Eureka recognized as Virginia Natural School

Published 10:33 am Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Eureka Elementary School has been selected again as a Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) Virginia Natural School, according to VDGIF’s Wildlife Education Coordinator/ Project WILD State Coordinator Suzie Gilley in a press release.

“Eureka Elementary continues to be recognized for its longstanding commitment to preserving the environment and teaching students about the value of our natural resources. They have been recognized now for 11 consecutive years for their efforts,” said Superintendent of Charlotte County Schools Dr. Nancy Leonard.

Eureka Elementary was one of 66 schools selected and recognized for their efforts in supporting environmental conservation.

“The Virginia Naturally School Recognition Program grows with your schools efforts to teach and learn about the environment,” said Gilley.

She said there are 22 recognized schools from the public school system, one regional Governor’s School and four independent schools.

“Students have recycled, planted pollinator and other gardens, planted trees, cleaned waterways, put up bird boxes, helped local food banks, composted cafeteria waste, became bird watchers, restored wetlands and more,” said Gilley. “It is an honor to have been given the opportunity to read each application, how you have met or exceeded the goals set the year before and what each school has planned for this school year.”

The Eureka Elementary Ecology Club, started by Liz Peaden, has served as a resource at the school to facilitate environmental awareness.

Last year, the club celebrated their 10th anniversary.

“We started by celebrating the 400th anniversary of Jamestown,” Peaden said previously. “That’s how it all started. Those fourth-graders helped me plant a tree, and then that fall, they became my ecology club, because I had applied for the Virginia Environmental Endowment grant.”

During that time, she said she wanted to give the students an alternative to school that wasn’t just playground activities.

The “backyard” of Eureka Elementary School provided an ideal venue for outdoor learning and fun.

“I saw a perfect resource — woods with a developed trail and exercise equipment — that was a positive way to engage children in the outdoors,” Peaden said previously. “This opportunity is not available at many schools, and I didn’t want to see it go to waste. There are so many connections with former school staff and community members who put their energy into creating something that was meant to last a lifetime. The Eureka Nature Trail is ready to be explored and enjoyed.”

She also mentioned notoriety the club has received over the years, including being featured in the Virginia Wildlife magazine twice and being on the school recognition list for the VDGIF as a Virginia Natural School.