Success story: Camelot Elementary School
School District: Federal Way
School Location: Auburn
Began participating in the Green Schools Program: January 2009
Level One of the Green Schools Program: Achieved in June 2010
Level Two of the Green Schools Program: Achieved in November 2010
Level Three of the Green Schools Program: Achieved in May 2011
2014-15 Sustaining Green School (Level Four): Achieved in May 2015
2015-16 Sustaining Green School: Achieved in May 2016
Sustaining green school – 2015-16
- The school’s Green Team, called the “Green Knights,” took turns going from class to class once each month with a checklist to monitor energy use in individual classrooms. Classes with the highest accomplishments received a green flag award at the end of each month.
- The school garden was expanded to accommodate more classes that participate in school garden efforts.
- The school planned to host its third annual Garden Summer Camp for students in grades K-5. The Garden Summer Camp is a week-long camp focused on hands-on garden education that invites community members such as Master Gardeners, local chefs and engineers to make guest appearances to enhance student educational experiences.
- With the help of a grant, the school built a drainage system to limit storm water run-off from eroding a large slope on the school’s campus. The storm water run-off is filtered to a collection pond where wetland plants help filter pollution and slow the flow of the storm water.
- Students maintained the rain garden areas throughout the year by watering plants to make sure they receive an adequate amount of water.
- Students helped restore campus areas by cutting back invasive blackberry bushes and planting native plants.
Sustaining green school (level four) – 2014-15
- Camelot Elementary School sustained its Level One waste reduction and recycling practices, Level Two energy conservation practices, and Level Three water conservation strategies.
- Students worked with Weyerhaeuser professionals for three years to create an outdoor classroom to foster environmental stewardship throughout the school. In 2012, the students designed the project, which included native plants and careful consideration of how the pathways could be accessible to all students, even those with physical handicaps. Sixth -grade students from Kilo Middle School helped lead the project by planning work parties, meeting with district maintenance and presenting updates to the school board.
- The school participated in multiple Geo-Literacy Alliance Summer Leadership Institutes to develop understanding of interconnected human and environmental systems. Students applied their knowledge by investigating and acting on local issues.
- Camelot held a Green Festival Harvest where students presented conservation successes and local vendors showcased green business practices in the community.
- In 2014-15 the school received 100 bags of Cedar Grove compost because students and staff removed (and then pasted on cards) fruit and vegetable produce stickers that otherwise would have contaminated food waste sent to Cedar Grove Composting facility.
Waste reduction and recycling
- Camelot Elementary School sustained a 53 percent recycling rate.
- “Camelot Cares about the Earth” was the theme the school used to encourage staff and students to protect the environment. Beginning in early 2009, the Camelot Green Team – known as the “Green Knights” – achieved significant changes in how the school thinks about and treats the environment.
- Second to fifth-grade student Green Knights members were easy to identify because they wore green t-shirts on Fridays.
- Green Knights educated the school with a green tip of the day in morning announcements and posters around the school.
- After starting to recycle food scraps in its lunchroom, the garbage dumpster size was reduced and garbage service costs decreased by 25 percent.
- A student team wearing green aprons provided by King County Green Schools Program monitored lunchroom recycling stations to help other students properly sort their lunch waste.
- The Green Knights placed bins for used paper towels near the sink in each classroom. Students emptied these bins into the lunchroom food scrap containers every day.
- The school further reduced lunchroom waste by recycling Capri-Sun pouches and chip bags through Terra Cycle, a company that uses the pouches and bags to make new products.
- Starting in 2010-11, every six weeks the Green Knights presented one class with the Green Award and an earth flag to hang outside its classroom.
- In 2010-11, Camelot Elementary families used the City of Federal Way recycling events to recycle batteries, plastic bags, and polystyrene from holiday and birthday packaging.
- Federal Way Public Schools made a number of energy improvements at Camelot, including setting standard school-wide heating
and cooling points, installation of fluorescent light bulbs:
- occupancy sensors in frequently used rooms
- an energy-efficient soda machine in the staff lounge, and
- new energy-efficient exit signs.
- Students generated posters that graphed Camelot’s monthly energy use.
- Students placed labels on each computer and on light switches to remind students and teachers to turn them off when not needed.
- The school added energy conservation facts to the school website.
- Teachers removed personal space heaters, refrigerators, coffee pots and other appliances that they had brought into their classrooms.
- In outreach about energy conservation, Camelot used the motto "Being Green is Cool."
- The school held an annual water conservation poster contest and received over 100 entries from students in 2014-15.
- The Student Council participated in a WE Day conference, and through its involvement in the WE Act program, students raised money to build a well for a community in Ghana. The WE Act program offers educational resources to help young people take sustained action on local and global causes.
- Custodial staff monitored the water meter and fixed broken sprinklers. Students graphed the school’s monthly water consumption.
- Camelot received $3,000 in grants from the local community to build a community garden.
- To reduce water consumption, maintenance staff reduced the water pressure in classroom sinks.
- Students participated in the Salmon in the Classroom program, welcomed guest speakers from King County, and participated in a school field trip to the Issaquah Hatchery.
First graders at Camelot consistently say to green team members, “When I grow up I want to be on the green team.”
- Camelot Elementary School received King County Earth Heroes at School awards in 2009 and 2016.
- Camelot received a $1,000 Terry Husseman School Award in 2011.
- Mrs. Fischer’s class participated in the Project Citizen National Showcase and recommended a plastic bag ban ordinance for the City of Federal Way. The class received first place in Washington State, with Best Oral Presentation and Best Portfolio, as well as achieving Superior Level at Nationals.
For more information about this school’s conservation achievements and participation in the Green Schools Program, contact:
Darcy Borg, teacher
April Quint, teacher
Kelsey Winkler, teacher