DEEP: 2007 School GreenCircle Award Recipients

GreenCircle Award Recipients
2007 School Related

Name of School Facility

Category/Activity

Description of Activity

Hans Christian Montessori School
Bolton, CT

Promoting conservation and preservation of critical plant or animal habitats; implementing habitat enhancements for fish or wildlife on public or private property; and separating organic materials at schools or cafeterias for composting or animal feed

Hans Christian Andersen (HCA) Montessori School is a small, nonprofit program for young children. The program is made up of a community of 38 children, ranging in age from 2.9 - 6 years old. The school's property is 0.37 acres. It is between 2 large wooded expanses in the east and west directions. To the north side there is a patch of wetlands that recedes from the lawn area. There is a large portion of the lawn that has been left to nature for several years now; it is referred to as "The Meadow." On the other side of the wetland is the Bolton Public Library. Beginning in September 2006, the children of HCA Montessori began working together to maintain approximately 12 wild bird feeders; including different types of: black oil / thistle seed, suet, and hummingbird. They also help keep a bird waterer full with fresh water, and enjoy watching several other baths out on the lawn. Some children are becoming adept at identifying such species as Goldfinch, Blue Jay, Downy Woodpecker, Carolina Wren, and Cardinal. Their diligent efforts to support and coexist with the natural surroundings of their classroom have recently earned the children a certificate which recognizes HCA Montessori as an Official Backyard Wildlife Habitat. This recognition comes from the National Wildlife Federation. Students will welcome the spring season by installing 2 bluebird nesting boxes, as well as applying to become part of Cornell Lab of Ornithology's annual Project FeederWatch for next year's cold season.

Most recently the children and families were invited to participate in a letter writing campaign to President George W. Bush. They have sent of an impressive cache of personal letters, which ask the President to consider birds, animals, planet Earth, and our children as he resides in his position of public leadership.

In addition to all this activity, the children of HCA Montessori are also busy recycling and composting. In the classroom the children use paper that is donated from the "scrap / waste" remains of a local printer for their arts and crafting. They collect many reusable items at home (ie cardboard tubes, baby food containers) to bring to school to create projects as well. In the fall of 2006, they began learning how to use their new tumbling composter. They look forward to growing with and finally mastering this endeavor.

They garden. They compost. They recycle. They are scientists studying the Earth's vital elements: water, land, and air. They love animals and have an unquenchable knowledge, curiosity, and empathy for them. The children of Hans Christian Andersen Montessori School truly do know and care for our planet Earth. They clearly demonstrate excellence and quality in their efforts to: implement habitat enhancements on their private property; and promote conservation and preservation of natural environments, including composting and recycling.

Old Saybrook Middle School
Old Saybrook, CT

Donating significant time or resources to assist with environmental projects sponsored by youth groups, or community or conservation organizations and successfully implementing an innovative and unique recycling program

Old Saybrook Middle School organized and implemented a plastics recycling program in their school, 4th to 8th grade. Students educated the staff and student body with posters. Each classroom has a recycling bin with sign "plastics 1's and 2's only." Students collect the recycling bin once a week. They have also done an energy conservation walk through of their school and met with the administration to discuss changes which have already been implemented.

Roaring Brook School
Avon, CT

Promoting conservation and preservation of critical plant or animal habitats

Each first grade class at Roaring Brook School, students and teaching team, visited the CRRA Trash Museum in Hartford and learned first-hand how reducing, re-using and recycling our trash can impact the waste stream and protect the environment. In preparation for their trip to the museum, the first grade classes participated in a "Multiple Intelligence Day" where students attended seven 20-minute sessions conducted by each teacher on the First Grade Teaching Team. Students moved from teacher to teacher and participated in sessions focused on the theme of "Protecting the Earth". Mrs. Cartona's focus was on the Visual-Spatial Intelligence (enhancing the capacity to think in images and pictures and to visualize accurately and abstractly). The students used recycled items to create a bookmark. Mrs. Civittolo's focus was on the Musical Intelligence (producing and appreciating rhythm). The students listened to and learned music about Mother Earth by Raffi. They also played instruments and acted out the songs. Mrs. Fenn's focus was on the Mathematical-Logical Intelligence (the ability to think conceptually and abstractly, and the capacity to discern logical or numerical patterns). The students created a Venn diagram that compared ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle items.

