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Green teams - elementary school programs

Elementary school Green Teams

Guidance, resources, recognition, and project ideas

A Green Team is a class or student group that takes on a project to conserve natural resources at school or in the community.

When your school signs up to participate in the King County Green Schools Program, guidance and recognition are available to Green Teams or other student groups.

Are you willing to work on a project to help the environment become a cleaner, greener place?

If so, make sure your school is participating in the King County Green Schools Program and then ask for help. Assistance is available for schools in King County outside the City of Seattle who are participating in the Green Schools Program.




Earn recognition for your actions. Student team recognition celebrates student activities and projects separately from school recognition.

Schools participating in the King County Green Schools Program are recognized when they meet criteria in each program level. Student team actions are important to the success of many King County Green Schools. Ask the Green Schools Program for assistance by emailing email the King County Green Schools Program.

To receive student team recognition in Spring 2023: By April 30, 2023, complete and submit either

  1. The Student Team Recognition form
  2. If your school is applying for Level One, Level Two, Level Three, or Sustaining Green School recognition, complete Question 2 on a school program level recognition form.
  • Receive an electronic certificate when your class, Green Team, or other student group completes one new project to reduce waste, improve recycling, conserve energy, conserve water, protect habitat or other conservation goal.
  • Receive an electronic certificate and prizes after completing one new school-wide activity or two new classroom/grade-level projects.

Project ideas for elementary school Green Teams

Looking for an idea to engage students in conservation practices or to help promote waste prevention, recycling, energy conservation, water conservation, and other conservation practices in your classroom, school or community? Here are examples from elementary school Green Teams in King County.

Green Teams are important participants in the success of many King County Green Schools.

Reduce waste and improve recycling

Fourth-grade students in Belinda Feller's classroom at Cherry Valley Elementary in Riverview cut down the school's paper waste by making and placing reuse bins in every classroom. They also eliminated the use of polystyrene trays and plastic eating utensils in their cafeteria.

The Earth Savers Club at Eagle Rock Multi-Age School and their advisor Deborah Edwards lobbied the school district superintendent to obtain recycling service for the school. The school received new recycling bins and started a lunchroom recycling program for milk cartons and juice boxes.

Keith Matthews and his fourth-grade Green Team at Marvista Elementary in Normandy Park started a composting program that soon expanded to seven classrooms. Students collect lunch waste each day and place it in a large worm bin donated by the local community. The compost from the worm bin is used in the classroom garden plot.

The Green Team at Nautilus Elementary led by Lisa Torres made ReUse boxes and presented one to each classroom. They even placed one in the staff workroom to really keep the staff involved in reuse and waste reduction.

Launch a school-wide campaign

Laure Thiébaux's third-grade Green Team at the French Immersion School of Washington designed recycling posters and hung them in the school hallways; facilitated awareness by weighing and analyzing the trash created during snack and lunchtime over a one-week period; and performed recycling skits and led waste reduction games in lower-grade classrooms.

Barbara Egan's students at Mark Twain Elementary in Federal Way integrated lessons on advertising with a waste reduction and recycling information campaign. Posters and radio announcements were used to convince the student population that buying individually packaged food items wasted natural resources and landfill space.

Scenic Hill Elementary Green Team students in Kent, under the guidance of custodian Ginger Ott, reduced their school's energy use by nine percent through a simple campaign. Students made "Turn off the lights" handprints that were placed near all light switches and doorways in the school. This project was a follow-up to last year's successful school-wide campaign to reduce garbage and increase recycling.

Jennifer Gjurasic's fourth-grade team at Snoqualmie Elementary began Waste Free Wednesdays at their school. On Wednesdays, students are encouraged to think carefully about the lunch items they select in order to leave no waste after eating.

Under Leah McIntyre's supervision, the fifth-grade team at Terminal Park Elementary in Auburn presented information about reducing, reusing, and recycling to the entire student body. They produced games on PowerPoint, designed posters, and created skits. They also developed public service announcements to get the word out about conserving resources.

Involve the community

Students advised by Kristin Wobker at Benjamin Franklin Elementary in Kirkland conducted a variety of school-wide projects for Earth Day, including organizing a Waste Free Lunch Day and decorating over 500 grocery bags for distribution at the local Red Apple. Ms. Wobker and fellow teacher Kate Berten led Green Team members to pick up litter around the community and help remove invasive plants at Bridle Trails Park.

Chris Andrews and fourth- and fifth-grade students at Mirror Lake Elementary in Federal Way are doing their part to keep unnecessary waste out of the landfill by managing a printer cartridge recycling program for their school and local business community.

A Brownie Girl Scout Troop led by April Carl at Westhill Elementary in Bothell built a 3-bin compost structure for their community garden to reduce the amount of waste going to the landfill. They also learned about the importance of native mason bees in the local ecosystem.

Plant a native garden

With the support of teachers Liza Rickey and Ellen Ferrin, fourth- and fifth-grade students at Clark Elementary in Issaquah prepared a field guide to the school's native garden and staffed information booths at the school's watershed festival. Water quality awareness, increased community pride, and environmental stewardship are just some of the noticeable outcomes stemming from their efforts.

Fourth- and fifth-grade students led by Debbie Sells and Kathy Gundlach at Martin Sortun Elementary in Kent created native plant gardens on the school grounds. Through the use of art, the young gardeners illustrated the connection between native plants and healthy watershed ecosystems.

To help reduce the school's ecological footprint, three classrooms at Thoreau Elementary in Kirkland teamed-up to plant over 200 native plants on school grounds.

Green Team at work
Green Team students monitor the lunchroom recycling bin.
Check out the "Go, Green Team!" blog
Check out the "Go, Green Team!" blog
King County Solid Waste Division mission: Waste Prevention, Resource Recovery, Waste Disposal

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