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Llewellyn Elementary's Earth Day draws politicians

DAVID F. ASHTON - Joe Barter had fun making a Clay Dumpling seed ball at the Llewellyn Earth Day observance. When school let out for the day on Friday, April 22, the courtyard and Learning Garden at Llewellyn Elementary School on S.E. 14th Avenue in Westmoreland was abuzz with activity.

“Today is Earth Day, and we’re recognizing it, celebrating it, and exposing kids to what is most important – taking care of our planet,” beamed Llewellyn Principal Joe Galati, as he handed out stickers to students, family and friends. As part of the activities, Oregon Governor Kate Brown – a Woodstock resident – and Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley all stopped by to make brief speeches on the subject of climate change, their hopes for a “cleaner and greener future”, and to greet the attendees of the afternoon event.

Taking moment from supervising all of the activities, organizer Alexia Wellons, parent of a second grader, told THE BEE about the school’s Earth Day.

“I am the organizer for the school’s ‘Green Team’, and with the help of many parent volunteers, we put his party together to celebrate the efforts we’ve made toward getting Llewellyn to be ‘Green School Certified’.”

Several parent volunteers hosted a snack table, where they served “healthy after-school treats” – involving fresh vegetables, fruit, and chips.

A main event was planting native-compatible seeds in biodegradable “peat pots” to take home. Another was learning about, and making, “seed balls” – an ancient technique for propagating plants from seeds without opening up the soil with cultivation tools – these are commonly called “Clay Dumplings”.

Others of the students were in the Llewellyn Learning Garden, planting herbs, vegetables, and flowers in the plots.

“Our parent volunteers have taken this on, going beyond the regular school topics, to help kids learn ways they can truly make a difference, each in their own way,” Principal Galati told THE BEE. “We are giving kids an opportunity to learn about how to best serve our planet.”