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"Love the Earth" children's book created by Shaler students to benefit Etna library

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

Abbey Nilson was recently voted one of Pennsylvania's top educators, which comes as no surprise to her students or the many community members in Shaler, Millvale, Etna and Reserve that she has reached. Abbey teaches biology at Shaler Area High School along with Sustainability classes and club. Using her science background, Abbey teaches her students about protecting the planet and stewarding the environment. Sustainability students learn about these topics both in the classroom and by getting involved in initiatives in the surrounding communities.

In 2021, Sustainability students got involved with the Borough of Millvale and Allegheny Land Trust to raise money to "Save Girty's Woods" - a campaign to purchase 155 acres of forest that spans parts of Reserve Township, Shaler Township, and Millvale Borough. The classes and Sustainability Club sold seed packets for native plants, including several types of milkweed, to help sustain the monarch population. By the end of their campaign, over $19,000 was raised and Allegheny Land Trust was able to "save Girty's Woods" from deforestation and future development.

This year, the students have created a children's book in honor of Etna Borough's effort to build an eco-friendly library and community center. The book is called "Love the Earth" and features over 60 pages of short stories, poems, activities, artwork and positive messages that will instill a love of nature and determination to protect it in young readers. Mrs. Nilson reflected on creating the book with her students:

"It is so fun and exciting to engage students in projects that have a real and meaningful impact on the community and to see their reaction to their work being part of a book."

The book is selling for $20 on the Etna Community Organization Square Store. All proceeds will go toward the development of the Etna Center for Community and Rivertown Library - Etna Branch. Printing for the book has been sponsored by Allegheny Land Trust and the Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter (Allegheny Group).

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