Thursday, May 28, 2009

Skyridge Earns Green Grant

Skyridge Middle School has gained yet another A+ in its efforts to go green. In late February, Ann Hofmann applied for the Terry Husseman Sustainable Schools Seed Award grant. Along with more than 25 other Washington state schools, Skyridge received a monetary grant. On May 22, 2009, six students, teacher Ann Hofmann, and Associate Principal Springy Yamasaki, attended the Terry Husseman Sustainable Schools award ceremony at the state capitol in Olympia, Washington. The staff and students felt a tremendous sense of pride as their award was announced and took the stage to receive the check and certificate. It was also an opportunity to hear what other schools have done and how they will be applying their grant awards. Students and staff were energized, enlightened and ready to delve into more eco-friendly projects.

While the school’s Go-Green efforts span a variety of areas, the grant request was specific for funding efforts to recycle, compost, and reduce the amount of waste produced by the school. Indeed, by recycling bottles and cans, reusing items such as paper and containers, and composting, Skyridge students and staff have already lessened their impact on landfills and diminished their environmental footprint.
First efforts began in 2007, when Skyridge started recycling in earnest. This involved putting paper and bottle/can recycle containers in all classrooms, and milk carton and bottle/can recycle containers in the dining room. The results were swift and remarkable: daily garbage output was reduced from 65 bags per day to 18. During that same year, the school started the Washington Green Schools Pilot program, but was unable to complete it during that school year. Thanks to a great team effort the following year, Skyridge completed the documentation and became the first school in Clark County to be certified a Level 1 Washington Green School in the spring of 2008.

In the fall of 2008, Skyridge added composting in the dining room. They further reduced daily trash output from 18 bags per day to 14. In the spring of 2009, the kitchen staff began composting and reduced their output from 3 bags to 1 bag per day.

Still, Green Team leaders have identified several areas for improvement. First, they hope to see the amount of bottles and cans in the garbage reduced, which will signify an increase in recyclates. Skyridge also hopes to see an improvement in their composting program. Based on a recent audit, the student dining hall compost contains over 30% trash/contaminants. Additionally, they plan to improve the staff recycling by purchasing recycling bins that allow easy sorting of compost, bottles/cans, and trash for the staff lounge and teacher workrooms. Team members hope to improve recycling in office areas by providing conveniently marked receptacles that are easily accessed and accommodate staff’s limited working space. While the $1,700 Husseman Sustainable Schools Seed grant will not fully fund the entire “wish list,” the Green Team is working to partner with community members to fill in the gaps and continue forward eco-progress.

For more information, contact Ann Hofman via e-mail at or (360) 833-5400, extension 2851.