When Bordewich-Bray Elementary School students return to class next week, they will be surrounded by reminders to conserve energy and protect the Earth.
One of the most obvious will be green covers on light switches throughout the school.
"Hopefully, it will become a little more habitual for the kids to turn the lights off when they leave a room," said Rachel Barilla, second-grade teacher.
She and other volunteers from the school's Green Team, a club dedicated to promoting environmentally friendly practices, have spent part of their spring break working on a variety of projects.
In addition to painting green all of the light switch covers, they also prepared beds where students will plant gardens in the coming weeks.
Each grade level will be given an 8-foot plot to grow what they choose.
"They will be given a list of crops that might be ready to go before they get out for the summer," said club leader Kristina Britt, a speech therapist at the school. "We want to keep it mostly vegetables and all organic."
The students also will be able to decide what to do with their harvest. Likely it will go to charitable organizations such as Food For Thought, which provides students in need with food for their families.
Parent volunteer Wendy Thornley said she hopes it also encourages students to try healthier foods and see the world in a new perspective.
"If they see it growing right there, they might be more willing to taste it," she said. "This is how you become a global citizen, knowing where your food comes from and how everything comes together."
About 50 students show up for meetings, which are held before school. Organizers credit support from the parent-teacher association and the school's administration for the club's success, as well as donations from Lowe's, Home Depot, Greenhouse Garden Center, Full Circle Compost and a grant from the Desert Research Institute.
Thia Crittenden, 8, is a member of the Green Team and promotes recycling.
"If you just throw all this stuff away, it can do bad things to the Earth and to the ocean and all of the animals that might think it's food," she said.
People will suffer too, said Maxwell Thornley, 8.
"If we don't (recycle), we'll just be living in a big junkyard," he said.