Sustainability Spotlight: Lefler Middle School Climate Chronicles Club

This month’s Sustainability Spotlight is shining on Lefler Middle School’s Climate Chronicles Club. The club’s members are working towards an impressive goal: combining activism and the arts into a play about climate change.

A few Lefler students were already in an arts and crafts club led by community volunteer Judy Hart when Hart floated the idea of creating Climate Chronicles. As this new group grew, they began to read and discuss climate-related plays and stories. A shared interest in Hamilton, plus Hart’s decades of theater experience, inspired students to take on writing a play of their own.

The group’s overall enthusiasm for sustainability leads to lively discussions at weekly club meetings. Each student brings a unique perspective and skill set to the planning conversation. Seventh grader Jessie came to a recent meeting prepared with statistics to add to the script, sixth grader Leo asked the group to consider how the storyline could incorporate different types of conflict, and eighth grader Annalee offered to refine the overall storytelling approach. 

Hart encouraged students to consider what they hope an audience will take away from the play. Their responses included waste disposal, climate change’s impacts on people and animals, and even the idea that young people need adults’ help to make change happen.

“I want people to know that this will affect them if they don’t do anything. It’s not just an afterthought.”

Judy Hart and Lefler students set up for club meeting

Sixth-grader Ian also shared that climate change is not the only thing people should consider. “The UN 17 goals are actually pretty nice, too,” he said, “Because they consider various topics like poverty, peace, innovation, and climate change.” Ian joins club meetings from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, via speakerphone and is one of several additional perspectives Hart brings into planning conversations.

Without giving too much away, Hart and Climate Chronicles Club members use their own experiences to inform the interactions between characters in their play. “The whole basis for [these characters] is that they don’t all agree,” Hart said. “They get really loud and they all talk at the same time… but they work through it.”

Climate Chronicles Club is writing the play with a middle school and upper-elementary audience in mind. Lefler sixth grader Jackson said he hopes that other students will “connect the enjoyment of the play to what they learned so they will remember it.” Hart does not yet have plans for a full-scale production, but envisions being able to share the script with the community and other schools once it is complete.

Until then, Climate Chronicles Club will continue to meet and discuss the script and the issues they are all passionate about. These conversations are what seventh-grader Liam called out as his favorite part of his Climate Chronicles experience: “Talking with my friends, talking with Judy, talking about climate change… basically everything that we do in the club.”

We at LPS Sustainability are so impressed by this undertaking, and all the hard work that Judy Hart and Climate Chronicles Club have put into writing this play. We can’t wait to read the final script!

Climate Club Chronicles students recreate a planning discussion