Authors for Earth Day Celebration at Rhodes Jr. High

Of course Earth Day is best celebrated by doing something GREEN. But hanging out with other people who are doing something GREEN is even better. I was lucky enough to hang out with a whole school of amazing students at Rhodes Jr. High, who are doing something so GREEN, they’re actually shaping the future! The kids from Rhodes have officially asked the city of Mesa to initiate a tax on the use of plastic bags. And the city is said to be considering it. Pretty savvy for 7th, 8th and 9th graders, right?

Yes, Rhodes Junior High World Studies Academy ( and its staff are role models for forward-thinking education and their students really seem to embrace the school’s focus on global sustainability. So just imagine the fun I had at yesterday’s Authors for Earth Day school visit. I did assemblies and spent time in individual classes talking about the power of the pen. Of course we discussed conservation, too.

Conservation is about so many things. On a large scale it’s about protecting habitat, supporting wildlife and keeping the planet’s air and water clean. But conservation is most important on a small scale. It’s ultimately about trying not to be selfish in our personal consumption so that all people may have enough to live comfortably.

During 4th hour, the students took a paperless vote to select one conservation organization from five “nominees” I had sent them to research. The winning organization, Friends of the Osa (a delightful surprise to me) will receive a check in the amount of my day’s speaking fee. $750, donated in honor of Rhodes Jr. High. The kids spoke and their voices will have a distinct impact on sea turtles in Costa Rica.

That’s what Authors for Earth Day is all about ( While I was at Rhodes, other children’s authors and illustrators were doing similar visits in other schools from California to New York. We, a national coalition that “supports conservation through literacy”, give kids the power of voice to protect their future.

Participating authors include Bruce Hale, author of the popular Chet Gecko and Underwhere series (, Debbie Dadey, who scribes the Adventures of the Bailey School Kid series (, Nancy Castaldo, known for popular nature titles ( and Barbara Gowan, writer of ABC books for Sleeping Bear Press ( More authors, including Suzy Kline and her celebrated Horrible Harry and Herbie Jones series plan to join our team in 2011 (

It’s incredible to work with friends and colleagues who, like me, care about education and literacy and saving biodiversity. As a coalition, we have reached over $5500 in contributions to conservation organizations. And this is just our first year. Imagine how that number will grow as our coalition expands!

Visit Authors for Earth Day on Facebook:

Thanks to everyone at Rhodes, I had a fantastic Earth Day empowering kids who care about the world around them… with so much troubling news these days, it felt good to be making that world a little better. It felt good to be doing something GREEN.

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