by Leanne Christensen, RSD
Congratulations to the Riverview Learning Center, Carnation Elementary and Stillwater Elementary on their acceptance into the Green Schools program.
This unique environmental program is sponsored by the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, Solid Waste Division, and has a mission to support King County schools as they initiate and expand waste reduction, recycling practices and other conservation actions, involve the whole school community in environmental stewardship and operate environmentally efficient and responsible facilities within their communities.
Stillwater Elementary PTSA volunteer, Pamela Parks, shared the following regarding the program highlights at Stillwater: “We are very excited to be tapping into the King County Green Schools program. This program will help us set up a lunch time recycling program, which will do three things for Stillwater.... One, it will reduce our cost for trash pick-up, saving the school money. (In a recent scientific experiment, the Gardening Club, led by Stacy Walker, discovered that students throw away 45 pounds of food per day! We aim to reduce that considerably). Two, the Gardening Club will then get beautiful compost, and three, the Science Docent program will have material and data for bonus soil and composting lessons, and we can even study the life cycle of red worms.”
She continued, “I think it is fabulous that while students get involved in conservation and recycling efforts, they will develop leadership skills as they take action. We are very close to being accredited at level 1 of this program, thanks to the hard work of Mike Nelson and Rick Bouloumpas, our dedicated custodians, as well as the push at the end of last year by the ASB to conserve water, and the continued help of Extended Day students to collect the recycling on Wednesday mornings. Parent volunteers are very eager to help set up the program, especially the new worm bin for the garden that King County will be delivering any day now. It is truly a team effort at Stillwater.”
The U.S. Department of Education stated the following in recognition of the Green Schools program: “Green schools are critical to schools’ fiscal health and our nation’s economy. Improvements to K-12 school facilities save schools money, strengthen the nation’s energy security and conserve natural resources. Healthy behaviors, environmental education and green facilities are as vital to individual students as they are to the nation. High standards for facilities, nutrition and fitness improve student and staff health, attendance and achievement. Finally, environmental and sustainability education prepares students to be good citizens and enhances achievement and engagement in all subjects, especially in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”
Sixty-four schools in 15 school districts across King County have earned recognition for their successful conservation practices from the county’s Green Schools program. These schools are to be commended for their time, dedication and efforts with regard to improving their conservations practices, reaching out and involving students, staff and parents in their inspiring and innovative “green” practices.