Clark County students are passionate about creating a better environment for us all

student holding green pledge signWhen they discover and learn the problems our community’s environment has, they want to take action. Forming a Green Team is a great way to get the school community started on a greener path. Green Team gives students a vehicle to think about environmental issues and possible solutions in a thoughtful, creative way. Green Team members have a chance to be leaders in their school, educating and inspiring others in the school community to change behaviors in support of our earth. Green Team can be a good resource; members can collect recyclables, monitor the cafeteria food waste cart, start and grow a school garden and help green the school in other ways. They also have a lot of fun while learning about the natural world around them. This group can be called a Green Team, an Environmental Club, or any name you choose.

It’s easy to start a Green Team!

It’s easy to start a Green Team!

When students are aware of the issues we cause our planet they are often interested in discovering and learning how to be kinder to it.

Staff members also have a passion for environmental care. A teacher, custodian or para-professional may take the lead, and a range of staff and school community members is really helpful; it reduces the amount of time each facilitator needs to spend on Green Team. The support of an administrator is important and parents are very helpful and often quite willing to become involved.

Many schools use these projects to certify to be a Washington Green School. You just document your work, submit a report card and earn certification.

Getting your Green Team started

To get started — flyers and posters, an announcement in science classes, the lunchroom, or over the PA will quickly bring in students. Once your Green Team is formed it may seem daunting to figure out what to do. Worry not! Your team doesn’t have to do anything monumental to beneficially impact your school; there are countless small behavioral changes to get you started. Talk as a team and find out what areas of concern are most important amongst your members. Begin with small improvements and plan grand changes once you have momentum built up.

 

Easy and meaningful changes

  • Post signs in the bathrooms to remind students not to use too many paper towels.
  • Collect paper that has been used on one side and reuse as scratch paper in classrooms, a draft drawer in your copy machines and to use as note pads.
  • Learn which items can be placed in recycle bins and teach others
  • Set your printers to default to double-sided printing.
  • Sell reusable water bottles as part of a campaign to reduce plastic water bottles.
  • Put up prompts like stickers to remind people to turn off lights and computers.
Building your Green Team

Building your Green Team

Once your Green Team is active and thriving the entire school will be aware of the work you all are doing and you will have more support. As time goes on, the green ethic will become more and more a focus of your school community. Each and every person will have an environmental awareness and environmentally sound behavior will become a matter of course. Each fall as new students arrive at your school, they will be brought into the fold and can be taught how to care for the earth by everyone around them.

Tackling the big projects

The Green Team can tackle bigger projects when you are ready. Some big projects include:

  • Participate in a Walk & Bike to School Day.
  • Create a donation station where people can drop off or pick up used clothing, games, sporting equipment, etc. Donate any undesirable items to a thrift store or homeless shelter.
  • Eliminate the sale and use of bottled water in your school.
  • Set up a worm composting system and compost fruit and vegetable waste at your school: fruit peels and cores, coffee grounds, grass clippings, leaves and kitchen food waste.
  • Determine water savings (in volume and dollars) for one year for one of the following: faucet fixtures (aerators and motion sensor), low-flow toilets and waterless urinals, low-flow shower heads, or irrigation systems. If your school does car-washes as a fundraiser, take steps to prevent waste-water from entering storm drains.

 

The secret to running a successful Green Team is to get everyone involved. Students, teachers, administrators, custodial and kitchen staff, and community members all are valuable assets. By working together and creating positive change you can show your students just how much power they have to influence the world around them and develop a green ethic that the world needs.