Community Learning Center of Conneaut working to save rainforests

Conneaut Elementary School

(Submitted by the Community Learning Center)

“How wonderful it is that no one need wait a single moment before starting to change the world.” –Anne Frank

And the Community Learning Center of Conneaut did just that. When students learned of an issue at hand, they did not waste any time in discussing ways they could help!

It all started with simply reading Afternoon on the Amazon, Magic Treehouse Book #6 during the program’s scheduled curriculum, Challenge Centers. While reading the book, students learned about the Amazon rainforest, wildlife that reside there, and the importance of the rainforest to all living species.

The Amazon Rainforest makes up more than 20% of the world’s oxygen and is sometimes known as “the lungs of the Earth.” Throughout the curriculum, students completed various projects such as a rainforest mural, bark painting, and rainforest animal research and drawings. During discussions about the rainforest, Anna, a 7-year-old student, suggested writing to a senator to explain the importance and recommend ways to help protect it.

Students and staff worked together to craft a letter to Senator Portman outlining what they have learned about the rainforest and why we should make strides to protect it. In the letter, students gave their thoughts and feelings about the rainforest and why it is significant.

Here is what some had to say:

“Trees make oxygen for us and cutting down the trees makes it harder to breathe.” (Eddie)

“Other people need medicines that come from plants in the rainforest.” (Charlie)

“Plants and animals die when we cut down the forest, some we don’t even know about.” (Kate)

Students even suggested to make Earth Day longer, by making it “Earth Week.”

Site Supervisor, Carrie Walland, took it upon herself to find a way to ensure the letter was sent. She did some research and found an email address for Senator Rob Portman. She sent the letter off, hoping that someone would at least read what her students found so important. What I don’t think they were expecting was a letter back from the Senator himself!

In his letter, Senator Portman outlined his various acts, which help preserve rainforests around the world, improve water and natural resources, and protect threatened wildlife species. Senator Portman also stated, “I will continue to pursue opportunities to protect our natural treasures, because I want our children and grandchildren to inherit a world with nature’s wonders intact.”

The students at Conneaut CLC were ecstatic to learn they had received a reply! Now that they knew Senator Portman was working on the issue at hand, they began to think of ways they could help more locally. This began the start of their service learning project.

Students are now thinking of ways to use less paper and are looking into recycling options. They plan to encourage the staff and students at Conneaut Elementary to consider “going green” and recycling as much paper as possible. Students will continue to work on their project to find other ways to help protect the Amazon rainforest, as well as other natural wonders around the world.

We are so proud of our Conneaut CLC students for thinking outside of the box, and trying to find solutions to protect something they may never even witness in person.

The Community Learning Centers of the Wood County Educational Service Center provide quality enrichment and extended learning activities for elementary children – grades K-5. Our daily before-school, after-school, and summer STARS programs meet the care and supervision needs of parents during out-of-school hours, while engaging children in fun learning experiences that complement their school-day instruction.

Interested in learning more about the collaboration or how to register your child for STARS? Please contact Susan Youngpeter at 419-354-9010 or visit our website,, for more information.