A Spotlight on Creativity and Learning: 13th Annual Summit for the Planet Celebration and Eco-carnival

Place a marble in the chute and watch it speed along the highs, lows, twists and turns of themed, model rollercoasters! Stand trackside for the team-built solar car races! See customized, scale-model tiny homes and blueprints; or catch the “catwalk,” as young designers model original clothing made from recycled packaging, fabrics and other items!

Student creativity and learning – including projects to protect sea otters and an effort to eliminate plastic pollution – will be on full display along, with many kid-friendly activities at the 13th annual Summit for the Planet celebration on Saturday, April 27. Hosted by Mount Madonna School (MMS), this FREE public event runs 11:00am-1:30pm and features eco-carnival games, face painting, live wildlife and reptile exhibits, vendor displays and learning expo, pony rides, music and tasty foods.

“For me Summit for the Planet represents a time when we all have fun together,” shared freshman Amirah Alexander. “At the start of the school 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, preschool through seniors. We all come together as a community to play the games that the elementary classes have created, listen to songs, watch (or participate in) the Trash Fashion show, and see the science projects. Summit for the Planet is a great event for the school to raise funds and awareness, and also to build stronger, meaningful connections among the students.”

The celebration will spotlight environmental education, and participants will include Bay Area Herpetological Society (BAHS), offering a chance to see lizards, snakes, frogs, turtles and tortoises up close; FishWise, promoting the health and recovery of ocean ecosystems; Honeybee Ceramics, original designs by Beth Sherman; the Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Center, with some of its rescued birds; India Gourmet vegetarian cuisine; Marianne’s Ice Cream; Monterey Bay Farms’ sun-ripened, organic strawberries; Mt. Madonna Stables pony rides; World Centric compostable food service products; and Areperia 831’s, vegan Venezuelan BBQ. Attendance at this annual event has grown to some 500 people of all ages, from across south Santa Clara County and the Monterey Bay areas.

“FishWise was conceived here in Santa Cruz by two UCSC grad students who shared a deep love and appreciation for the Monterey Bay,” explained FishWise Chief Executive Officer and MMS alumnus (’94) Tobias Aguirre. “Over time, due to the seafood industry’s global nature, our work has evolved to focus on improving the sustainability of national and international fisheries and aquaculture operations.

“Being part of the Summit for the Planet celebration provides an opportunity to ‘come home’ and deepen our relationship within our local community” he continued. “We at FishWise are grateful for the civically engaged Santa Cruz and Santa Clara county communities, and invite others who care deeply about the health of our oceans and the people that depend on them – this impacts us all – to learn more about our work.”

The support of key sponsors for Summit for the Planet is very important for sustaining and growing this festival, and event organizers are honored that numerous local businesses are participating, including presenting sponsors SunRidge Farms, the Michael Lee Environmental Foundation (MLEF), and Lazy Suzan Designs. Additional community sponsors include: KAZU 90.3FM, SantaCruzParent.com, Morgan Hill Life, Gilroy Life, and the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

“The annual Summit for the Planet connects the MMS community with local organizations and businesses supporting the environment and teaching young people the importance of stewardship,” commented Head of School Mary Supriya McDonald. “It’s a day of play and fun for families and all the visitors who join us on the mountaintop. ”

Things to know when you go:
13th annual Summit for the Planet eco-carnival, April 27 from 11:00am-1:30pm. Hosted by Mount Madonna School, 491 Summit Road, Mount Madonna, located 2.5 miles off of Hwy. 152, between Gilroy and Watsonville. The celebration has FREE admission. For more information visit: SummitforthePlanet.org and on Facebook at facebook.com/summitfortheplanet, or email [email protected].

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Contact: Leigh Ann Clifton, director of marketing & communications, [email protected]

Nestled among the redwoods on 355 acres, Mount Madonna School (MMS) is a community of learners dedicated to creative, intellectual, and ethical growth. MMS supports its students in becoming caring, self-aware, discerning and articulate individuals; and believe a fulfilling life includes personal accomplishments, meaningful relationships and service to society. The CAIS and WASC accredited program emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville. Founded in 1979.