ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. (WCCO) — As we approach Earth Day, we wanted to tell you about a local group of students that caught our eye.

Our Erin Hassanzadeh went out to Groves Academy in St. Louis Park to meet a few seniors who have a big vision: to make their school more sustainable.

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She shows us how they’re making it happen, and the message they want other students to hear.

Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference. But there’s nothing small about the vision these students have for their school.

“Last year we really realized a lot of us are passionate about the environment,” said Olivia Dalby, a Groves Academy senior.

“It was all kind of focused on getting recycling back at the school,” said senior Luca Dalsin. “So we decided to do something about it.”

And it went far beyond a few blue recycling bins. It went up the food chain to Head of School Kim Peeples and other administrators – proposing a five-year plan to make Groves Academy more sustainable.

“It’s totally driven by the students, by their interest, by their love of the environment and wanting to turn that love into action,” said Peeples.

From crunching numbers on solar panels, to composting and building a produce garden for teachable moments, and school lunches. They’re building the garden bed planters in their wood shop. They’re learning a lot of lessons. including finding a way to pay for a lot of this.

Luca Dalsin, Silas Anderson and Olivia Dalby (credit: CBS)

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“I did not know how extensive writing a grant is,” said Dalby. “I didn’t know what it took for budgeting.”

“They have the sandbox to create those solutions,” said Peeples. “Our students hold us accountable to follow through.”

We asked if the climate change conversation is overwhelming to the students.

“For me it’s terrifying to hear what’s happening. The conversation, while it might make one uncomfortable, I believe is necessary to have,” said Dalsin.

It’s about starting small, but thinking big.

“When someone tells you ‘no,’ and it’s gonna happen, you don’t have to take that as ‘It will never happen,’” said Dalsin. “You can find another way to do it.”

They’re leaving their stamp on their school, and with it, a smaller mark on our planet.

“If you have an idea and you’re passionate about something, go for it,” said senior Silas Anderson.

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The Groves Academy Gala is this Saturday. The students are auctioning off hand-crafted, sustainably-made items to fundraise for their projects.

Erin Hassanzadeh