On Friday, April 20th, 2012, as part of Earth Care’s Global Youth Service Day and Earth Day celebration at Zona del Sol, the 2nd annual Sustainable School Awards ceremony was held. Over 27 awards were presented for service learning projects related to sustainability that took place in local schools throughout 2011. In partnership with the National Wildlife Federation’s EcoSchools program, awards were given in 8 different pathways: Water, Energy, Consumption & Waste, School Grounds, Transportation, Green Hour, Global Dimensions, and Food.
Although not every school group or classroom was present to receive their awards in person, those that were also received cheers and applause, before returning to complete even more service projects as part of the day-long event celebrating youth empowerment, environmental stewardship, and service-learning.
The full list of awards is below:
Capital High School
Project: Beautify Capital High
Project Lead: Scott Wipf
100+ 9th-12th graders
CHS students have worked to make the greenhouse functional, expand outdoor learning spaces, plant a school garden, engage more teachers and students in recycling, getting a compost program started, and even working with the nearby housing project at Village Sage to help with their community gardening efforts.
Project: Tesuque Elementary Garden
Project Lead: Cathy Miller
147 K-6 Students
Tesuque Elementary worked together on a school garden project that engages every student in the school with healthy eating, food production, and outdoor learning.
Amy Biehl Community School
Project: Winter Garden Greens
Project Leads: Paloma Collier, Amy Galanter and Pam de la O
445 K-6 Graders
In the last two years, Amy Biehl students have built 10 hoop houses with the help of community organizations and businesses. 21 classes in the school planted a total of 300 sq ft of winter greens. The students cared for the greens and have been harvesting them for the cafeteria since January, providing locally grown food to their school community for their lunch program.
Project: Recycling Campaign
Project Leads: Brenda Dominguez and Paloma Collier
24 students collected bins, 440 students recycled, 3rd grade presented, K-6 all involved
3rd grade students learned about recycling, conducted a waste audit and found that though most classrooms had recycling bins, people were not recycling properly and not recycling very much. After doing presentations in every classroom in the school, the amount of recycling has increased significantly and everyone now knows how to properly recycle. The 3rd grade students continue to monitor and graph recycling levels to encourage and share with their schoolmates.
Project: Terracycling Campaign
Project Leads: Lisa Romero & Nava Thunder Council
24 3rd -6th graders
Nava’s Thunder Council conducted a Terracycling campaign. They diverted several hundred (if not thousands) Capri Sun containers and Lunchables packaging materials from the waste stream which will be re-used and turned into new product, and helped raise student awareness about the amount of waste that they create
Project: Benches for Outdoor Classroom
Project Lead: Joe Wickert
Nine 4-6 Graders
Special Education Teacher Joe Wickert worked with his students to turn the courtyard at the center of Nava’s main building into an outdoor classroom space and schoolyard habitat. Students learned about the importance of outdoor classrooms, schoolyard habitats, the many ways we use trees and plants, and old-fashioned woodworking techniques, which they applied in the creation of bird feeders and benches.
Project: Acequia Madre Elementary School Garden
Project Lead: Sue McDonald, School Garden Coordinator
With the help of Sue McDonald, the garden coordinator, the school developed their garden, water catchment, and composting program.
Project: School-wide Recycling Program
Project Lead: Barbara McCarthy, 3rd grade teacher
180 students, K-6
Barbara McCarthy helped implement a school-wide recycling program at Acequia Madre.
Project: Desert Ecosystem/Native Plant Garden
Project Lead: Margarita Boule, Elise Fagen, Heather Herd, Allie Silber
70 4th and 5th grade students
4th and 5th grades at Aspen lead efforts to build a Desert Ecosystem and Native Plant Garden with whole school participation. This garden teaches and models water-wise gardening and connects students to local ecosystem.
Aspen Community Magnet School
Project: Recycling Program
Project Leads: Sarah Furr and Allie Silber
25 5th grade students
Ms. Sarah’s 5th grade class runs the recycling program every Wednesday morning. Students from all other classes bring their recycling and dump it into large white bins.
