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Schalmont environmental club prepares for planting season

March has arrived, but it's as frigid as mid-January. The Schalmont Middle School Environmental Club, however, is ignoring the cold and preparing for warmer ahead days by learning how to propagate plants, which will be replanted in the spring.

I think it increases their awareness of where our food comes from, for one thing, said Laura Milak, a Cornell Cooperative Extension resource educator who will be teaching students about the process.

Students will learn how to propagate plants through herbaceous cuttings, succulent plants and seeds. They will then take home a few small plants to sow in the spring.

Milak said her goal is to connect students to the environment by teaching them about the plants they will be propagating. Those plants include mint and a "little tiny houseplant."

"Not all plants are large. Some are very tiny and they appear like they're insignificant, but every plant has its role in the environment," said Milak.

For the past 10 years, the Environmental Club has helped Schalmont Middle School students learn how to preserve their environment. Members collect ink cartridges and recycle paper to raise money for activities, such as building birdhouses, creating a flower garden on the school campus and taking watershed tours led by the Lake George Association. They also share facts and tips on the middle school morning announcements to raise their classmates' awareness of how to conserve energy and the environment.

"We've been working with Laura Milak for the past three to five years," said Joann Lasky, Environmental Club advisor. "We had one workshop where she came in, and we created 'edible ornaments.' We took bagels and peanut butter and we dipped them in the bird seed and we hung them in trees."

Club members also made holiday garlands out of popcorn and cranberries so that the birds would have something to eat in the winter.

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