​I Am a Planet Kid

By: Elizabeth Cook

A human-sized squirrel hanging out around the town? There's no need to fret; it's just Sherwin! He's here to help kids learn how to be important planet partners!

Sherwin is a squirrel, all about science, who is part of the "I Am A Planet Kid" program. Developed by local member of the Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Educators, Diane Esser, I Am A Planet Kid is a local nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide children in the community with environmental education and to mentor in advocacy for our environment.

With the help and dedication of focused volunteer teams including Perseus House, Erie, I Am A Planet Kid is able to continue growing and living out its mission. Performing at local events and venues, such as Discover Presque Isle, Children's Science Day at Experience Erie Children's Museum, and the LEAF festival at the Arboretum at Frontier Park, Sherwin the squirrel and his friends give children lessons on various environmental concepts, all while providing entertainment in an enjoyable atmosphere.

Through original environmental content that exists only within the framework of the program, children who participate in these workshops learn about the importance of oxygen from plants, climate change, urban forestry, and more. Children are encouraged to engage in exciting environmental activities with special chants and cheers to help them remember what they are learning. Sherwin even gives out FREE worksheets and goodies to all the children who participate!

Diane Esser, a writer known for poignant and pointed pieces, has been published not only in the Erie Times, but recently the Pittsburgh Tribune with her program's voice on climate change. She attended the New York City People's Climate Change March, and recently worked with and filmed the "Earth Guardians," a youth group with an international voice for climate change. She is passionate about environmental education, advocacy, and action.

As a communication major at Penn State Erie, Diane has stepped up to create awareness videos to help the community when there is an environmental issue. Most recently, Diane stepped up to a recent beekeeper issue.

Furthermore, she produced a video for her science partners on the damage and destruction of Fracking, called Protecting and Preserving Pennsylvania's Freshwater Future from Fracking, featuring Sister Pat Lupo from the Erie Neighborhood Art House. This and many other videos produced by Diane can be viewed here.

Families with children are encouraged to become a part of the I Am A Planet Kid environmental movement by following the program on Facebook and sharing any environmental news, stories, activities, etc. The pages are updated daily with news, upcoming events, and relevant environmental information for families to consult and share with friends.

For more information, please visit their website.

or contact Diane Esser at dianesser@hotmail.com.