Girl Planting seeds
planet_protectorsStudent members of the Willard Elementary School's Planet Protectors Club learn what it means to be "green" with Deirdre Imus at Hackensack University Medical Center.
HACKENSACK, N.J., March 12, 2008 – Eager to do their part to green the world, the Planet Protectors Club from Willard Elementary School in Ridgewood, N.J., enjoyed a special lesson last week on how to “green” their school and create a safer, non-toxic learning and home environment from Deirdre Imus, president and founder of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center™.  
The eco-aware students, their teachers and parents toured the state-of-the-art Medical Center, the first in the country to adopt the award-winning Greening the Cleaning® program, and learned about the Environmental Health Center's national Greening Your School campaign recently featured in USA Today.
“We work every day to find ways to make our children’s environment healthier, so it's exciting to see a new generation inspired and adopting a responsible attitude about the world they live in,” said Ms. Imus.
Fielding questions from the 25 third- and fourth-graders, Ms. Imus explained why non-toxic indoor environments, healthy eating habits and exercise are essential for protecting children’s health. She listed five simple ways kids and adults can work together to improve the way we live: 1) Switching to “green” non-toxic cleaning products at school and at home, 2) Eating healthy lunches and snacks that include organic fruits and vegetables, 3) Recycling paper, bottles, cans, and plastic, 4) Exercising regularly, and 5) Developing energy-saving routines like turning off lights and electronics.
Across the U.S., many school districts have already implemented the Greening Your School program by replacing toxic chemical cleaning products with the award-winning line of Greening the Cleaning® eco-friendly, non-toxic cleaners. Visit the Environmental Health Center's website,, to learn more about the program.
"Dreaming Green"
Following the tour, teacher and club facilitator John Altieri commented: "We all sense the importance of healthy environments, but it’s the children who are not afraid to ask the far reaching questions. They're ready to go, and we’ve got parents and staff buzzing about the possibilities. We’re dreaming in ‘green’ over here!” Fellow club facilitators Paul Wyka and Elizabeth Macri agreed.
Planet Protector Katie Reis (grade 4) summed up the visit like this. "I will remember most what Ms. Imus told us about how [the Medical Center] can reuse the carpet, how they used denim jeans to fill in the walls [for insulation], and how wonderful it was for them to take the time and money to do all these things to go green.”
Planet Protector Luke Eckels [grade 4) said, “I think the center is important because it is an example to other people. …I am excited to share my experience.”
For those who want to start a Planet Protectors Club, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides age-specific games and activities including a detective guide for grades K-5. Members focus on making less trash and teaching others to reduce, recycle and reuse. EPA programs are also available for grades 6-8 and 9-12.
“The Planet Protectors Club is a wonderful way to empower kids who really want to create a better world,” noted Ms. Imus. “It is also a fun and responsible club activity where all children can participate and learn to develop healthy habits.”
Housed in the medical center’s David Joseph Jurist Research Center for Tomorrow’s Children, The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center ( invites interested individuals, organizations and students to see the Greening the Cleaning program in action on the medical center campus. For information, call the Environmental Health Center at 551-996-8071
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