VEC for Kids

Looking for a
Dictionary of Environmental Terms?

We got an extract from the New Jersey
Environmental Primer just for you!

Asian longhorn beetle

Attention geocaching fans: the Verona EC cache "The Grove" is now live, you can get the GPS coordinates HERE - This is a real-world, free outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of coordinates and then attempt to find the hidden cache (container) at that location. If you take something from the cache, leave something of equal or greater value. Write about your find in the cache logbook. The Geocaching Logo is a registered trademark of Groundspeak, Inc. Used with permission. Happy geocaching!

Tips for Kids

Kids can help to save water. Even if you do each day just one of the things listed below you’re doing the right thing! For more water conservation tips please visit The Water Page.

  • Don’t leave the water running while you wash your hands. Wet your hands and turn the water off completely. Use soap and then turn the water on to rinse.
  • Don’t leave the water running while you’re brushing your teeth. Turn the faucet on to get your toothbrush and toothpaste wet, and then again to rinse your mouth and toothbrush. 
  • Tell adults at home and at school when faucets are dripping or toilets liking so it can be repaired. A liking toilet can waste 600 gallons each month! Suggest them to use “low-flow” toilet and shower head to conserve water. A regular shower head uses as much as 7 gallons of water every minute!
  • Take short showers instead of baths. Bath use a lot of water, about 37 gallons!
  • Use a wastebasket for used tissues, or things like gum wrappers or paper towels. Don’t flush them. The average flush uses as much as 5 gallons of water!
  • Do you have plants in your house? When meals are prepared and vegetables or other fresh produce are washed, collect that water and use it to water the plants. Or put a barrel outdoors to catch rain water and use it to water your plants.
  • Do you like a drink of cold water now and then? Rather than running the kitchen faucet for several minutes to get cold water, keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator.
  • If there is a dishwasher in your house, encourage everyone to scrape their plates rather than rinse them before loading them into the machine. It should always be full before turning it on.
  • In the summertime, it’s fun to play under the lawn sprinkler. When you do, make sure it’s when the lawn is being watered at the same time. If the adults in your home occasionally water the lawn, encourage them to water in the cooler parts of the day (early morning, or after sunset), and never on windy days. This prevents water being lost to evaporation. Suggest adults to mow as high as the mower goes (3 to 4 inches). A taller cut helps shade out weeds and conserve moisture.

Verona kids are doing their green homework!

Poster Exhibit: Every year since 2009 Verona public elementary schools' students help to improve our air quality by participating in the VEC’s Idle Free Verona annual poster contest. All artwork submitted in 2011 is currently on display at the Essex County Environmental Center in Roseland, NJ. Open to all and free of charge! Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm and Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm.  The Center is located at 621 Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland, NJ 07068. Pictured is Tara Casella, the center's director visiting the exhibit. For more information please call the ECEC at (973) 228-8776.

Visit the new Walk to School Day and Idle Free poster contest pages with plenty of photos from the event and continue walking throughout the year!

Green Cleaning: In early 2009, ten students from Laning Avenue School attended a Board of Education meeting to ask that "green" cleaning products be used at Verona's schools.The students reminded us all of the health hazards associated with traditional cleaning products. The school district is currently phasing out cleaning 

Forest Avenue School celebrated Earth Day by hosting four Recycling Workshops on 2013. Students Grade 1 through 4 participated in hands-on presentations organized by the school SCA and the Verona Environmental Commission. Students demonstrated how to flatten corrugated cardboard boxes to be dropped off at the Verona Recycling Center. They sorted out items for recycling collection learning the difference between aluminum and tin cans, corrugated cardboard and paper board, etc. They learned about household hazardous waste and items made with 100% recycled content. Sometimes recycling can be a bit confusing, but now students are experts on Verona's Recycling Programs! Pictured student Stephanie Zimany sorting recyclable items.products that are not environmentally friendly. Well done!

F.N.Brown Eco Fair

F. N. Brown School holds an Annual Eco-Fair on May every year. About 250 students participate creating amazing objects with recycled materials, such as musical instruments, animals, historical figures and posters.

Students play the commission's educational games, such as “How Long it Takes to Decompose”, pictured here with the VEC member Gerard Shimonaski. All grades visit the exhibit and learn environmental facts during the school day. The exhibit remains open after school for the whole family to attend.

The three R's

To help Verona save money and go "Green" please watch our presentation about Verona's Recycling Programs here, created by VEC members targeting third and fourth grade students.

The VEC presented this program at the following schools: Forest Ave., Laning Ave. (pictured left), F.N.Brown, Brookdale Ave. and Our Lady of the Lake. SEE MORE PICTURES HERE

The three R's of the environment are reduce, reuse and recycle. Every year we throw away 50 billion of food and drink cans in the U.S. More than 30% of our waste is packaging materials and 85% of our garbage goes to a dump; where it can take hundreds of years to decompose. We are running out of space! Don't buy things you don't need or items that come in wasteful packaging. Avoid also things that cannot be recycled. Reduce consumption, reuse manufactured products and recycle whatever you can.

