KAIMUKI, Hawaii (KHON2) — Whether you like them or not, everyone can agree that masks pose a serious threat to animals in nature.

A first grade class at Wai’alae Elementary School saw the problem firsthand and came up with a solution.

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They are just learning how to read and write, but the students in Sarah Ferguson’s class at Wai’alae Elementary School learned a valuable lesson about protecting the environment when they saw a pigeon tangled in a mask near a trash can.

“I was like, ‘is that a mask or trash on it?'” said Nevaeh, a first-grade student at Wai’alae. “But I was like, ‘oh, that’s a mask.'”

“We were, like, worried about that bird,” said Yui, another first-grade student at Wai’alae. “Because we want to save our, our wildlife and we love our birds.”

So, the class started a project to urge folks to cut their masks strings before tossing them in the trash.

“If you don’t have scissors, you can just pull it.”

Jasmine, first grade student at Wai’alae Elementary School

Ferguson said the project is an example of the most critical part of her job.

“I am incredibly proud of them, and I feel like this is the most important work I do as an educator: inspiring our kids to be advocates and to speak up for creatures that cannot speak up for themselves.”

Sarah Ferguson, Wai’alae Elementary School teacher

Ferguson’s class even started a letter campaign to representatives and senators to put lids on all City trash cans so masks will not be blown away when they are thrown away.

Enso, a first-grader at Wai’alae, said the project makes him happy because he does not want to see animals suffer.

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“Cuz we wanna help each animal don’t die,” Enso said.