Second-grader Hannah Nohwar focused on holding her pot as her teacher Beth Montrello filled it with soil and pansies.
Nohwar said she was ready to take care of the plant and remember to water it.
Nohwar was one of 22 children from an all-virtual class in the Niskayuna Central School District consisting of students from Birchwood, Glencliff, Rosendale and Hillside elementary schools who came together in person at Blatnick Park Saturday for the first time since starting class in September.
“The kids are just so excited about it,” Montrello said.
The children spent the morning having breakfast, then cleaning up trash in the park and getting their own pansies, as well as a bag full of goodies to take home. One of those gifts included milkweed, which can attract butterflies.
The idea for the gathering came from Kevin Little and his daughter Julia.
“A month or so ago, Julia ran into one of her classmates at Schenectady’s Central Park while playing on the playground,” Little said. “Rather than engage on the playground equipment, Julia and her friend were fascinated by a couple of ducks swimming in the little stream and were both troubled about the amount of trash that the ducks were swimming amongst. They agreed to meet again the very next day with disposable gloves and trash bags to do a garbage purge. That inspired Julia to come up with the idea of getting more of her classmates together to combat litter.”
Little said Julia put a presentation together about meeting on a Saturday, outside of the classroom setting, to clean up the park and it was well-received by students and parents alike in the class.
“With all the things that are going on in the world, this is great,” said Rona Francis, who was there with her son Johnny Paul.
Paul ran around excitedly picking up whatever trash he could find.
Julia said she just wants to take care of the planet.
“I don’t want animals in the water to start to die because of pollution,” she said.
Little said his daughter has seen other people litter and will go pick up their trash. He is proud of his daughter.
“The resilience demonstrated by my daughter and all kids at ‘the mercy of life under COVID’ is humbling and inspiring,” Little said.