Aspen Community Magnet School
Project: Hunger Awareness Service Project
Project Leads: Vivian Vigil, Rita Rios-Baca, Carmina Armijo, Allie Silber
61 students and three 3rd grade teachers
3rd Grade Students spent several weeks turning their ideas about hunger awareness into action. Projects included having a food drive at school and planting greens in the greenhouse to then donate to hungry people through community organizations who distribute food to families in need.
Project: Schoolyard Habitat
Project Leads: Gonzales and Chavez
75 2nd grade students
Second graders at Salazar Elementary made their schoolyard habitat more vibrant by planting wildlife fodder and building bird feeders.
Project: Salazar Verde Garden Season Extension
Project Leads: Liana Sonne, Salazar Student Body
400 K-6th graders
The students have been planting, harvesting, and caring for a garden plot approximately 2,000 square feet in size and a hoop house that has been producing food through winter. This food is distributed to students either in class, in the cafeteria, or through Cooking with Kids.
Project: Composting at Salazar
Project Lead: Liana Sonne, Garden teacher
400 K-6th grade students
Students collect all of the food waste after their cafeteria lunch and are now including the snack waste from the K-2 classrooms. They also harvest the finished vermicompost to add back to the garden and make a delicious soil.
Project Lead: Montoyas’ 5th Grade Dual Langauge Class
50 5th grade students
Students are collecting and educating all of their fellow students on the importance of recycling. Students have significantly reduced the amount of waste produced by the school and in the classrooms.
Project: Water Conservation
Project Lead: Sanchez’ 5th grade class
25 5th graders
Students audited all the water use at the school and generated a campaign with fliers that address each of the “leaky” areas with specific info in a fun manner. Students have become much more aware of their water use and are aiding their fellow students in attentiveness to these important details.
Project: Recycling Project
Project Lead: Mr. Eric Druva
About 25 6th grade students
Mr. Druva’s 6th grade class started a program in which they collect the recycling from the entire school every week.
Project: Waste Audit
Project Lead: Rebecca Gonzalez’s third grade class
21 3rd grade students
Rebecca Gonzalez’s 3rd grade class audited the waste at their school and started an indoor worm compost bin.
Santa Fe High School
Project: Santa Fe High Vermicompost Program
Project Lead: Joe Baskin
The Santa Fe High Compost project has students, under the leadership of an AmeriCorps volunteer, collecting scrap food from the cafeteria, and diverting this waste from the landfill into a vermicompost bin.
Project Lead: Mattie Girdner
6th Graders made sure the recycling program at Carlos Gilbert was as effective as possible.
Project: School Garden
Project Lead: Erin Cherry
Students planted and maintained several raised beds, and enjoyed the fruits and veggies of their labor.
Project: Worm Composting
Project Lead: Erin Cherry
3rd Grade Students at Carlos Gilbert created a worm compost bin to divert some of their food waste from the landfill.
Project: School Grounds Beautification
Project Lead: Carlos Lee
All grade levels K-5th
With the support of Comcast Cares Day 100 students from the school and community volunteers improved the school grounds through: planting native trees, shrubs, flowers around the campus, mulched areas near sidewalks and plantings, planted grasses around bare areas and around soccer field, placed benches and sitting areas around campus, installed a greenhouse for the Kinders.
Ortiz Middle School
Project: Animal Shelter Project
Project Lead: Gil Pinon
About 15 6th-8th graders
Valentine’s Day Fundraiser to raise money for Animal Shelter raised $400. Students also participated in a letter writing campaign to legislature to ban use of leg hold traps in state. Finally, students collected blankets for animals and volunteered at the animal shelter.
DeVargas Middle School
Project Lead: Joe Baskin
Working within the Citizen Schools program, students at DeVargas Middle School created and maintained a worm compost pile, with the intent to use the compost in their garden.
Project: School and Community Garden
Project Lead: Anne Darton, principal
El Dorado students worked in their school garden, and learned from community members who managed their own private plots in the same garden.