Over the past 13 years, my class of either First or Second Graders have been members of The Green Team. Each class has initiated at least one new project to introduce to our student body. The class also has to continue the work that the previous classes have begun. Our school is a small rural school and we have only one class of each grade, making it very easy for our students to continue on with all the previous class’s Green Team initiatives! The Green Team work has been an integral part of our Science curriculum and it spills over into many other areas. Activities include Slash The Trash, No Waste Day, No Idling Zone, school wide garden, encouraging water, paper, and energy conservation, worm bins, composting, raising Brook Trout, recycling paper,plastic, metal, and glass, school wide recycling and composting ourschool lunch waste, and conduct Earth Day, Arbor Day, and Earth Hour activities.
Our class speaks to other classes to teach them about recycling, composting, Earth Hour,
and raising our Brook Trout. Because of this, the children learn how to handle themselves in
front of a crowd. This is a lifelong skill that will benefit them for many years to come. Part of our program includes a parent education piece. The children need to inform their parents about
what they have learned in class, everything from recycling to Slash the Trash to Earth Hour to energy conservation. Parents join us in working in our school garden, take part in our Trout
Troop Parade where we take the trout that we have raised from eyed eggs and parade down Main Street to the local river to release them.
Two years ago, our Green Team established plastic bag recycling at the Williamsburg. Transfer Station and we keep tabs on the progress there. We also collect aluminum can tabs that we then turn over to Shriners Hospital where they turn the tabs into a recycling company to earn money to support their programs for disabled children. As you can see, our Green Team work doesn’t just benefit our students, it benefits our whole community. The children are setting a wonderful example for the adults in town.
In September 2014, our 2 town elementary schools combined and entered a brand new
building. The children have loved being in our brand new school which has many “green ”
features and they have educated the school community about these features. Our lunch
program now has a recycling station, a compost station, and a trash station. The trash station
sees the least amount of use! Our compost either goes to our garden compost piles or to the pig farm in Hatfield. The pigs sent pictures of them eating our compost and thank you notes to the school!
Each classroom has recycling bins for plastics, paper, and glass and metals. These bins are now used at town wide events and functions that are held in our new school. We also have an electronic message board that has recycling tips and speaks to our conservation efforts at our school. We have lights that turn on and off when people enter and exit the rooms. Our heat and cooling system goes on when the sensors sense the need for heat or cooling. We now have a huge greenhouse that we can use as a gardening classroom. We use much of the food raised in both our indoor and outdoor gardens in our school lunch program and used to supply our town wide Harvest Feast in October.
Last year’s students joined a project initiated by Crayola, Inc. We collect any brand of
markers that are no longer useable and we then send out batches of discarded markers back to Crayola and they will recycle those markers. The children learned that by doing this, they are
helping to keep all that non-biodegradable plastic out of the landfills.
This year’s class decided to do a Green Team calendar that we distributed to parents,
school officials, and town officials. The calendar has drawings that the children felt were
important issues that folks need to focus on to help our Mother Earth. They chose months that the topics seem to represent and then they drew illustrations to draw attention to these
important ideas. The children feel that the calendar was a wonderful way to educate others and they would be educating people every day for a whole year!