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I have a professional green initiative to use less than one piece of paper per student per day. My assessments take the form of podcasts, interactive whiteboard activities, and electronic portfolios. Instead of buying copy paper, I bought thumb drives for my students.
Centennial Elementary School
We have implemented a recycling program to collect paper, plastic, aluminum, and cardboard. Last year, we collected 6,500 pounds of paper. We collected enough aluminum to help a student pay for a trip with her Spanish class. We removed hundreds of pounds of plastic and cardboard, keeping them out of our landfills and waterways.
Indian Trails Middle School
Palm Coast, Florida
Our school raised enough money to buy solar panels to power the sign in front of the school. We are hoping to continue buying solar panels to take other projects off the grid.
Loudoun Valley High School
The Planting Seeds of Change program began last school year for at-risk middle school students as a project-learning experience to promote healthy eating habits and reduce childhood obesity.
We teach students to garden. Due to the academic and behavior-changing success, this project has grown from a small group of students to a partnership with the hospital, over a dozen master gardeners, and a community of individuals who now have introduced gardens in several other elementary schools, as well as at the local high school.
Seven Oak Middle School
Our students are encouraged to pack their own lunches in reusable lunch bags and to attempt to pack so that there is little or no trash after items have been recycled and reused. Each table collects its trash and places it on a tray. The tray that has the least amount of trash on it is declared the winner. That table gets awarded the "no yuck" trophy for the week.
Middle school language arts teacher
St. Bartholomew School
I am a cosponsor of our school's Green School Initiative, a group of students and faculty who have united to transform our 100-plus-year-old school into an environmentally friendly and responsible institution. We have begun a series of projects (all organized and led by students) that includes
- installing water-bottle fill-up stations on drinking fountains to promote reuse of water bottles.
- recycling waste vegetable oil from our school cafeteria and converting it to biodiesel fuel for use in our school tractors.
- creating a turtle-and-butterfly sanctuary to rescue and rehabilitate injured turtles in our city.
- creating a series of native prairie restorations on our school campus (removing turf grass and planting native prairie plants).
- organizing a citywide prescription-drug-disposal program.
- organizing an organic-food fest in our school cafeteria each spring.
Highland Park High School
Highland Park, Illinois
Our school has recycling programs for paper, magazines, aluminum cans, plastics, cardboard, and even Crocs shoes. Our school, supported by our Planet Parent team, participated in the Terracycle program, for which we recycle drink pouches and cookie wrappers to earn money for the school. Last year, we recycled 24,000 drink pouches and 1,700 cookie wrappers. We also have a Green Patrol of fourth graders who collect recycling items once a week. We reuse items by repurposing, and we always print on both sides of the paper. We reduce our energy usage by turning off lights and computer screens and unplugging unnecessary items.