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Being green is LOGIC-al for 6th graders
McParland sixth graders in Mike Grahm’s class are intrigued by the model of the water system in the South San Joaquin Irrigation District booth. - photo by HIME ROMERO
Jamar Berry and the rest of his sixth-grade classmates from Great Valley Elementary knew the basics of recycling and what steps to take in order to preserve the environment.

But by the time they left Manteca Unified’s first annual Planet Party Day – to mark on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day – they each had a whole new education in what it takes to protect Mother Nature and the part that each person can play in the process.

“It’s been a pretty fun day, and we’ve learned a lot about how to be green,” Berry said. “I think this is something that will help me pay more attention to what I recycle and what I throw away when I leave here.”

More than 2,000 students filtered through the Manteca Unified School District headquarters campus Thursday morning to partake in a series of informational sessions and vendor-sponsored activities aimed at promoting conservation and preservation of natural resources – the brainchild of the Leadership on Green Initiatives Committee (LOGIC).

According to district energy educator and LOGIC chair Victoria Brunn, Thursday’s gathering was designed to not only promote stewardship, but show that partnerships with local businesses can work on large-scale levels.

“We’re hoping to be able to show the kids today what an environmental steward really is,” said Brunn – who co-chaired the event with Director of Transportation Jason Osborne. “If we can reach just one student from each school then we’ve done something positive for the environment.”

On top of partnering with energy companies like PG&E and Big Valley Ford, the LOGIC committee also turned to the Lathrop-based J.R. Simplot Company – which manufactures fertilizer from organic components – to explain the processes of how food gets from the field to the table.

“The main thing that we want students to realize is the role that we play in agriculture and how that affects what ultimately goes to the store and ends up on your table,” said Simplot’s Jeanette Farley. “We want to stress that fertilizer is a food for plants, that it’s abundant, and it’s healthy.”

Other activities included a recycling race, a “toxic” dunk tank, a water filtration demo, and question-and-answer sessions with industry leaders on how to develop more eco-friendly learning environments.

Students from the school farm were on hand to demonstrate the life-cycle of wool, and Fremont Unified School District lent their hybrid school bus to show the future of education transportation and how it pertains to protecting the environment.

Even Superintendent Jason Messer was on hand for the event – escorting Great Valley’s second-grade students that won a district-wide contest in order to be able to attend the three-hour educational session.

While spending time with his friends was one of things that George Komure student Jimmy Sekhon enjoyed about the event, expanding his horizons when it comes to sustainability was something else that stuck with him.

“I’m definitely learning a lot of new things today,” Sekhon said. “The thing that I enjoyed the most was probably the electric car because I really like cars. But there are a lot of things that I’m going to take with me when I go home that I didn’t know when I came here today.”

Roughly 50 vendors and more than 70 volunteers were necessary to organize the event.