Success story: North Bend Elementary School
School District: Snoqualmie Valley
School Location: Snoqualmie
Began participating in the Green Schools Program: September 2008
Level One of the Green Schools Program: Achieved in June 2009
Level Two of the Green Schools Program: Achieved in June 2010
Level Three of the Green Schools Program: Achieved in May 2015
2015-2016 Sustaining Green School: Achieved in May 2016
Sustaining Green School – 2015-2016
- Students made new posters about what can and cannot be recycled, and displayed the posters in the cafeteria and common areas.
- Green Team members monitored lunch cleanup and recycling.
- On Earth Day, the school shared videos with the school community to remind them about what every person can do to take care of our earth.
- To encourage water conservation, the team posted conservation notes on mirrors in bathrooms and made a video to explain the notes to the school community and non-readers.
- Green Team members inventoried and cleaned informational notes about energy conservation that are displayed on computers and lights.
- Green Team made several announcements sharing conservation goals.
Waste reduction and recycling (level one)
- North Bend Elementary maintained a recycling rate of 52 percent.
- In 2009-10 a student group called the “Groovin Green Team” was formed, led by teacher Meredith von Trapp. Twelve students from third, fourth and fifth grade classes worked together to create an Earth Day display for the front of the school called “Every Day is Earth Day…50 Ways to Reduce Your Ecological Footprint.”
- The Groovin Green Team students presented the school community with 50 creative, inspiring ways to rethink, reduce, reuse, and recycle.
- The Groovin Green Team Club used afternoon recess to conduct litter pick-ups and educate others about keeping the planet clean and healthy.
- Staff taught students about recycling, including how to recycle milk cartons. Students educated their peers about why recycling is important.
- Recycling containers provided by the Green Schools Program were added to the lunchroom for milk cartons, juice boxes, plastic bottles and aluminum cans and to classrooms for mixed recycling.
- School staff placed recycling stickers provided by the Green Schools Program on classroom and lunchroom recycling containers that list what can and cannot be recycled.
- Staff created reusable party kits for each classroom that include durable plates, bowls, silverware, cups and napkins.
- The school implemented a Waste Free Wednesday campaign to encourage students to bring durable and recyclable lunches from home. Students created skits and presented them in each classroom to share ideas for going “waste free” and to encourage participation.
- Parent volunteers wrote articles for the parent newsletter and served as monitors in the lunchroom.
Energy conservation (level two)
- The school reduced energy use and met the Level Two Green Schools Program energy conservation criteria.
- North Bend Elementary conducted a school-wide challenge for students to pledge to reduce the amount of energy they use.
- Green Team leaders posted end of day checklists to help classrooms conserve energy.
- Stickers were placed near light switches to remind students and staff to turn off lights when they aren’t in use.
Water conservation and pollution prevention (level three)
- The Green Team created a pledge form about conserving water and reducing use of disposable plastic bottles, and initiated a classroom challenge to get the most pledges completed.
- In the parent newsletter, the school shared its water conservation goals and its success completing criteria for King County Level Three Green Schools.
- With the help of parent volunteers, teacher Meredith Von Trapp designed a system for watering the school garden using captured water from the school’s three rain barrels.
- The Green Team conducted a water audit to measure faucet water flows, and looked for leaking faucets and toilets as well as standing water. They reported leaks to facilities staff.
- Green Team students shared water conservation and pollution prevention tips and resources in announcements and in emails to staff.
- The school used low-flow toilets and low-flow motion sensor faucets to conserve water.
- In 2009-10, through Nature Vision, an environmental education group, several fourth and fifth grade students built a native plant nature trail, including a butterfly garden, behind the school’s portables.
- All fifth-grade classes participated in a walking field trip to investigate the ecological health of the Snoqualmie River through water chemistry and identification of macro-invertebrates. Students posted their results in a global database that promotes water conservation activities in schools around the world.
- Students conducted experiments outside by digging holes for compostable materials and analyzing the decomposition rates of different materials.
- North Bend Elementary School received a King County Earth Heroes at School award in April 2009.
- Teacher Meredith von Trapp received a King County Earth Heroes at School award in May 2015.
“King County Green Schools Program has given us the structure and focus to achieve our conservation goals. We’ve felt a great deal of support over the last two years and through this collaboration with King County we truly feel like we are making a difference!”
– Meredith von Trapp, former teacher
For more information about the school’s conservation achievements and participation in the Green Schools Program, contact:
Anne Melgaard, teacher