The Verona Recycling Center located at 10 Commerce Ct. is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm.

Great places to visit:

Earth Science, Weather and Space


Ask an Earth Scientist
USGS Water Science for Schools
Ask a Geologist
The Astronomy Café
Weather Myths
USGS for Kids

Environment and Nature

EPA for Kids
NIEHS Kids Pages
Museum of Natural History for Kids
NOAA-Ocean and Atmosphere
National Geographic
AAEA Endangered Animals

Science Projects


Kids’ Do It Yourself Science

Ready to Go to School...GREEN?

Considering that in the U.S. we throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour and 86% of those are NOT recycled; going to school offers a great opportunity to go "green". The first two ingredients of a low-waste lunch are a reusable lunch container and a refillable bottle. Try "I will pack my own lunch and avoid disposable packaging" or "This will be the year I walk to school every time". Improve your health while you help the planet!
Ready to get greener? Check out GO TO SCHOOL GREEN!

Games and Activities

  • Welcome to Recycle City! This kid friendly site from the EPA has games, activities, and fun facts to show you why recycling is so important.

  • Soil Composting Activity This fun activity can show you how to make fertile soil out of things you would find in a trash can. Fertile soil helps plants grow and can provide food for lots of people.

  • Sort Mania Game This game by the Enviromental Protection Agency that will show you how to sort and recycle.
  • Planet Protectors Club Check out how you can be a member of the Planet Protectors Club for Kids! It involves fun games and activities.
  • Yucky Worm World Check out the yuckiest site on the internet and how worms are professional recyclers.
  • Paper University Can you get your diploma at the University of Paper? Don't forget to click the Fortune Teller for fun paper facts.

  • Water Conservation Fun Water conservation starts with you, so go have some fun and learn new tips in the tip tank!

  • The Imagination Factory At the imagination factory, you can be creative and make art from garbage. Creating art is another, awesome way to recycle.

  • Ecology Kid's Page This website will show you why waste reduction is important. And of course there are cool games to help you learn.
  • Ollie's World Click on the kid's collection and join Ollie's Club. Meet his friends, hang out on his island, and help him save the planet.
  • Recycle Roundup The National Geographic has created this amazing game to help you recycle. Do you have two minutes to spare?
  • Recycle Works Kids Connect the paper chain, learn when trash is really trash, and play more recycle games.
  • Kid's Recycling Zone Learn an awesome magic trick, sort out the truths, and train to be a super hero.

  • Meet the Greens Green fashion, green garbage, green games, and a green planet!

Learn More Fun Facts

  • Recycling This site will tell you interesting facts about recycling and then you can test your knowledge with these fun quizzes.

  • Hey! Don't Throw That Out! Read what Dr. Watts and Dr. Edwards have to say about recycling.

  • The Green Squad First you get to meet the squad. Then learn if your school is doing its part. Take an interactive tour. And encourage your school to do more.
  • Kids Recycle Your school can become a Zero Waste School and you can help. There is a section for teachers, too!
  • Green Planet 4 Kids Meet a family that recycles. They are not exactly what you think. Plus, you might find a section full of comics.

  • NIEHS Kids' Pages Do you know what the 3R's are? Check if you're right.
  • Wonderful World of Waste Check out five fun steps to making waste go away in an Earth-friendly way.

  • Recycling Facts & Trivia When was the first piece of recycled paper made? What are tin cans really made of? How long can a 100-watt light bulb work from recycling one glass bottle?


  • Roscoe's Recycle Room Come and meet my friend Roscoe! He is really excited about recycling. Click here to find out why.
  • Kids Ecology Corps Become a real member of this club that is dedicated to protecting the environment. Kids can make a difference.

Learn About Saving Energy

  • Energy Kids Energy is an important part of recycling. This site can tell you how.

Arts and Crafts

Children Literature

The following 10 environmental children’s
books are amongst our favorites.

  1. Brother Eagle, Sister Sky by Susan Jeffers
  2. Earth Book For Kids by Linda Schwartz
  3. The Everything Kids’ Environment Book by Sheri Amsel
  4. It's Not Mean to be Green by Jamie Kleman
  5. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  6. The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry
  7. The Lorax  by Dr. Seuss
  8. The Tree by Dana Lyons and David Lane Danioth
  9. The Three R’s: Reuse, Reduce, Recycle by Nuria Roca
  10. This Is My Planet: The Kids’ Guide to Global Warming by Jan Thornhill

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss


This tale, told in Dr. Seuss' trademark rhymes, is a good introduction to environmental awareness. Ages 4 and up.

25 minutes movie (1972).

The VEC recommends

Check out PBS EekoWorld (Environmental Education for Kids Online), designed to help children between the ages of 6 and 9 learn about the important role they can play in taking care of the earth. 

General Science Stuff

Nasa Kids Club

Science Fact Monster

EncycloZine (Science Encyclopedia)

How Stuff Works

Mad Scientist Laboratory


The Why Files (Grades 5-12)