Live Green and Earn Points


The Sewer Monster: No Match for Green Superheroes

Written by Green Schools Program .
Students at Andrew Jackson Elementary School in Philadelphia, PA, tell us about their green hero:
In this fictional story, a team of mythic green superheroes fights to save the Delaware River — but can they defeat the sewer monster and fix the problem of storm water runoff?
Students at Andrew Jackson Elementary School in Philadelphia, PA, tell us about their green hero.
WRITTEN BY: 7th Grade Students Danika, Deirra, and Vanny

At Andrew Jackson Elementary School in South Philadelphia, there were three ordinary looking girls in the seventh grade who changed the course of history.

The first girl, Valerie, was stylish, rational, and intelligent. The second girl, named Faith, was fashionable, outspoken, and irrational (but the other students loved her anyway). Last but certainly not least was Delilah, the third girl, who was independent, witty, sarcastic, and, at the most awkward moments — random. The two things all three had in common were that they shared a passion for the environment and each had super powers. Yep. They each had super powers that helped them fight society’s crimes against nature.

Delilah, Faith, and Valerie were sitting in social studies class when their highly trained ears heard loud whooshing water sounds. They all looked at each other from across the room.

“May I be excused?” asked Delilah. The other two girls caught on quickly.

“May Faith and I be excused also?” Valerie asked. “All right”, groaned the teacher, “but you three must come back together okay? And quickly.”

“No problem,” Valerie answered as she slipped out the door.

As soon as Delilah, Faith and Valerie hit the hallway, Delilah started to panic.

“What do you think is happening? Where could these sounds be coming from?!” she screamed.

“Delilah, calm down,” Valerie said with definite assurance.

Delilah sat thoughtfully for a moment, then said calmly, “You’re right Valerie. I totally panicked. The gushing running water sound practically swallowed me up.”

“Don’t worry about it. That’s our job anyway right? To worry about the earth?” said Valerie.

“Right,” Delilah replied.

Aside from the fact that the three girls were now out of class without permission, something else felt strange.

“Are you alright?” Delilah asked Faith, who hadn’t spoken a word ever since they left the classroom.

“Oh, I’m fine, really. It’s just that… well, I know what’s making those gushing sounds… and you’re not going to like it,” Faith answered.

“What is it?” asked Delilah.

“My theory morphed to life. I have always believed that if we as a society keep littering and not taking care of trash properly, then eventually the sewer water would form a mutant water monster.”

“Wowwww,” whispered Delilah, “how can we stop it?”

“And destroy it?” asked Valerie.

“If we can get neighbors to stop littering for at least an hour, than the monster will shrink back to regular sewer water, but at the rate things are going the sewer monster will contaminate the Delaware River!” warned Faith. Delilah and Faith were already half way out the door.

It turned out neighbors had unknowingly been shoving trash into the sewers — those openings at each corner on every street. They just kept shoving trash into the sewers, and on rainy days the rainfall caused enormous amounts of water to flood the streets and the sewers just couldn’t take it. The run off, litter, and all the bad pollution the neighborhood made enraged the sewer monster.

The sewer monster inhaled and swallowed as much trash as it could until it exploded out onto the streets of South Philly. The sewer monster poured into the streets, rushing into the Delaware River and causing complete devastation. Aquatic river habitats were attacked by street water run off and an entire mutant population grew in the river.

Delilah, Valerie, and Faith were transported above Love Park through Isaiah Zagar’s mosaic Magic Garden, spinning all around Independence Hall until they arrived at the river. One of the girls became the Illuminator. Another became the Transformer, and the third was the Healer. One shined a bright light on the mucky mess of the river. The second transformed the trash and pollution into usable food energy for the injured river inhabitants. The third super hero miraculously healed the injured river water creatures. The water level and habitats were revived, restored, and transformed. Better still, the matrix of these three girls’ powers got the attention of the city’s environmental experts. Institutions and organizations throughout Philadelphia worked to fix the problem of storm water run off and river pollution.

Delilah, Faith, and Valerie went back to seventh grade classes and the groovy life at Jackson School. The principal dedicated the new Rain Barrel Roof Garden to these three and at the dedication ceremony they finally revealed their other super power: Friendship.

What superpowers would your green superhero have? Share your ideas below!

Recyclebank Green Schools Program awards grants to schools in order to fund environmental projects that empower youth to green their own communities. For every 100 points donated to an accepted school, Recyclebank donates $10 to that school.

Under the guidance of Mark Levinson, Andrew Jackson Elementary School students will create a Rain Barrel Roof Garden that becomes a space for an outdoor classroom. The process of creating the garden will teach key concepts specific to rain water run off, street-to-river connections, roof top habitats, and recipes as testimonies of culture. The actual space will become a place for the neighbors and Jackson School families to learn from the environmental experts who are our partners.

Learn more about the Green Schools Program!

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  • Elaine F. 4 years ago
    The power to grow trees instantaneously.