Murphysboro Middle School: Earth Day, Every Day!

  • Project Type: Path to Net Zero, Energy, Habitat Restoration, Outdoor Learning Space
  • Students: 36
  • Staff: 2
  • Location: Murphysboro, IL
  • Grade Levels: 6th - 8th

The Project

As a participant in the 2022-23 cohort of the Illinois Green Schools Project, the Murphysboro Middle School Eco-Action club hosted an environmental sustainability conservation campaign during the month of April in celebration of Earth Week. Each classroom was encouraged to make a Green Classroom Pledge, as well as giving individual students the option to make an Individual Pledge beyond the classroom. They will also be taking action in conservation efforts, including planting oak trees on the banks of the Big Muddy River at a local park for a flood mitigation plan. In addition, they will establish an outdoor learning lab at the school to educate students on pollinator habitat while planting milkweed and native wildflowers at a local park to aid in pollinator habitat restoration.

With the conservation efforts, students will be planted trees and native wildflower species, in addition to researching flood mitigation, biodiversity, and climate mitigation. The entire student body was involved with taking the classroom pledge and a percentage of the student body will be better educated on their ability to reduce impact and commit to taking an individualized approach by participating in a personal pledge.

Murphysboro's environmental sustainability pledges are unique because they link a mindset of thinking globally by incorporating citizen science and volunteerism. The oak trees they received are from Living Lands and Waters as a part of their Million Trees Project; and the students are planting the trees at a local park in an area that is prone to flooding. Further, Murphysboro used the Journey North citizen science platform for monarch butterflies and the Litterati app to track litter. Citizen science further exemplifies the significance of teamwork while connecting to science within our global community.


Measuring Attitudes:

A school-wide pre-survey was sent to all staff and students measuring attitudes, fascination, and engagement toward environmental sustainability, conservation, and climate change.

A school-wide post-survey will be sent to all staff and students measuring attitudes, fascination, and engagement toward sustainability, conservation, and climate change. An analysis comparing post-survey to pre-survey results will take place at the beginning of May.


What’s Next:

Murphysboro's Eco-Action Club will continue to plant native wildflowers and milkweed with more raised beds, in an effort to increase educational opportunities for the students to learn about effective restoration techniques to increase native pollinator habitats across Southern Illinois. They also plan to stay in a multi-year collaboration with Living Lands and Waters and participate in the MillionTrees Project by planting more oak trees at Riverside Park. Furthermore, they plan to continue the tradition of celebrating Earth Week/Month each April.

Murphysboro wants their school community to feel empowered to take action in their community in an effort to continue theirwork in mitigating flood risks, increasing native pollinator habitats, and reducing the impact of climate change. As they build on our program yearly, it shows the students and the greater community that lasting impactful change is achievable and accessible.