DEEP: 2009 School GreenCircle Award Recipients

GreenCircle Award Recipients
2009 School Related

Name of School Facility

Category/Activity

Description of Activity

Coventry Care Takers
Coventry, CT

Successfully implementing an innovative and unique pollution prevention program that generates an environmental benefit.

The Coventry Care Takers community group became interested in recycling after they conducted research and discovered that the majority of Coventry Public School students did not know how to distinguish between the materials that need to be recycled and the items that are disposed of in the trash. After realizing the students did not understand the concept of recycling and the benefits it promotes to the environment, the Coventry Care Takers initiated a composting as well as a disposal of electronic waste or e-waste program after reading multiple articles that focused on the toxic consequences of disposing electronic waste improperly.
The Coventry Care Takers mission is to reduce trash in their school system by implementing recycling, composting, and proper disposal of electronic waste to make the school community a greener place. To achieve these goals, the group created a composting program in the cafeteria to reduce trash, labeled different bins of compost, trash, cans and bottles, milk cartons and paper with their names. Students were not able to identify which material gets recycled and which one goes in the trash, so the group created a commercial showing the students which items goes in the proper bins and played this video on the morning show which is the largest form of advertisement in their school. Activities conducted by The Group include an electronic waste fundraiser for the collection of televisions and the replacement of Styrofoam trays with reusable trays. Implementation of composting, recycling and properly disposing of electronic waste saved the school and school district thousands of dollars.

Kent School Dining Hall
Kent, 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 entities).

The Kent School Dining Hall has undertaken a number of changes to reduce their overall impact on the planet. In the dining hall they have eliminated serving trays for students and faculty. This reduced water usage (cleaning of trays), food waste (students cannot carry more than they can eat). Their purchasing of food products include many local farmers and producers within Connecticut. In fact, they have gone so far as to begin their own farm on school property. This summer several hundred pounds of potatoes were produced that form a staple of their daily meals, several bushels of onions and numerous herbs have rounded out their meals with greatly reduced transportation costs for the food on their tables. To educate students (and faculty) about their efforts, signs throughout the dining hall advertise their use of local and Kent School farm produce, explain the reasons for the trayless dining hall and promote general healthy habits.

Franklin Elementary School
North Franklin, CT

Successfully implementing an innovative and unique pollution prevention program that generates an environmental benefit.

On April 22, 2009, in celebration with Earth Day, the entire Franklin School learning community beautified the school grounds and building with recyclable art and supplies. Students worked on outdoor projects with teachers as they were educated about the importance of maintaining a quality plant Earth. Their recycling program centered around paper, juice boxes, and clothes.

Karen Evans
4th Grade
Old Saybrook Middle School
Old Saybrook, CT

Donating significant time or resources to assist with environmental projects and separating organic materials at schools or cafeterias for composting or animal feed.

The fourth grade science class students at Old Saybrook Middle School are composting snack scraps (throughout the year) to be used in a gardening project or for the school grounds. In celebration of Earth Day, students organized and participated an Earth Day Energy Expo to educate the entire school including their parents about topics ranging from conserving energy, composting , the 3R's (recycle, reduce and reuse), renewable energy (solar, wind, tidal, geothermal, biomass, nuclear, green schools and green homes, global warming fossil fuels, eating locally, and incandescent versus fluorescent light bulbs. In addition, the students sold recycled crafts they created and donated the money raised to an environmental organization. Other activities included cleaning up the school ground.

Plainville Community Schools
Plainville, CT

Reduce or eliminate the use of elemental mercury containing elemental mercury (e.g., thermometers, thermostats, etc.); implement clean energy generation projects utilizing fuel cells, solar, geothermal or wind power; implement a facility-wide integrated pest management program; and, successfully implement an innovative and unique recycling program.

