Third- and fourth-graders rushed across the quad at Parkview School on Tuesday, huddling around a gray trash can to ladle a few scoops of dirt into their one-quart milk cartons.
Once back at their lunch tables, the students embedded three seeds the size of Tic-Tacs into the carton with hopes the seeds would develop into full-fledged pines.
It was Earth Day, a time to pay increased attention to environmental issues. Schools throughout Ventura County paid homage to Mother Nature by planting trees, constructing imitation rain forests and discussing environmental issues.
At Parkview School, three Seabees--from the Port Hueneme Naval Construction Battalion Center just around the corner--visited the campus to impart a brief Earth Day history and tree-planting lesson for the 64 students.
"If we don't take care of our planet, where are we going to live?" said Tom Webb, an environmental engineer for the Navy. "I don't know if our kids understand this."
But third-grader Mario Alvarado seemed to comprehend the dire consequences of a world without sweeping willows, towering pines, or fragrant eucalyptuses.
"We won't have oxygen," said Mario, 8. "We won't have wood for making houses, and the animals won't have houses in the trees."
Classmate Ricardo Mendoza added his message: "We don't have to cut trees if we don't need to. Then we won't have to cut the treehouses."