The days are getting shorter and some trees are even starting to show their fall colors. It feels like the start of a new school year is coming, but the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a wrench into our well-worn back-to-school routine.
At Clark County Green Schools we've been spending the summer listening and learning how sustainability fits into our new normal, especially in schools. We've been considering our work from our perspective as Green Schools, but also from a personal lens. We're members of the community too, with kids who are students in local schools and family members who are teachers. From these perspectives we understand that there are a lot of questions, demands on attention, and stress weighing on everyone right now and that sustainability might, understandably, take a temporary backseat to more urgent questions and needs. We've also heard that sustainability programming including natural gardening, composting, recycled art and Green Teams, is giving folks a positive outlet for their energy and something to feel good about, at a time when those feelings can be hard to come by.
After considering all these variables we've created a plan to support schools, teachers and Green Teams as you return to school virtually this fall. We will continue to support school facilities and custodial staff in addressing needs and providing tools to aid with waste reduction, recycling and composting when students return to school campuses.
We are also in the process of creating an interactive website that will allow students, teachers, staff, parents and the public to explore school waste and sustainability topics, celebrate the efforts of local school Green Teams and more. The interactive site will use a program called Story Map. You can see an example of a Story Map by checking out the virtual Natural Garden Tour created by our partner program Clark County Green Neighbors. The schools Story Map will be used during virtual learning to help schools celebrate past sustainability projects and plan for future actions. It will also include interactive lessons that teachers can incorporate into their remote learning plans, or to engage their Green Team in a group activity remotely. Currently, we are gathering content for this project including videos, photos, Green Team newsletters, student-created websites, etc. to feature in the interactive map highlighting school Green Team efforts. If you have any content that you and your students would like to see on the map under your school's description, please let us know!
Finally, we will be sending out a survey to understand how we can best support you during remote learning, in addition to the Story Map tool. Would you want our educators to give your class lessons on waste and sustainability topics via Zoom? Interactive sessions with storyteller Will Hornyak? More downloadable activities like our coloring book and quiz origami? You tell us! We'll let you get settled in to remote learning before we send out the survey, and keep you posted about when these activities are ready to launch.
As always, please let us know if there's anything we can do to support you or if you have any feedback or suggestions for us. We're happy to help however we can!