Every Kindergartner knows that tadpoles, at some point, are transformed into toads or frogs.
At a pond near the Sparling Bush in the East Ward of St. Marys, a school of tadpoles is helping transform a group of Little Falls Public School Kindergartners into advocates for environmental protection.
Students from the JK/SK class of teacher Kim Embury and early childhood educator Carrie Mulholland first encountered the tadpoles during a class outing in May. After a week discussing how they might help ensure the tadpoles reach amphibian-hood, they eventually decided the best route was to keep the tadpoles’ watery environment safe and clean.
And last week, after more than a month of regular treks from their classroom, the students’ work was recognized by a “Thank You” letter from the Town of St. Marys, a class set of pint-sized Town of St. Marys t-shirts, and the erection of a sign asking people to help the Kindergartners care for the pond and its inhabitants.
“You have done a FANTASTIC job of this, and have made this area so much cleaner and safer for both our plants and animals to thrive,” offered a letter to the class from Senior Manager of Operations Chad Papple. “Over the summer, our Town workers will continue to keep watch over this area in hopes that we can keep it as beautiful as you have this spring.”
After their early visits to the site, the students and teachers prepared an information package about their relationship with the pond and sent it to the Town. Along with the package was a request to have a garbage receptacle placed at the site.
“Please let us know quickly if we can do this. We only have eight days left of school!” declared the letter, which was sent in mid-June.
The information package explains how the students first focussed mainly on the tadpoles, but gradually came to realize there were a lot of other elements to the wetland and its surroundings that might affect the well-being of its most high-profile inhabitants.
“Throughout our visits the children had noticed garbage,” the letter noted. “Each visit we found more, and each visit we questioned the children about the garbage’s relationship to the pond.”
“We want people to stop throwing garbage in the pond because there are animals that live there.”
Last week, thanks in part to Papple and the assistance of Councillor Lynn Hainer — whose children attend Little Falls Public School — the sign was installed. It includes wording that was created by the children in the classroom.
Last Wednesday, as the Kindergartners offered their approval of the sign and garbage can, their teachers offered A+ marks for the contributions of both the students and the Town.
As for the contributions of the citizens of St. Marys?
Perhaps we’ll have to wait a few months for those to be graded — long enough, hopefully, for the adult frogs to hop away and maybe return again later to lay the eggs that will become yet another school of tadpoles in the Sparling Bush pond.