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Looking for an idea to help promote recycling, waste prevention or resource conservation in your school? Here are some recent examples. These secondary school Green Teams received certificates of achievement and water bottles made from stainless steel for completing their environmental projects. Green Teams are also important participants in the success of many of the county's Green Schools.

Organize a kick-off week

At Leota Junior High in Woodinville, students Cora Byers and Audrey Phillips created a “Green Spirit Week,” which highlighted a different environmental issue each day. Each issue was associated with a particular color. For example, Wednesday was the day to wear black as a reminder to turn off lights and electronics, while on Thursday students wore white to encourage reduced paper use. The week culminated with a lunchtime event that reinforced the week's messages. King County recognized Cora and Audrey as 2009 Earth Heroes at School for their efforts and accomplishments.

Eighth grade students at Thunder Mountain Middle School in Enumclaw organized a Recycling Kick-off Week that involved the whole school. Students made morning announcements using fun facts about the why, what and how of recycling. During lunch periods, they demonstrated proper recycling practices and led lunchroom games and activities to reinforce good habits. Teachers and administrative staff participated in paperless days and “half-light” days. All of these activities instilled behavior changes within the school that will help reduce garbage and protect precious natural resources.

Plant a native garden

Arbor Montessori in Sammamish received a Green Team mini-grant to plant a native garden on school grounds and to replace an old footbridge. Students researched and designed the new environmentally sound footbridge which was built by parent volunteers. For expert advice on native plants, the school teamed up with Mountains to Sound Greenway. The overall outcome is an increase in wildlife and an improvement to the health of the soil.

The Federal Way High School Environmental Club used a Green Team mini-grant to restore the school's courtyard with native plants, creating a beautiful space that the school can be proud of. This is truly a team effort where birdhouses built by woodshop students will be put to use. Posters and flyers help to inform the whole student body of the benefits of using native plants and encourage the protection and conservation of the earth's resources.

Dianne Thompson’s (external) Environmental Science class at Kent-Meridian High School built a wildlife habitat on campus. Students designed and built a pond and a garden that will attract hummingbirds, songbirds and butterflies. Wood shop students made benches to create an outdoor classroom within the habitat. Ms. Thompson's class also received a grant for worm bins and will be mentors for the school, teaching other students proper recycling of food scraps in worm bins to help reduce garbage.

Reduce waste and improve recycling

The Green Team at Tahoma Junior High reduced their school's garbage by incorporating composting into their lunchroom recycling program. Students created a video and made announcements to inform and educate the whole student body on proper sorting methods. Green Team members visited classrooms in pairs to keep students aware and motivated.

At Secondary Academy for Success in Bothell, Judy Ellis's Green Team of freshmen students focused on waste reduction. They produced posters and a skit for the entire student body on the concepts of rethink, reduce and reuse. Observing that the school garbage cans were full of disposable coffee cups, they held an informative, school-wide discussion on the environmental value of purchasing a reusable cup. They prepared the individual homerooms to monitor and maintain the recycling program.

Study the science of composting

Elise Cooksley received a Green Team mini-grant to purchase a Nitrogen Cycle Lab Kit for her high school science students at Two Rivers School in North Bend. Students investigated different items in the process of decomposing. This activity led to a school-wide composting program of lunch scraps, with the finished compost being used by both culinary students for their herb garden and by the middle school students who tend a native plants garden.

Connect with the community

Bellevue High School hosted a Sustainability Fair organized by its own Earthbound Club. Students invited a keynote speaker, guest presenters and local organizations to set up booths to share information on one or more of four topics: transportation, housing, energy and consumerism. It was a fantastic way to educate students and the community on the more sustainable choices that are available to all of us.

Seventh graders at McKnight Middle School are involved in a variety of sustainability projects to help their school and community understand how they are connected to the world and how their actions can help solve real-life issues. Under the guidance of Carlie Jonas, projects include building an organic garden which will include a composting system, producing a guide book on the native plants within the garden, and creating educational signs for the nearby mini-wetland. Carlie has created a Sustainability Science Fair PacketDownload PDF , 329 and a Sustainability Community Project ProposalDownload PDF , 154 to guide students through their projects.

The Green Team at Skyview Junior High in Bothell conducted its annual Earth Day Sustainability Survey, which encourages families to make more sustainable choices. Now available online (external), the survey includes fifty actions you can take to lessen your impact on the earth. Advisor John Schmied was recognized as a 2009 Earth Hero at School for his work on this and other environmental projects at Skyview.

The Green Team at Tahoma Middle School held a tree planting event on Earth Day. Using funds raised by selling Earth Day T-shirts, they bought 14 Douglas fir trees to replace others that had recently been cut down. Parents, staff and students are proud and delighted with the result.

Have a sustainable cup of coffee

The student-run espresso stand at Global Connections High School in SeaTac recently changed its business focus to include sustainability. Students researched, identified and selected products, vendors and practices that are founded on sustainable principles. In a single year, The Hot Spot served over 200 pounds of organic, fair-trade, shade grown coffee and tea, kept over 3,000 petroleum cups from the landfill, and used safer alternatives to chemical cleaners to maintain cleanliness. Student salespeople inform every customer of their sustainability mission. King County recognized this program with a 2009 Earth Heroes at School award.

Create art from trash

Green Team students at Mill Creek Middle School in Kent created fun, short videos to teach others what can and cannot be recycled. The videos were shown during lunch sessions and at the district’s Technology Expo. The effort helped the school reduce its garbage by half, saving the district $200 a month in garbage pick-up costs.

Ninth grade students at Secondary Academy for Success in Bothell organized several after-school sessions to create “trash art,” using non-recyclable contaminants found in the recycling bins. The project has encouraged students to think more carefully about where they place their garbage.

After learning about the effects our trash has on the environment, Fashion Design and Marketing students at the Puget Sound Skills Center in Burien created fashions from discarded materials. Teacher Jill Price-Crawley received a King County Green Team grant, as well as funding from ReUse Resources, to hire Robin Worley, a trash fashion specialist from Haute Trash. Ms. Worley assisted the students in transforming waste into wearable art and presenting their designs in a fashion show for the over 3,800 students from across the state who attended the 2007 WA State DECA Career Development Conference. View a Flash-based slideshow of the imaginative designs of these resourceful young women, or download the PDF versionDownload PDF , 1 M. Photos courtesy of Amber Trillo and the West Seattle Herald.

Green Team projects
Cora Byers and Audrey Phillips created a Green Spirit Week at Leota Junior High and were recognized as Earth Heroes at School.
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