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Northland Pines students help with Earth Day projectSubmitted: 04/20/2016
Story By Chad Roethlisberger

Northland Pines students help with Earth Day project
EAGLE RIVER - Earth Day may still be a couple days away, but students at Northland Pines High School got an early start with some community service.

Nine buses took the kids to different locations in the Eagle River area Wednesday. This is the 13th year that Northland Pines High School has been taking part in the community service project.

"We're doing what we call our Earth Day Community Service Project," said SOAR Administrator Ann Perry. "It started as an idea from a group of teachers from a different school district where they send students out into the field just to give back to the community and take care of the environment."

Many of the spring sport teams went out together as a group for the project. Organizers hope that it will help spark more interest for the students to give back to the community.

"I think a lot of times people get nervous about the word service or community service," said Perry. "They think it's a punishment, and it really isn't. A lot of our groups will go out and look forward to this day. I've heard a lot of my students say, 'It's one of my favorite days because I get to go out.' A lot of our teams go out together so we have our girl's soccer team going out as a group so it's a little bit of team building."

Each group had between five and eight locations to work at Wednesday. The students enjoyed spending a day outside the classroom to help make a difference in their community.

"Well, [Wednesday] our school went out to surrounding communities of Eagle River for Earth Day, and we're all raking and picking up yards for people who are either disabled or can't physically do it themselves," said Northland Pines senior BethaLynn Bontrager.

The reaction from students was very positive.

"I think it's good to get involved with the community and help people, like Beth said, who aren't able to do yard work," said Northland Pines junior Laine Vanden Boom. "We can contribute to the community and give back to them."

Along with helping residents in Eagle River, the students also enjoy being able to spend a day with their team off the playing field.

"I guess this is a really good opportunity for teams," said Bontrager. "Like, we're the softball team so we get to team bond. In previous years I've been on the track team, and we go from yard to yard having fun, raking, listening to music, and helping people."

Many groups stopped for a cookout during the lunch hour, with work finishing up in the afternoon.


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