First, we are the FIRST and ONLY Green School in our county. That includes the 17 elementary, 6 middle schools, and 5 high schools. We were awarded this honor by the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education and means that we use a "holistic, integrated approach to authentic learning that incorporates local environmental issue investigation and professional development with environmental best management practices and community stewardship". We have been working ALL year to meet this goal, and I think we totally rocked it!!!
Every grade level took on a different environmental project, everything from creating safe habitats for local animals to planting local plants, recycling and collecting rain water to use to water the landscaping. Here's a run-down of what each grade level was responsible for:
Pre-Kindergarten - Building and maintaining toad houses.
Kindergarten - Building and maintaining butterfly houses, participating in a TerraCycle Brigade to recycle Entenmann's Little Bite Pouches.
1st Grade - Building and maintaining bird houses, participating in a TerraCycle Brigade to recycle Elmer's glue sticks/bottles and Lunchables containers.
2nd Grade - Decorating and maintaining rain barrels, participating in the Energy Patrol (handing out awards and citations for classes that are doing their part to conserve energy)
3rd Grade - Building and maintaining vermacompost bins (using red worms to create fertile soil additives), participating in the planting of native plants and maintaining the native plant garden.
4th Grade - Building and maintaining a rain garden, participating in the clean-up of a nearby stream and keeping track of the pH levels in the school water.
5th Grade - Testing various soil samples to determine the healthiness of the school's soil.
We have had A LOT of help from the community and the different agricultural programs available locally (including 4H). Our Green Day was a chance for the school and community to learn about the different projects each grade level was responsible for. We went around the school and grounds to visit various stations that explained the projects of the school, and to end the day we planted many, many native plants.
Kindergarten worked hard to create butterfly houses to help give the local butterflies a place to rest during their migrations and to keep them safe and warm during the winter. We started with simple kits from the local hardware store. Each kit contained 6 pieces.
Each kindergarten student was able to paint and decorate a different piece. When they finished drying, an adult volunteer used a hammer and nails to put them all together.
Because each student painted their own piece, each butterfly house has its own personality and style. Each one is unique, just like our kindergarteners!