Today’s blog comes from our Environmental Educator, Emily! Emily spends most of her time traveling to different schools around San Diego County and teaching students about different ways they can help protect their local environment. Now, schools all around the county are starting to implement more efforts to be green. One shining example of this is the Green Team from Standley Middle School in University City. Today’s blog highlights the inspiring efforts of these students and their advisor. Read on to celebrate their successes and gain ideas for starting a Green Team at a school near you!
Their journey begins in 2013, when Shelley Rannikko and her colleague took a group of students to Yosemite National Park. This trip inspired the students to become eagerly engaged as environmental stewards. As Shelley recalls, “the ten hour road trip was the perfect place to brainstorm about how we could spread the word of recycling at school through a club called ‘Green Team’.”
In the short time since its inception, the Green Team has made a significant impact on their campus. Here’s a look at how the club is structured, and what they’ve been able to accomplish:
Mission: The purpose of our team is to educate the students and families of Standley Middle School about the importance of recycling and how to accomplish it. The team is in its second year and maintains over 35 members, with more wanting to join every day! They meet during Academic Prep.
Member Responsibilities: Students are given chores that change weekly. Chores include:
- Bin Placement – bins provided through an Educate! grant
- Bin Return
- Garbage Ghosts – using trash pickers, they pull recyclables out of campus trash cans and place them in the recycling bins
- Radical Rinsers – rinse recyclables, like plastic bowls, lids, and milk cartons
- Green Team Ambassadors – pass out Green Team Bucks to students using the recycling bins
- Recycling Engineers – take cleaned items to the recycling dumpster
- Bottle Brick Makers – pack Gatorade bottles with non-recyclable items; bricks will be used to construct a bench on campus,
Recycling: Since its start in 2013, the Green Team has recycled:
|STANDLEY’S STATS ON RECYCLING|
|Item||Pieces or Pounds|
|Go Go Squeezes||474|
|Plastic Bowls, Plastic Containers||200+*|
|Cans and Bottles||300+ pounds|
*Collection started last week
Through the TerraCycling program, the students are able to recycle more than the average blue bin. GoGo Squeezes and Juice Pouches are sent to TerraCycle, where the company pays for shipping and gives money back to non-profit organizations or to a charity of your choice from their website. Check your waste hauler’s requirements, or look into innovative programs like this one!
Getting Others Involved: The Green Team has implemented a loyalty recycler card program to encourage students to recycle. Additionally, Green Team Ambassadors walk the quad during lunch, giving out Green Team Bucks for placing recyclables in the appropriate bins. For every six stamps or Green Team Bucks, students can earn an otter pop!
The Green Team creates videos that are shown school-wide during the Principal’s Chat. These videos promote fundraisers, the loyalty recycler card program, membership in the club, and explain what can be recycled on campus. Even Principal Bill Pearson got involved by researching how to reduce paper fliers and informational posters. His solution? Turn existing bulletin boards into chalkboards! A combination of exterior flat paint and unsanded tile grout made this possible, and it brings a bit of character to the quad.
Looking Ahead: In addition to the bottle brick bench, the Green Team hopes to combine efforts with the Garden Club to create worm bins and start composting at their school.
If you’re interested in learning more, feel free to contact Shelley Rannikko, the Green Team Advisor, at (619) 920-2183 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Related Links for more information:
What is TerraCycle?: https://www.youtube.com/user/TerraCycleVideos
Drink Pouch Recycling Brigade: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vG5CdXhRtrE
Bottle Bricks: http://www.utne.com/environment/eco-bricks-zm0z12ndzlin.aspx