In an effort to remove all mercury containing equipment each year, Science Department personnel, nursing staff, and other relevant district personnel (under the direction of the Facilities Department), purge all equipment bearing mercury including thermometers, thermostats, science equipment, blood pressure machines and lamps. Mercury bearing equipment was also removed during district school building renovation projects.
Solar roofing system for Plainville High School, Linden Street School and Toffolon Elementary School are a win-win for the environment and the district resulting in approximately $62,000 per year in cost savings and energy use reduction. The high school and Toffolon's photo voltaic systems, funded partially by the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, incorporate flat roof technology, producing approximately 195,000 KW and 71,000 KW hours of solar energy per year respectively. The Linden model is a crystalline system incorporated through a power purchase agreement. The system is installed, paid for, and maintained by a private company under a 20 year lease. In return, the school will purchase solar panel power at a lower rate than that of the utility companies. Specifics per school: 1) High School: Estimated annual output: 195,000 kWh, estimated annual savings: $31,200-$40,000, plus $5,000-$10,000 for Renewable Energy Credit payments; 2) Toffolon: Estimated annual output 71,049 kWh, estimated annual savings $11,400-$14,500, plus $2,000-$5,000 for renewable energy credit payments; 3) Linden: estimated annual output 185,000 kWh, estimated annual savings $7,000-$8,000 first year savings, savings will increase if utility rates rise faster than 2.5% per year. Aggregate: Total annual kW production 450,000 kWh or 450 megawatt hours; total amount savings approximately $62,000; avoided CO2: 382,500 lbs or 191 tons; equivalent to planting 800 trees or taking 40 cars off the road.

Each year, information about the district's integrated pest management program is distributed to parents. The plan outlines what steps are taken with regard to pest management, including information on pesticides.

Plainville Community Schools is proud of the innovative "student lead" recycling programs at the Middle School of Plainville and Plainville High School. The Middle School's Recycling Club began in May 2008. This year approximately ten middle school students participate in the club, which is open to all students. The group is advised by MSP faculty member Christina Konovalov. The primary focus of the club is recycling paper and cardboard at school. The club recently participated in the Earthstock Event at Tunxis Community College where they sold plants that members planted in plastic water bottles. Club members also provided information about how to switch to a greener lifestyle.

Plainville High School's recycling program is coordinated by a group of students led by PHS faculty member Melissa Salvatore. The recycling program began as part of the Environmental Club's focus. Each Monday after school, students collect all recyclable paper and cans from the high school classrooms in a specially marked recycling bin. The group has been recycling each week since September.

Regional School District No. 6
Litchfield, CT

Successfully implementing an innovative and unique pollution prevention program that generates an environmental benefit.

Warren School recognized the Regional School District No. 6 for providing their school (and the other three schools in the district) with the means to recycle paper products. The school system, under the direction of Business Manager Ed Drapp, has committed itself to being green. Through its procedures, leadership, and actions, Regional School District No. 6 is teaching students the importance of recycling.

Roaring Brook School Green Team
Avon, CT

Promoting conservation and preservation of critical plant or animal habitats; donating significant time or resources to assist with environmental projects; and successfully implementing an innovative and unique pollution prevention program that generates an environmental benefit.

Roaring Brook School (RBS) has continued its "Green Team" to support and encourage environmentally friendly efforts at the school and strengthen the school's commitment to learning and teaching about protecting the environment. The Green Team is made up of the Assistant Principal, a teacher representative from each grade, three student representatives, and parent representatives from the Roaring Brook School Parent Teacher Organization's Environment Committee. This year, two community liaison representatives have been added to the Green Team: a grandfather of an RBS student, and a mother/environmental activist whose children do not yet attend RBS.
Some examples of the Green Team's efforts during the 2008-2009 school year include: strengthening the environmental curriculum at Roaring Brook School by coordinating cultural programs and student musical performances around environmental themes, and encouraging several in-classroom activities to celebrate Earth Day, including a "no paper homework week" and nature photography and journaling; adopting Green Cleaning practices throughout the school to reduce the use of chemical cleaners and wasteful cleaning practices; identifying ways for the school to reduce energy consumption, including eliminating one light bulb in each overhead fixture, and opening windows in the spring and summer to reduce the need to turn on air conditioning units; and, pursuing several public and private grants to help establish a nature trail and "outdoor classroom" on school grounds.
Through these continued efforts, the students at Roaring Brook School are supported in maintaining their on-going commitment to protecting the planet. This sense of environmental stewardship is instilled and cultivated by the dedicated teaching staff at the school, and the staff's efforts are, in turn, enhanced by the Green Team.

Roaring Brook School Student Body
Avon, CT

Promoting conservation and preservation of critical plant or animal habitats; donating significant time or resources to assist with environmental projects; and successfully implementing an innovative and unique pollution prevention program that generates an environmental benefit.