Mrs. Grady's focus was on the Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence (developing verbal skills and sensitivity to the sounds). The studens listened to "Dear Children of the Earth, A Letter From Home" by Schim Schimmel and wrote a letter to Mother Earth about how they will respect and protect her. Mrs. McDonnell's focus was on the Bodily -Kinesthetic Intelligence (the ability to control one's body movements and to handle objects skillfully). The students practiced paper folding and origami with recycled paper. Mrs. Pirla's focus was on the Naturalist Intelligence (the ability to recognize and categorize plants, animals, and other objects in nature). Each class created a mini-rainforest terrarium. Mrs. Winterson's focus was on the Intrapersonal Intelligence (the capacity to be self-aware and in tune with inner feelings, values, and beliefs). The students listened to the story "Miss Rumphius" by Barbara Cooney and discussed how they can make the world a better place. The first graders at Roaring Brook School are now well on their way to becoming a new generation of environmental stewards, and their first grade teachers have played a significant role in instilling this stewardship in them by educating them about respecting Mother Earth.

John Berry
Irving A. Robbins Middle School
Farmington, CT

Sponsoring a river, beach or neighborhood clean up day; promoting conservation and preservation of critical plant or animal habitats; voluntarily contributing significant time or resources to environmental instructional programs, DEP fish and wildlife projects, water quality monitoring programs, or lake, river, or watershed associations; and donating significant time or resources to assist with environmental projects sponsored by youth groups, or community or conservation organizations

John Berry, a science teacher at Irving A. Robbins (IAR) Middle School in Farmington, continues to volunteer his time as the Faculty Advisor to Farmington's "Green Team." Founded in 2002, the Green Team began with forty student members and the goal of mobilizing middle and high school students to become responsible environmental stewards. The group has grown to 120 middle school and 40 high school members who participate in a number of clean-up and advocacy activities. Notably, in 2006 one in ten middle school students participated in the annual Farmington River clean-up. During the 2007 legislative session, the Green Team provided testimony before the Connecticut General Assembly's Environmental Committee in support of expanding Connecticut's beverage container redemption laws to include containers of water and other noncarbonated beverages and for increasing the redemption rate from 5 cents to 10 cents. They cited research showing that the state's return rate would likely jump from 70 percent to at least 90 percent, thereby reducing litter, encouraging recycling, and saving space in landfills. They also reminded the legislature's environment committee that Connecticut was among the first states to pass the original bottle bill more than 25 years ago, and encouraged the state to join California, Hawaii and Maine as the only states that charge a deposit on water bottles. The Green Team subsequently returned to Hartford to ask legislative leaders for their support of the proposed "bottle bill." The team delivered letters and petitions in support of the measure to Governor M. Jodi Rell, Senate President Pro Tempore Donald E. Williams, Jr. (D-Brooklyn), and Speaker of the House James Amann (D-Milford).

Under Faculty Advisor John Berry's direction, the Green Team remains committed to environmental issues. For example, the Green Team routinely participates in and coordinates various projects, such as helping at the Farmington River Clean-up; recycling computer supplies, cell phones, and bottles; rebuilding the IAR pond; fundraising for international green projects; and researching environmental topics. During the 2006-2007 school year, Mr. Berry and members of the Green Team also conducted performances of "The Enviromusical" to reinforce their own environmental stewardship and to raise awareness in their peers, parents and the general public about important environmental issues. The musical, written by Mr. Berry, examines issues ranging from landfills, waste and recycling, climate change, and wellwater contamination, and also reinforces the message to the audience that we are part of the problem but we are also part of the solution to these problems.

The Green Team from IAR also participated in the 2006 statewide "Cool It! Challenge," a program sponsored in part by Clean Air/Cool Planet and many Connecticut science centers that asks students to learn about climate science, to understand how human activities are contributing to climate change, and to create solutions to climate change in their school or community. The IAR Green Team fielded the largest entry group in the debut year of the Challenge and won Third Place in the "Planning Phase"; their focus and passion could very well land them in First Place in the "Results Phase" of the Challenge, as 24 Green Team families now embark on their commitment to proving the effectiveness of the Green Teamís "Green Ripple" Plan to make small household adjustments to cumulatively reduce their householdís carbon footprint. The Green Teamís enthusiasm and dedication to improving Connecticut's environment, and John Berry's ongoing commitment to educating the next generation of environmental stewards, make them worthy recipients of the DEP's GreenCircle award.

Jennifer Law
4th Grade Teacher Salisbury Central School
Salisbury, CT

Donating significant time or resources to assist with environmental projects (e.g., projects or programs promoted by youth groups, community based organizations, businesses, or environmental entitles)

It is sometimes depressing to read about all the things that are wrong with our environment. That how the 4th graders at in Jennifer Lawís Language Arts Enrichment class in Salisbury Elementary School felt after reading about global warming, hazardous waste and other environmental problems in their lesson called "Earth Patrol."

