Black and orange going green
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June 22, 2011
Among all the black and orange around the district,
you’re bound to see a more and more green emerging as a group of parents
and community members have been dedicating themselves to a Green Ribbon
School initiative. The goal of this long-term project is to recognize
and support the many ways that the school community promotes
environmental literacy, encourages outdoor learning and exploration,
incorporates positive health and fitness decisions and promotes
efficiency and reduced consumption on the campus. Members of
Schuylerville’s Green Ribbon team are also dedicated to expanding the
district’s green initiatives.
The Green Ribbon School initiative is designed to be inclusive, to reinforce environmentally conscious behaviors and foster a movement toward sustainability, all while positively impacting students’ education and wellness. This also presents a great opportunity to integrate health, environmental and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills into educational programs that promote sustainability. Schuylerville’s activities will follow the four national Green Ribbon cornerstones, which are:
Environmentally Friendly Campus (Eco-campus): conserving natural resources and creating green spaces for a healthy, energy-wise school.
Nature Adventure: encouraging outdoor recreation, skills and play during and after school.
Health and Fitness: providing wholesome nutrition, fitness opportunities and life-long learning habits.
Natural Classrooms: integrating nature and natural systems to facilitate learning across the curricula.
Variety of accomplishments this year
Volunteers, students and staff have already engaged
in numerous activities throughout the school year, including:
Expanding the district-wide Green Fiber Recycling program. Under this program recycled materials (paper, magazines, newspapers, etc.) are collected and used to make insulation; the district receives payments for the recycled waste.
Organizing “Dumpster DIVE-erting Days,” which focused on collecting school supplies from end-of-the-year locker and classroom clean-outs; these supplies will be reused rather than thrown out.
Creating an outdoor classroom on campus. This natural area was outfitted with benches made by volunteers. Students will be able to use the area for many different purposes, including inspiration for art projects, quiet outdoor curriculum lessons, etc.
Planting a butterfly garden. Local experts, including business owners, stepped up to offer their expertise and to donate supplies.
Installing a bird-watching trail on campus. Students also worked with Green Ribbon volunteers to build and erect new birdhouses on the trail and in the butterfly garden. Thanks to a Stewart’s Holiday Match Grant awarded to the Green Ribbon School Project, second-grade teachers will enhance their “Birds in Your Backyard” program and participate in Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology Project NestWatch.
Organizing activities related to National Bike/Walk to School Days.
Writing and recording “green tips” for the Elementary School’s morning news broadcast.
Providing support to Parents as Educational Partners (PEP) and the district’s Food Services program for the Elementary School’s Rainbow Foods Week. During this week, students were encouraged to try new fruits and vegetables—both as extra treats and as part of the regular school menu. School “chefs” were even able to sneak some extra nutrition into dessert, as students eagerly consumed brownies that contained blueberries and spinach!
Helping to organize participation in a Recycled Art Show. Fourth-grade art students and Art Club members created artistic sculptures using recycled materials. The works were displayed during a community-wide art show at Hudson Crossing Park and the Saratoga National Historical Park.
Click here to view a copy of the Green Ribbon Team’s recent presentation to Schuylerville’s Board of Education [PDF].
Join the green team
Green Ribbon team members are thrilled with the
level of support they’ve received this year. Donations of time, effort
and supplies have come from Olde Saratoga Home and Garden, Blue Elm
Design Studio, Booth’s Blend, as well as local Girl Scout and Boy Scout
troops. Sponsors included Hudson Crossing Park, Stewart’s Holiday Match
program and the Community Foundation of the Greater Capital Region.
More than 125 parents, teachers and students have already joined the Green Ribbon Team’s e-mail list. The group also has a Facebook page. For more details about the Green Ribbon Team’s activities or to join, send an e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org. The district’s Green Ribbon Launch Team members include district parents Deborah McGloine and Betty Gifford, as well as Hudson Crossing Park’s Green Ribbon Schools Project Director Cindy Wian. For more information on Green Ribbon Schools on the national level, go to http://www.greenribbonschools.org.