We share evidence-based K-12 learning strategies that empower you to improve education.
Becoming green is a journey of a thousand miles that begin with a single step: education. Here, we can share the stories, ideas, and resources that keep us going.
What types of green projects can be found around your classroom and/or school?
Students from three different grades manage the school's recycling program (including administrative offices).
Every year students from 1st grade through 8th participate in a Longleaf Pine Restoration project, planting trees in various locations.
Every class has a themed garden they cultivate -- some for food, some for habitat.
Two years ago we installed solar panels.
Two grades currently participate in the GLOBE program, collecting data on water quality.
Hi Jason, At my child's local elementary school in CA, we have many wonderful gardens: the Kinder-Garden, Rain Garden, Colonial Garden, Native American Garden & a Main Garden. Most of the gardens are maintained by parent volunteers and a kids "garden club" however some teachers are beginning to introduce gardening as part of their curriculum.
Very cool, Cindy. I forwarded the site url to my school's art teacher. I really like the range of projects your students have going in the gardens (not to mention the variety of gardening styles. We try to follow a very similar model, but am definitely getting some ideas from Dixie's approach. Thanks!
Sorry to be a link hog, but it's the easier way for me to share this info. I hope you find it useful!
We started off with tree nurseries and a native wildflower garden:
…before we took on our most ambitious project — a constructed wetland:
(successive posts detail its continual development).
Two of the tree nursery beds at the school were converted into an organic vegetable garden earlier this year:
…and, at another school, we've just completed a low-impact nature trail:
…complete with interpretive signage:
Looking forward to reading about what other projects are out there.
Wow. Great post, Dave. On the gardening front another resource is Edutopia's coverage (video and article) of Berkeley's curriculum-based Edible Schoolyard gardening program:
In Palm Beach County, FL, our district has mandated recycling at every school and the school board is making strides to reduce energy and water consumption throughout our HUGE district. Here are a variety of projects we are implementing/have implemented at our little school.
Self sustaining recycling: We have to pay for commingle recycling (plastic, glass, aluminum) service, so our green guru managed to work out a deal with a paper recycling company that pays for our paper recyclables. As long as we recycle enough paper (newspaper, copy paper, notebook paper, etc.) it pays for our commingle recycling service. While we have always used PLENTY of paper, we are also making an effort to reduce our paper consumption, so we have also asked parents to bring their paper recyclables from home (most household recycling services do not accept office paper).
Community Garden: In addition to class gardens, we participate in a community garden project. Down the street from our school, a local church started a community garden - 50% of our harvest must be donated to a local food bank. Students and parents work the garden (organized by our PTA). We grow broccoli, lettuce, peppers, cukes, and other veggies.
Hydroponic Garden: This year we are starting a hydroponic garden and plan to grow strawberries! Another local school, Pine Jog Elementary, has a very successful hydroponic garden and offered a workshop on getting one started. Then our long-time business partner, Office Depot, offered to provide the funds for our first hydroponic garden setup ($350). If all goes well, we hope to add another setup each year.
The students will participate in scientific investigations comparing the growth of our plants in the hydroponic garden to plants in container gardens and plants in the ground. Students will measure the water and electricity (for hydroponic) used and the harvests produced from each.
Vermiculture: Our green guru started a vermiculture compost project. She has a large basin with about 1000 worms who graciously accept our donations of organic waste (lunch scraps) and efficiently turn them into rich compost. Of course we use the compost on our classroom gardens! It is amazing to everyone that the vermiculture does not create any odor whatsoever! Very cool classroom project!
Rain Barrels: A few of our teachers started rain barrels this year for their gardens. With the help of parent volunteers, they created a rain barrel system that collects and stores rain water and is connected to a hose that distributes (irrigates) the water across the classroom garden as needed.
Community Partnership: We have created a partnership with the local neighborhood association - they volunteer to tend our class gardens all summer so that the plants do not die. We asked them to harvest any fruits/veggies that ripen (they keep them for their families) throughout the summer. Through this partnership, our plants remain healthy and safe - the neighbors take care of our campus and we do our little part to help the neighborhood!
Our latest plan is to start another partnership with a local museum. We want to start an annual Earth Day art project - to paint an eco-mural on a public building each year. We hope to create a collaboration between the Old School Square Museum and among high schools, middle schools and elementary schools in our small town to work together to paint at least one mural each year for Earth Day. Wish me luck!
What is the GLOBE program?
In our elementary school the Going Green Committee came up with an idea to reduce the amount of trash that we create during lunchtime. Our project, entitled SMASH THE TRASH! will run for three weeks in April, with each week giving students the opportunity to "earn" points for bringing in reusable drink bottles, reusable lunch bags/boxes and reusable food containers. The evidence of our success will be the decreased amount of garbage (measured by the number of garbage bins) that we have at the end of the month. Grade levels compete against each other with staff members included and able to earn points for their grade level. Friendly competition will encourage everyone to participate and help to make small changes in their everyday life.
Awesome posts and ideas. Very inspiring!! Where would any of you suggest looking for some grants or anything to help fund projects?
One place is Kids Gardening. They have a gardening grant program that is pretty good. http://www.kidsgardening.com/grants.asp
You can also look at Discovery Ed's grants here: http://livegreen.discoveryeducation.com/