent ideas.

“You should put trash in nearby trash cans,” Lucy suggested. “Yeah,” agreed Isabella, “and if you don’t see one, you can just keep your trash until you get home.” Isabella was also excited by the development of more ecologically responsible cars, “because cars put so much gas into our atmosphere!”

Devorah thinks it would be helpful if everyone composted and recycled, and Sofie suggested that folks in the neighborhood use reusable water bottles, rather than disposable ones.

Mila was curious to know what it was that made these kids so passionate about the outdoors, so she asked, “What inspired your love of nature?”

“I live right next to Frick Park,” explained Lucy, “so I get to enjoy nature whenever I want!”

Lucy also told us that they recently learned in school about the devastation of orangutan populations in Sumatra and Borneo because of palm oil farming and how that has inspired them as a group. One of their first initiatives as the Nature Club was to organize a letter writing campaign to urge companies who use palm oil in their products to consider more responsible options.

When I asked what other activities the Nature Club gets into, Isabella told me that they try to get together once a month in Frick Park to pick up litter on the Riverview Trail. Lucy showed me their petition to get more recycling bins at their school, which I was happy to sign.

The Nature Club also shared some favorite things to do in Squirrel Hill to get outside and get moving. Alex enjoys walking to the library and the yogurt shop on Murray Avenue. Lucy said she loves when it warms up enough to swim in the Magee Pool in Greenfield. Peter and Felicity like to play and hike with their families in Frick Park and Adelaide shared her excitement about starting soccer soon. Sol and Devorah love their dance class at the JCC. It sure seems like there are a lot of fun and active options for play in the neighborhood!

Sofie ended the interview with a very important reminder for all of us. “I love nature, but if we aren’t careful and don’t take care of the Earth, there won’t be any nature left!”

In case you missed the memo, the Spring Clean-Up is happening on Earth Day (Sunday, April 22) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Volunteers are meeting at the corner of Forbes and Murray where they will receive tools such as grabbers and bags to give the neighborhood a good sprucing up. Coffee and other refreshments will be provided, so bring your friends and a can-do attitude to the party!

If you have any questions, you can contact Barb Grover at barbgrover1@gmail.com or 412-521-9526.