Sunday, April 22, 2018

Earth Day Groceries Project on Facebook! 4/22/18

Please take a look at some of the incredible stories from all over the world - and share!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Send in Your Report 4/19/18

Dear Earth Day Groceries Project Participants,

It's almost Earth Day, and I hope you've had a great time with the project! Please take a minute to share your experiences with everybody else. You can do that via:

  • The Project website, at Send in Your Report (certificate you can print out, at the end)
  • Post a comment (and pictures!) on the Facebook page. They'll be shared up front for everyone to see!
  • If you are a Flickr user, you can share pictures on our Flickr Page.
Scoala cu clasele I-VIII, Cioranii de Sus, Prahova, Romania, 2009

Many thanks to you all, and Happy Earth Day!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

New Press Release 4/15/18

With one week to Earth Day, here's an updated press release that participating schools and organizations can distribute to media. Click to view/print/download:

Friday, April 13, 2018

Backgrounds for phones/desktops 4/13/18

It's been a longstanding tradition for the Earth Day Groceries Project to offer free computer  background images of the Birds of Washington. This year, for the 25th Anniversary of the project, we offer  phone/tablet versions as well!

They can be found on the website at Desktop Wallpaper.

Here's what I'm using from 2018....
On my Chromebook laptop, I look at a stunning Red-breasted Sapsucker:
On my phone there is a gorgeous Gyrfalcon:

On my desktop, I have this wise, wide screen Barred Owl:

There are several dozen more to choose from, in high definition...
 Head to:

Happy Earth Day!!

Mark Ahlnessfounder  - The Earth Day Groceries Project

Sunday, April 08, 2018

How to Participate 4/8/18

Earth Day is on April 22nd. There is still time to get involved and participate!
(Reposted from 3/16/18, with new pictures)

Here's a brief rundown on what's involved in participating in the Earth Day Groceries Project.

1. Locate a local grocery store that uses paper bags. Explain the project to the manager, and ask if you can "borrow" enough bags so each student in your school or classroom can decorate one.

2. Distribute the bags throughout your school, and explain the project to classrooms who would like to participate.

3. Give students enough time - and guidance - so they can create beautiful artwork and environmental messages on their bags.
Ormondale School in Portola Valley, CA - 2006
4. Return the decorated bags to the store before Earth Day (April 22), and ask that the store distribute the bags to shoppers on Earth Day.
Bags given to Curt, the Safeway manager by Arbor Heights Elementary, in Seattle, 2010
5. Send in a brief report - on the websiteFacebook, or even this blog, via a comment - to share how your project went. 

That's it. You can find much more detailed information and helpful suggestions on the website at Get Started.

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Earth Day's in 3 Weeks - No Foolin'! 4/1/18

Earth Day is on April 22nd every year. It's always been one of the basic goals of the Earth Day Groceries Project to spread and hammer home that fact.

When my third graders visited all the classrooms in the school to explain the project and hand out classroom bags, they always talked about this. But after just a few years, they didn't need to even mention it anymore - everybody in our school knew Earth Day was April 22nd.

Except the Kindergartners. So, the lucky kids who got to speak with those little ones knew they had a little extra to talk about, along with the added responsibility of explaining the Project for the first time, to kids who knew nothing about it.
Explaining the Project to a Kindergarten class, 2007
It wasn't easy for my 8 and 9 year olds to walk into a classroom, get up in front of a class, and talk for 10-15 minutes. In fact, for most of them, it was pretty scary. There were all those smarty pants 5th graders, for instance. And they had to take - and answer - questions. So we practiced public speaking in our own classroom,in front of their classmates.

For two days they practiced, and then there were two very chaotic days when they went out to speak with classrooms and deliver bags. It was a powerful learning experience. Here's what a speaking schedule looked like:
Classroom speaking schedule. Yes, we had a chalkboard.

When a whole school participates, there is an excitement in the air. Some schools offer contests of one sort or another, usually around creative and beautiful artwork. Some schools literally cover the walls with decorated bags before returning them to the store.
Navarre, Florida, 2011

Some schools make an event out of delivering the bags to their store - a great experience for everyone:
Meeting the manager, Smith Renaissance School of the Arts at King Soopers grocery store, Denver, CO, 2010
There are many more ways to create meaningful learning opportunities. If you had special "twists" you added to the Project in your school, please feel free to share with others - by either leaving a comment here, or on our Facebook Page.

I hope your school or organization can join in this year - April 22nd!. Happy Earth Day!

Mark Ahlnessfounder  - The Earth Day Groceries Project

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Looking for a Lesson Plan? 3/28/18

Whether you are thinking about participating for the first time, or have done the project for many years, there is a fantastic lesson plan that has something helpful for everyone:

Protecting Our Precious Planet: Sharing the Message of Earth Day

Folwell Elementary in Rochester, MN
The lesson plan was written by Melissa Weimer from Waterford, Michigan - for ReadWriteThink, which is a part of the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) and the ILA (International Literacy Association).
Looking for learning standards for the Earth Day Groceries Project? They are listed for all 50 states. 

Besides linking back to the Project website for various parts of the lesson plan, she has developed wonderful new materials that can be printed out and used in the classroom, like:

One of the most rewarding parts of running this Project for 25 years has been the opportunity to meet so many fantastic teachers, always willing to share - and always passionate about teaching, their students, and protecting our environment.

In 2002, I did an interview for Reading Online, part of the International Reading Association, with Jean Carmody, an art teacher in Rhode Island:

You can find the above links on the Project website, at