The entire student body at Roaring Brook School (RBS) has been hard at work, improving their recycling efforts throughout the school and strengthening their environmental stewardship.
During the 2008-2009 school year, the students at RBS have stepped up their recycling efforts both in the cafeteria and in their classrooms: students continue to recycle milk and juice cartons, #1 and #2 plastics, and metal food containers in the cafeteria; students continue to separate mixed paper/office paper and plastic water bottles/juice cartons from their classroom waste stream in recycling bins purchased for each classroom and office area by the RBS PTO; and, a rotation of Fourth Grade students also help the custodial staff empty several rolling "satellite" recycling bins into the school's larger outdoor recycling dumpsters. The rolling "satellite" bins are used to collect the recyclables collected in each classroom's recycling bins, and were also purchased by the RBS PTO.

Students participated in several activities during the week of CT Recycles Day in November, including: signing recycling promise cards; collecting clean plastic grocery bags for recycling; and collecting empty inkjet printer cartridges in the computer room. The cartridges are brought in from home by students and returned for recycling to the Inkjet Warehouse in Canton for money that is used to buy rewards for students who do environmentally friendly things.
Roaring Brook students also celebrated Earth Week in April by: collecting used sneakers for the Nike Reuse-a-Shoe program; bringing "waste-free lunches" to school; riding their bikes and walking to school; coloring a picture of the Earth and providing a written tip on how they will protect the planet; each planet Earth and tip was displayed on bulletin boards and walls throughout the school; designing an Earth Day Grocery Bag with an environmental message - bags will then be displayed throughout the store at Big Y in Avon; participating in a series of PTO-sponsored hikes to tie in with the Avon Land Trust's "Unplugged Learning Project" to get kids away from their televisions and computers and back outside; one of the hikes was through the woods behind Roaring Brook School where a new nature trail and an outdoor classroom are being developed; and, making "Happy Earth Day" greeting cards that were impregnated with seeds; after enjoying the card for the week, students could then bury the entire card in soil and eventually grow wildflowers.

Several grades also conducted their own additional activities: Kindergarteners made "Recycling Robots" out of recyclable materials and displayed them in the hallways; first grade classes are participating in a new curriculum, "Leap into Learning," which highlights the life cycle of frogs and discusses the importance of protecting vernal pools and other frog habitats; each first grade class has 4 resident tadpoles, and the classes are monitoring tadpole development and incorporating their observations into math, science, and language arts curricula; first grade classes also participated in their GreenCircle Award-winning Multiple Intelligences Day, focusing on Protecting the Earth, where students attended seven 20-minute sessions conducted by each teacher on the First Grade Teaching Team. Students move from teacher to teacher and participate in sessions ranging from using recycled items to create a bookmark, to creating a Venn Diagram comparing ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle items, to creating a mini-rainforest terrarium, to listening to "Dear Children of the Earth, a Letter From Home" by Schim Schimmel and writing a letter to Mother Earth about how they will respect and protect her; and, second graders wrote Earth Day Haikus, made Reduce-Reuse-Recycle posters, or conducted a writing exercise explaining why the Earth is precious to them.

Rosanne Civittolo
1st Grade, Roaring Brook School
Avon, CT

Donating significant time or resources to assist with environmental projects.

Rosanne Civittolo's class learned about protecting wildlife habitats and raised money to adopt a polar bear family and a jaguar mother and cub through the National Wildlife Federation.

Lisa Fenn
1st Grade, Roaring Brook School
Avon, CT

Donating significant time or resources to assist with environmental.

Lisa Fenn and Susan Winterson, First Grade Teachers, worked with the Roaring Brook Nature Center to develop a new First Grade curriculum, Leap into Learning. Each class was given four tadpoles, and the classes are monitoring tadpole development and learning about frog life cycle and the importance of protecting habitats like vernal pools. At the end of the school year, the tadpoles will be returned to the habitat from which they were collected. Students are incorporating their observations into their math, science, and language arts studies.

Susan Winterson
1st Grade, Roaring Brook School
Avon, CT

Donating significant time or resources to assist with environmental projects.

