Earth_Day_CLASS_PICStudents from Point Road School in Little Silver present grocery bags decorated with Earth-friendly messages as part of the eighth annual Earth Day partnership between the school and Sickles Market. 

Press release from Sickles Market

As part of a local Earth Day Celebration that’s now in its eighth year, the students of Point Road School in Little Silver will be presenting hundreds of hand-decorated grocery bags to Sickles Market at 2:10 pm on Friday, April 17.

Sickles Market will then display the bags — each of them customized with the students’ Earth Day messages — until Earth Day, Wednesday April 22, when the Sickles staff will distribute the colorful grocery bags to their delighted customers.

In return for the children’s efforts, and to illustrate the wonder and rewards of gardening after the presentation of grocery bags, Sickles Market owner Bob Sickles will personally give each of the 465 students their own lettuce seedling to plant at home.

The Earth Day tradition started eight years ago when ‘The Green Team’ of the Point Road Environmental Club approached Bob Sickles, asking if the Little Silver landmark business would take part in the school’s Earth Day celebration. The idea — part of the national program known as the Earth Day Groceries Project — was for Sickles to provide schoolchildren with plain brown shopping bags, which they would decorate with drawings and environmental messages, such as “Save Our Planet” or “Reuse This Bag.”

Sickles has also planted more lettuce seedlings in the school’s courtyard, which, after 60 days, are harvested for the school’s “Green Luncheon,” which will be held on June 10.

“Gardening is a hobby with many rewards,” explained Sickles, who is the son of a farmer. “I don’t expect all of the children to take up gardening, but a few will see the entire loop of the cycle and that will capture their hearts into adulthood.”

“We are committed to teaching our students to be environmentally conscious and encourage as many collaborative community projects as possible,” said Pamela Albert Devine, the school’s Principal and co-founder of the program supervised by Point Road art teacher Dale Dvorak.

According to the website, the Earth Day Groceries Project — now celebrating 22 years — is one of the largest and most well established educational projects on the Internet. It is a nonprofit, grassroots effort. The project started in 1994, with 43 schools; today there are over 1,000 participating schools.