Each year, English teacher Sam Lucero takes his students to the San Leandro creek as part of a unit studying the Transcendentalist movement in the United States.
At the creek, students read transcendentalist poetry and philosophy and reflect on the connections between humans and nature. Students investigate what nature reveals about the human condition and consider how human consciousness informs our understanding of nature itself.
However, high volumes of litter in the creek became a distraction for students from an appreciation of nature- revealing an unseemly side of the human condition- our willingness to pollute the world that sustains us.
Undaunted by the problem, students organized a "Creek Clean-up-a-thon" and collected pledges for every bag of litter they pulled out of the creek. With a letter of support from Mr. Lucero, students went door-to-door asking neighbors for support.
Students used the funds from the clean-up to help the campus' shop class purchase materials to construct recycling bins for the school to help alleviate the community's litter problem.