STEMM Idols from Five Rivers MetroParks

The week leading up to Earth Day, observed April 22, has long been reserved for celebrating environmental education and awareness. The CJ STEMM program is kicking off the week’s activities on the corner of Franklin and Ludlow with two guest presenters from one of Ohio's premier public park systems, Five Rivers MetroParks.

All students are invited to join guests Bob Butts and Elyse Dean of Wegerzyn Gardens during homeroom periods Tuesday, April 16 to learn more about some of the summer volunteer opportunities available there.

According to its Web site, Wegerzyn Gardens -- located about 10 minutes north of CJ off Siebenthaler Avenue -- provides patrons with outdoor “learning experiences in gardening, horticulture, the environment, and urban land stewardship of the River Corridor.” The month's first CJ STEMM Idol Speaker Series presentation will focus on the organization’s Garden Experience Mentor (GEM) program.

GEM volunteers work and play with kids and families in the Children’s Discovery Garden to explore, share and introduce others to the joys of nature and gardening. The program begins with training dates in May and shifts run through the fall season. No prior gardening experience is necessary to become involved.

For more information about becoming a GEM, students are encouraged to attend the April 16 STEMM Idol session or visit the Wegerzyn Gardens volunteer page at

City of Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell and the Board of County Commissioners in Montgomery County recently proclaimed April 2013 as Five Rivers MetroParks Month. The 19-facility park system, which was created on April 8, 1963 and known then as the Montgomery County Park District, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this spring. Visit to learn more.

Guest Don Bretl, a mechanical engineer with Procter & Gamble, will speak with CJ students during all homeroom periods Tuesday, April 30 about the research, development and production of his company's Pur water filtration packets. As part of P&G's Children's Safe Drinking Water program -- which has garnered the support of the Sisters of Notre Dame and the CJ Senior Justice Project -- packets are being distributed to people in need across the world.