Posted in Colchester High School, Colchester Middle School, General, Malletts Bay School, Porters Point School, Student Spotlight, Union Memorial School, Videos, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan

District-Wide Green Initiatives and Why They’re Important

We have a moral responsibility to protect the earth and ensure that our children and grandchildren have a healthy and sustainable environment in which to live.
—Jim Clyburn

Your school district is committed to creatively and effectively addressing the daunting environmental challenges that affect each and every one of us, empowering students and citizens to bring about positive environmental change.

CHS student leaders and MBS students team up on a recycling project
CHS student leaders and MBS students team up on a recycling project

As one recent example, Malletts Bay School fourth-grade students in Kari Carney’s class teamed up with Colchester High School students in a recycling and composting project. (Please click here to read an earlier Spotlight article about some of MBS’s other recycling efforts and environmental education.)

Fourth graders in Kari Carney's class at the CHS "Big Trash Extravaganza" event
Fourth graders in Kari Carney’s class at the CHS “Big Trash Extravaganza” event

The Ospreys pitched in to help out with “the Big Trash Extravaganza” multiyear study by sorting and separating recyclable and compostable materials that had been collected in wastebaskets around CHS to be weighed and compared to data from past events and saved for comparison with next year’s data. (They later created eBooks about the experience and blogged about it on their classroom blogs; you can access the students’ blogs from Kari Carney’s classroom blog.) One of the anticipated outcomes of this project is the increased incorporation of sustainable practices into CHS’s culture and climate—much like CHS’s innovative, grant-funded sustainability project called Net Impact High School (please click here to read about Net Impact High School and why it is important). A bag’s worth of compostable material rescued from the trash receptacles went to a local resident, and returnable bottles were donated to a fundraiser. The event was the result of widespread collaboration among members of the Food: From Soil to Stomach class, maintenance personnel, science teachers, the physical education department, the art department, the food service personnel, the administration and office staff, a former CHS graduate volunteer, an educator from Chittenden Solid Waste District, and more. (To view more photographs from the project, please click here to visit CHS teacher Melanie Laquerre’s blog.)

CHS students Allison Pilcher, Casey LaBonte, and Sophia Simkins led the charge in the project
CHS students Allison Pilcher, Casey LaBonte, and Sophia Simkis led the charge in the project

As another example, last year, Colchester Middle School’s student-led “green team” launched an extensive, multifaceted sustainability project (please click here to read more about it).

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Incorporating conservation and environmental sustainability concepts into our academic environment is a fantastic way to promote a variety of benefits to our students. Becoming actively involved in facing real-world challenges encourages our students to become connected with their community and to become real-world problem solvers. They learn to work collaboratively with their peers to make quantifiable differences through careful consideration and innovative thinking.

And as we have discussed before, the district has numerous ongoing efforts in environmental responsibility and sustainability, including but not limited to:

    • transitioning to eco-friendly cleaning products in our buildings before it was mandated by Vermont law on July 1, 2012
    • replacing the Ford Taurus driver’s education vehicle with a new Toyota Prius—a hybrid vehicle that typically exceeds fifty miles per gallon—with funds received from an ARRA grant
    • utilizing funds received through another grant to install more than eighty LED lamps throughout the parking lots at CHS, CMS, and MBS, resulting in an annual savings of fifty thousand (50,000) kilowatt hours and additional incentive dollars
    • installing upgraded lighting at both PPS and UMS (in fact, CSD worked closely with Efficiency Vermont and various vendors to replace lighting in all schools with high-efficiency lighting, and the anticipated savings to the district were such that Efficiency Vermont covered the entire cost with incentives)
    • installing three high-efficiency boilers resulting in annual cost savings replaced the aging boilers at CMS
    • working closely with Chittenden Solid Waste District in order to increase recycling efforts
    • winning a grant to support a human-powered generator capable of storing electricity to help offset some of the stage lighting, sound, and projection equipment’s power requirements
CHS staff and students and Berlin City's Dedrick Casab
CHS staff and students and Berlin City’s Dedrick Casab

We’re all in this together!

For more information about sustainability efforts in your school district, please contact any of your schools.

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