Published in the April 25 – May 8, 2018 issue of Morgan Hill Life

Check out the wildlife and many kid-friendly activities at the upcoming 12th annual Summit for the Planet eco-carnival and Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 28. Hosted by Mount Madonna School, this free public event features kids’ games, face painting, live wildlife and reptile exhibits, pony rides, music and food.

From barn owls and bearded dragons to California kingsnakes and turkey vultures, the opportunity to get up close and hands-on with wildlife at the Summit for the Planet event is always a huge draw. Children and adults alike seem to enjoy the many birds, reptiles and amphibians shared by the Bay Area Amphibian and Reptile Society and Wildlife Education Rehabilitation Center, two participants in this community eco-festival.

Festivities will begin at 11 a.m. with an array of fun eco-carnival games, tasty foods, exhibits and activities. Free e-waste recycling is also offered (no alkaline batteries or large appliances). The event ends at 1:30 p.m.

“Summit for the Planet simultaneously raises money for our school, so MMS can make students happy by keeping classes like physical education and taking many field trips. It also teaches people and students about how to help the environment,” said seventh-grader Mariah Cohen. “It’s a way for teachers to teach students how to recycle things and re-purpose them to help the Earth. For example, instead of buying all new clothes and wasting our materials on clothing, Summit for the Planet includes a Trash Fashion show where students are allowed to use old plastics, papers or other materials they find in the recycling bin, and turn them into wearable fashion pieces.”

A parent’s perspective

The tradition of Mount Madonna School’s Summit for the Planet for the past 11 years is a testament that through tradition, relationships are cultivated, strengthened and honored. A successful event requires community involvement and commitment. Students are encouraged to fundraise to contribute to their education and collectively reach a goal required for their favorite programs to continue. Parents are asked to volunteer their time assisting with the planning and execution of the event, a necessity to keep the event safe, organized and of course, fun. All faculty and staff pitch in by filling in wherever their help is needed, showing students they care for them beyond Monday through Friday and outside their classroom walls.radition played a huge role in my childhood. In fact, many of my fondest childhood memories can be pinpointed to a family celebration where traditions were plentiful. Sights, sounds, and smells can trigger memories and suddenly bring on the giddy feeling of nostalgia.

This year’s Summit for the Planet will start a walk-a-thon through our beautiful redwood forest and end at the upper campus ocean for the eco-carnival. Mount Madonna School students from Pre-K through 12th grade will participate in an all-school song dedicated to Mother Earth. By the end of the day our students, families and friends will have reunited and made new connections, executing the Mount Madonna School mission that “…a fulfilling life includes personal accomplishments, meaningful relationships, and service to society.”

— By Linda Gonzales

An eighth-grader’s perspective

The annual Summit for the Planet festival means a lot to me and to the Mount Madonna School community. Summit for the Planet is the time during the year when the entire school comes together to raise money to fund our school programs and celebrate Earth Day. All of the students join and work together to help our school. This effort requires team work from our whole school community to be able to set and reach a fundraising goal.

For me Summit for the Planet represents a time we all have fun together. At the start of the year, middle and high school students go on different field trips to learn more about each other and bond. But during Summit for the Planet all of the grades mix together. We all come together as a community and participate in the 5K. Afterward everyone plays the games that elementary classes have created, listen to songs, watch (or participate in) the Trash Fashion show, and showcases their science projects. Summit for the Planet is a great event for the school to raise funds and awareness, and to build stronger, meaningful connections among the students.

– By Amirah Alexander, grade eight

A sixth-grader’s perspective


Summit for the Planet is a special Mount Madonna School event because it’s more than just a fundraiser. It’s a celebration of our Earth, school, and the nature we are blessed to have. For the first part, we have an assembly explaining why we do this, strategies for getting sponsors, and play a game, like a scavenger hunt. Second, we collect money from our neighbors, friends, and families who sponsor us. Third, we take a 5K walk through the redwoods with all of our friends. Everyone gets dressed up! There are green tutus and wigs, rainbow leg warmers and pom-poms.

I always meet someone new on the hike; I just see someone walking and they start talking to me. Fourth, my favorite part, the carnival. Each grade creates an eco-friendly game, like an obstacle course or a bean bag toss. For completing each game you get wood chips. Whenever you like you can turn in your wood chips and get a prize of a plant or a healthy snack. There are also tents selling food and desserts. Summit for the Planet isn’t just a fundraiser, it’s a hike, and an eco-friendly carnival and fun for everyone. The teachers, students, friends and families are all there enjoying the student performances and celebration.

— By Bridget Smith, grade six


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