As part of the lesson, Ms. Jennifer Law, 4th grade teacher, took the nine students in the class to the local transfer station, operated by the towns of Salisbury and Sharon, to see how solid waste is managed. Larry Beck, manager of the facility, took the students on a tour. The students were so impressed and heartened by what they saw there that they wanted everyone to know about what their town was doing to protect the earth.

Most people in town had probably made their way to the transfer station to drop off their weekly garbage, but the students thought that too few people were aware of all the opportunities there were to reduce, reuse, and recycle (the 3 Rís). So they developed a "tour" of the transfer station in booklet form, cleverly entitled, "Itís Not A Dump." With the exception of printing the covers, the students were involved in every aspects of putting 350 copies of the booklet together, including taking time from recesses and lunches to collate and bind them. One copy went home to each family at the school. Copies were also distributed to town officials and employees, and to members of the Solid Waste Commission. Financing came from the Salisbury Association Land Trust.

Warren School
Warren, CT

Adopting a vacant lot, park, community garden, stretch of highway or beach for a year and voluntarily contributing significant time or resources to environmental instructional programs, DEP fish and wildlife projects, water quality monitoring programs, or lake, river, or watershed associations

The Warren School continues to demonstrate a commitment to a wide variety of environmental activities in each classroom that enriches both the students and the Warren community. On-going projects include an out reach garden which involves all students in the school. Grade 5 implemented a school wide recycling program for bottles and cans. Grade 6 started seeds indoors, and taught the younger students about planting and caring for the crops. An all school planting was held at the end of May. Grades 1 and 3 chose and displayed prize vegetables for exhibit at the Bethlehem Fair in September. Kindergarteners made a conscious effort to use recycled items when creating seasonal projects. Grades 2 and 4 "put the graden to bed" at the end of the season. It is the dedication to this joint effort that provides our students with a tangible sense of community and the value of working together.

Warren School Kindergarten
Warren, CT

Successfully implementing an innovative and unique recycling program

The Warren School Kindergarten class makes many, many craft projects. This year they made a conscious effort to use recycled items when creating special seasonal projects. They made jack-o-lanterns out of recycled jars that they collected from home. They used recycled fabric scraps from a local interior designer to create scarecrows and to make framable letter art. They used old egg cartons to start their seeds in and they used recycled plastic containers to create special planters to plant their Mother's Day flower bulbs in. They learned that something old and no longer useful can be transformed into something spectacular.

Warren School Student Council
Warren, CT

Promoting conservation and preservation of critical plant or animal habitats and implementing habitat enhancements for fish or wildlife on public or private property

The habitat for their Feeder Watch Program, which involves all fourth graders at Warren School was destroyed recently due to a well renovation project. Their wounderful shrubs and vines were removed and this year they noticed a severe drop in their bird sightings. As a community service project the Student Council purchased and planted quick-growing forsythia to enhance our school's bird habitat.

Kathi Brown, Librarian
Warren School Library
Warren, CT

Adopting a vacant lot, park, community garden, stretch of highway or beach for a year

The year of 2007 will be a continuation of the refurbishment of the Secret Garden. Students will rake all gardens out and clip back bushes. The Secret Garden continues to offer a creative area to read and teach lessons for all staff and their classes.

Susan Carpenter
1st GradeTeacher
Warren School
Warren, CT

Adopting a vacant lot, park, community garden, stretch of highway or beach for a year

The Warren School first grade class has continued to maintain the Community Garden this year. They have also weeded, mulched, and maintained their butterfly garden. They have added new plants to this butterfly garden to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. The class also added a butterfly feeder to accompany a bird feeder and a hummingbird feeder in their garden. Each year the Warren School displays vegetables at the Bethlehem fair. First graders help select and harvest the vegetables to be put on display. The first graders applied for another award this year called The Live Monarch Foundation Grant Award. This program provides education and materials to strenghten the Monarchís 3,000 mile migratory route by creating self-sustaining butterfly garden and refuges. This foundation also has many on-line activity links for the children as well as giving out free materials and milkweed plants.

Zoe Greenwood and Alisa Wright, Teachers
Warren School
Warren, CT

Separating organic materials at schools or cafeterias for composting or animal feed

Zoe Greenwood and Alisa Wright developed a compost program for Warren School. The entire school population will compost lunch scraps after snack and lunch daily. There will be a compost container in each classroom as well as in the staff room. The kitchen will compost lunch preparation scraps. Bins have been provided to house the working compost. Students will oversee the "dumping" of compost from lunches and will oversee the compost bins.

Laura Halloran
Cafeteria Manager
Warren School
Warren, CT

Voluntarily contributing significant time or resources to environmental instructional programs

Ms. Laura Halloran, the cafeteria manager of Warren School, procured a $10,000 grant to be divided among the four schools from Region 6 to purchase fresh produce directly from the Department of Defense. This is in line with the Wellness Program to promote the use of more fresh produce in daily menus. The children and staff have enthusiastically accepted this program. They all particularly like the oven roasted sweet potatoes and other vegetables.

Carol Leavitt
Warren School
Warren, CT

Donating significant time or resources to assist with environmental projects sponsored by youth groups, or community or conservation organizations

Ms. Carol Leavitt of Warren School has worked with a small group of students to develop an Indoor Plant Hospital. They have gathered withering houseplants from their school building and from the community. The children have worked to revitalize the plants through improved watering, repotting and fertilizing. The Hospital has been developed near sunny windows in our main corridor, and has served as a reward for students who have worked successfully on personal goals.

Kathy Newton
2nd Grade Teacher
Warren School
Warren, CT

Adopting a vacant lot, park, community garden, stretch of highway or beach for a year

The Warren School second grade continued their butterfly project. This yearís students helped to gather both egg and larval stages, and they had the added excitement of finding them right outside their back door for the very first time. They have made a concerted effort to grow and maintain milkweed plants in their butterfly garden for the last three years, and coupled that with many discussions about native and non-native species and invasive plants. They released 10 monarchs after caring for the caterpillars, participated in Monarch Watch, and attempted to identify other types of butterflies visiting the garden. They are continuing to maintain the garden and study, record and identify butterflies.

Heather Nypert
3rd Grade Teacher
Warren School
Warren, CT

Implementing habitat enhancements for fish or wildlife on public or private property

The Warren School third grade students studied how different plants and animals have adapted to obtain air, water, food and protection in specific land and water habitats. Students also learned how earth materials provide resources for all living things, but these resources are limited and should be conserved. Students described how materials can be conserved by reducing, reusing, and recycling materials rather than discarding them. In addition, the class went on a walk to collect trash around the school grounds.

Marcella Olson
5th Grade Teacher
Warren School
Warren, CT

Successfully implementing an innovative and unique recycling program

The Warren School fifth grade students developed, promoted and implemented a system for recycling water bottles, aluminum cans and newspaper in the school. Also, the fifth grade students participate in the all school planting which occurs every May at Warren School. They work with their families to tend the garden during the summer weeks while school is in recess.

Sandie Taylor, Parent
Warren, CT

Adopting a vacant lot, park, community garden, stretch of highway or beach for a year and donating significant time or resources to assist with environmental projects sponsored by youth groups, or community or conservation organizations

Mrs. Taylor served as project coordinator for Warren Schoolís new playground, with an eye toward DEPís program, "No Child Left Inside." She researched, planned and organized the purchase and installation of playground equipment meeting safety and district regulations. The playground area also includes "Fort Warren," a natural play space at the edge of the woods. It is cordoned off from the surrounding woods and is probably the most popular area at recess. "Tables and chairs" made from tree sections make this an inviting area for children.

Joane Woodington
4th GradeTeacher
Warren School
Warren, CT

Promoting conservation and preservation of critical plant or animal habitats and implementing habitat enhancements for fish or wildlife on public or private property.

The Warren School fourth grade students are responsible each year for maintaining their schoolís Nature Trail. Students make repairs to existing signs which house information. They also update facts which they uncover through research on seasonal plants. Students obtain information on these plants through the internet and consultations with Mr. Jeffrey Greenwood at the White Memorial Conservation Center. Students use the knowledge they gain to conduct tours of the trail for parents and other students at Warren School.

Alisa Wright
6th Grade Teacher
Warren School
Warren, CT

Adopting a vacant lot, park, community garden, stretch of highway or beach for a year.

The Warren School sixth grade students are extremely proud of their schoolyard community garden, Harvest of Dreams. Since 2002, our garden has provided an authentic, hands-on way to learn about the environment, community outreach, cooperation, conservation and many curriculum objectives. Six grade students initiate the garden each year by sowing and nurturing the seeds and coordinating a whole - school planting day. An annual highlight is when the sixth grade students present garden lessons to each class adorned with construction paper vegetable costumes and hosting a Harvest Luncheon each fall. During the summer, families from the Warren community maintain the garden and transport the many pounds of veggies to the New Milford soup kitchen and food bank. Purple Martin houses have been created this year using gourds harvested last year. It has been a wonderful way to model to our students about reaching out and helping other less fortunate.

 
 

GreenCircle Award Recipients | GreenCircle Award Program

Content Last Updated on September 11, 2007