What a great, green school year it’s been!
This post will highlight some of our green accomplishments for the 2013-14 school year. Over the next couple of weeks some of our goals for next year will be announced. So without further adieu . . .
Our Middle School Student Council has made some great progress this year with our TerraCycle program. Since we started it in January 2014, we have collected certain kinds of waste products (ink cartridges, hummus containers, etc.) and sent them in for points. The points were redeemed to do various actions that have had a global impact. Together we have:
- Provided 25 people in Sub-Sahara Africa with clean drinking water for a year.
- Preserved 2 acres of wildlife land in the Western United States.
- Removed 80 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere
- Gave honeybees to a family in need
- Gave a chicken to a family in need.
Since it’s inception last year, our Waldorf International Community Lending Team has grown to 14 members and has over $1,400 out in loans to people in need all over the world — from Albania to Senegal. Together we are doing things like helping entrepreneurs fill their shops with goods to sell, providing clothing and healthcare to underprivileged children, and helping farmers provide food to their communities. You can get involved in this exciting program by clicking HERE.
Next year, we will be handing over the reigns of this endeavor to our student-led Green Team! (More on that soon.)
Maryland Green School Re-Certification, Eco-Schools, and EPA Green Power Partnership!
Most of my winter this school year was spent developing & editing an online portfolio that chronicled the last 4 years of WSB’s green initiatives. Those efforts paid off and WSB was awarded green school status for the next 4 years! We were also awarded Eco-Schools status (which is an international organization) and invited into the EPA’s Green Power Partnership Program! If you haven’t already, check out our extensive Maryland Green School Application, it’s full of all of our green accomplishments over the last 4 years.
Coffee Capsule Collection Campaign!
This year our Student Council started an Coffee Capsule Collection campaign and stopped over 35 pounds of un-recyclable capsules from ending up in a landfill. While “gutting” the capsules of their used coffee ground for our vermicompost bins, middle school students and I had lively discussions about the botanical and cultural history of coffee as well as the global economic system that brings coffee to our supermarkets. Please note: Since this program is an initiative by the Student Council we ask that no more coffee capsules be brought into the school until they decide whether or not to run this (or a different) program next year.
Have you seen the garden lately? During the Spring months, students from all grade levels took part in laying landscaping fabric and hauling mulch in order to expand our school’s garden. Next Fall, we will continue the expansion to the other side of the pathway near the willow tunnel. This is allowing us to mow less as well as create more gardening space for every class level. Check back on this blog for a few gardening dates that we will have in late July and August to prepare for the 2014-15 school year. We also used a small pop-up greenhouse on our 2nd floor terrace to sow some of our garden’s seeds. Hopefully next year the winter will be a bit more tame and all of our seed will get their start in the greenhouse.
Healthy Chickens & Bees!
The 2013-14 school year was our first full year with our very own chickens and bees, and I’m happy to report that they are all happy, healthy, and thriving (despite the polar vortex). This year we also were able to offer a “Birthday Egg” for each student on their special day. (If you child has a summer birthday, drop me a line and I’ll be sure they get an egg in the Fall.) Our bees have split their colony in two, so we now have two hives pollinating our grounds. We’re looking forward to next year and the surprises these schoolyard mascots of ours deliver. As you read this, our chickens are at their lovely summer home in Lauraville, eating tasty new bugs and roaming around a nice large yard (pictured above).
At WSB we take the Great Law of the Iroquois to heart and put it into practice: In every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation. Did you know that WSB is now offsetting all of our energy usage with 100% Renewable Energy? In April of 2014 WSB joined a Green School Purchasing Consortium through the Green Schools Alliance and became one of the twenty-eight schools in the nation that are leading the way in energy conservation and responsible use. Our actions avoid the emission 475,629 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and advances the U.S. green economy and energy independence.
The Enhanced Schoolyard Plan!
One of our most exciting developments is the introduction of our new Enhanced Schoolyard Plan. Over the last 10 months my partner, Emily, and I produced a permaculture plan for WSB that is now being re-worked into a phased implemented plan for our school’s grounds. You will start to see big changes taking place next year that will help us deliver to our students an experiential education that incorporates the natural environment utilizing our very own backyard. History lessons, math lessons, even literary art lessons, will have ecoliteracy components woven into their curriculum that will inspire our students’ imagination, deepen their retention of information, and connect them to the outside world.
That about sums up the main accomplishments of the school year. Thanks for reading. . . . Now go outside and play!
3 thoughts on “Green Report for the 2013-14 School Year”
This is all amazing! Thank you so much for all of your hard work and for inspiring the students to do more and more for the environment!
I am so glad these efforts are being done. Michel, I have deep respect for your commitment and energy and vision. I love the permaculture work, cannot wait to se it implemented.
Congratulations on a wonderful year, Michel. Your accomplishments with the students are great and your plans sound wonderful. You’ve enriched all of school life with your work. Thank you!