Monday, June 21, 2010

Zebras Receive Green Award

On June 1, Grass Valley Elementary School attained Level One status in the Washington Green School program. To achieve certification, schools must earn a minimum of 100 points per level in a six-step process designed to take approximately one year. Under the leadership of the building Green Team and advised by Erin Rowland, Clark County Waste Reduction Specialist, staff and students conducted an Earth Day trash audit, earning points in the Recycling and Waste Reduction category. Washington Green Schools is organized into this and four additional environmental categories:

· Energy Efficiency

· Transportation & Outdoor Air Quality

· Toxics Reduction & Indoor Air Quality

· Water Quality & Conservation

With data from a Green Team waste and recycling assessment and the trash audit, staff agreed to make two lasting changes for the coming year: 1) develop and implement a plan to increase the percentage of recovery for a material already recycled at our school, and 2) develop a program to decrease the uneaten and unopened food in the garbage. With the help of classroom monitors, teachers and students aim to reclaim more clean paper for reuse and recycling. Also, our SOS (Save Our Scraps) cafeteria monitors plus a group of Eco Officer representatives from grades second through fifth can: encourage students to make better lunch choices, save leftover lunch for snacks, and take reasonable servings, going back for seconds instead if they choose.

To complete the certification process, schools must implement action in each of the other four environmental categories. At Grass Valley these include:

· Energy Efficiency: Improving school-wide strategies for turning off lights when adequate sunlight is available.

· Toxics Reduction & Indoor Air Quality: Making sure all air vents are unblocked to maintain healthier indoor air quality.

· Transportation & Outdoor Air Quality: Offer a bicycle safety workshop such as a bicycle rodeo.

· Water Quality & Conservation: Establish an environmental club that focuses on environmental issues and projects at your school.

Each year after attaining certification, schools can either renew at the current level, maintaining the same lasting changes, or build on those changes to advance to the next higher level. Currently in our district, Skyridge has also achieved Level One status. A representative from the WA Green School steering committee will present Grass Valley with a flag and certificate at the end-of-the-year assembly on June 17.

For more information on the Washington Green Schools program, visit: