“Many little seeds” mark the advent of Earth Day at East Silver Spring Elementary


Mosaic mural crafted by East Silver Spring Elementary School 3rd graders in honor of Earth Day.

photos by Julie Wiatt

by Sandy Moore

Students at East Silver Spring (ESS) Elementary School celebrated Earth Day on April 22nd by planting a garden in the courtyard, doing without electricity for an “Earth Hour,” and eating “no waste lunches” brought from home.  Third graders unveiled a tile mosaic entitled “Many Little Seeds,” created with the help of artist Carien Quiroga.

Dawn Moffitt, an ESS science teacher, has spearheaded the school’s Earth Day effort for four years.  “Every student in the school did something,” said Moffitt.  Their attention was focused on the school’s new courtyard.  Some planted sunflower seeds or perennials, herbs, or plants native to Maryland.  Others built or painted birdhouses and hummingbird feeders.  A few assembled rain barrels or raked topsoil. Guest speaker “Chef Egg” (Erik Berlin) of Whole Foods talked to students about the importance of their planting efforts.


East Silver Spring students plant flowers in the courtyard as part of Earth Day festivities

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The schools’ third graders played a special role in this year’s celebration: designing and making a mosaic mural.  Makayla Wallace said, “I learned that artists have to decide what the mural will look like
before they start.”  The students’ design includes all the elements a plant needs to grow: seed, soil, wind, water and sun.  Each student contributed a silver leaf, made of heavy tooling foil and embossed with a stylus.  Small groups of kids met with Quiroga to arrange the pieces, fill in the gaps with tile, and assist with the grouting.  “I get them involved with all aspects of the project,” said Quiroga, who came to ESS through the Montgomery Arts and Humanities Council visiting artists program.


About the Author

Sandy Moore, the Kids' Voice columnist, writes for young readers and is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Sandy is also a past contributor to Washington Parent magazine, a Board member of Lumina Studio Theatre, and resident of Silver Spring.