Susan Winterson and Lisa Fenn, First Grade Teachers, worked with the Roaring Brook Nature Center to develop a new First Grade curriculum , Leap into Learning. Each class was given four tadpoles, and the classes are monitoring tadpole development and learning about frog life cycle and the importance of protecting habitats like vernal pools. At the end of the school year, the tadpoles will be returned to the habitat from which they were collected. Students are incorporating their observations into their math, science, and language arts studies.

Molly Ford
4th Grade, Roaring Brook School
Avon, CT

Donating significant time or resources to assist with environmental.

Molly Ford and Emma Ort, 4th Grade Students, under the Supervision of Joanne Genualdi, 4th Grade Teacher, are conducting an experiment to compare the decomposition rates of a prototype corn-based packaging material, which is touted to decompose in 14 weeks, and a conventional popcorn snack bag. The students designed the experiment and attached the conventional material to the new material with a chain link of paperclips. They expect to see significant decomposition of the prototype by the last day of school, and then they will re-bury the material and check again later in the summer to chart additional decomposition progress.

Joanna Genualdi
4th Grade, Roaring Brook School
Avon, CT

Donating significant time or resources to assist with environmental projects.

Joanna Genualdi, Fourth Grade Teacher and two of her students are conducting an experiment to compare the decomposition rates of a prototype corn-based packaging material, which is touted to decompose in 14 weeks, and a conventional popcorn snack bag. The students designed the experiment and attached the conventional material to the new material with a chain link of paperclips. They expect to see significant decomposition of the prototype by the last day of school, and then they will re-bury the material and check again later in the summer to chart additional decomposition progress.

Emma Ort, Student
4th Grade, Roaring Brook School
Avon, CT

Donating significant time or resources to assist with environmental projects.

Emma Ort and Molly Ford, 4th Grade Students, under the supervision of Joanne Genualdi, 4th Grade Teacher, are conducting an experiment to compare the decomposition rates of a prototype corn-based packaging material, which is touted to decompose in 14 weeks, and a conventional popcorn snack bag. The students designed the experiment and attached the conventional material to the new material with a chain link of paperclips. They expect to see significant decomposition of the prototype by the last day of school, and then they will re-bury the material and check again later in the summer to chart additional decomposition progress.

Sue Hovey, Art Teacher
Roaring Brook School
Avon, CT

Donating significant time or resources to assist with environmental projects.

Sue Horvey's art classes celebrated Earth Day by making "Happy Earth Day" cards. The cards were impregnated with seeds so that students can bury the entire card in soil and eventually grow wildflowers.

Jonathon Mejias
Sage Park Middle School
Windsor, CT

Donating significant time or resources to assist with environmental projects and successfully implementing an innovative and unique pollution prevention program that generates an environmental benefit.

Jonathon Mejias, a sixth grader at Sage Park Middle School, created a recycling program and succeeded in implementing the program at his school. He is now working on taking this program to all the Windsor schools. Jon's goal is, "To empower youth to fight for our planet's survival through the use of education and motivation."
Jon started his journey in December of 2007. He began researching trash collection, recyclables and the story of how we handle their waste. He read articles, watched films and kept journals of information he uncovered. Then, Jon came up with the idea to create a competition at his school to see which team of students could collect and redeem the most recyclable items. To accomplish this, he wrote a plan and submitted it to the school's administrators. Jon then began contacting town employees for support. He contacted Cyd Groff, Environmental Planner of the Town of Windsor who was able to locate funds to order recycling bins for the school's cafeteria.

While Jon waited for the school's approval of his plan, he initiated the collection of recyclable items which were placed in several recycling bins. The items were recycled curbside through the Town's curbside recycling program.
Jon contacted North West to request their support to conduct a school field trip and in April 2008 North West Park's board agreed to support the school field trip.
The individuals who assisted Jon were Laura Butler, school's FPS and challenge program teacher, who helped him set up meetings with Mr. Cavaliere, the school's principal, and obtained approval to support the buses for a field trip to be awarded to the winning team; and, Lisa Bress who provided her support by developing a committee at the school to organize the collection of recyclables and pick up by Windsor Sanitation.

In late March 2008, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) became involved in supporting the school's efforts to bring Sage Park into compliance with the 1991 recycling bill. Jackie Pernell, Environmental Analyst 3, CT Department of Environmental Protection, coordinated the redemption of the Fizz-ed cans.
The recycling program kicked off on April 7th at Sage Park Middle School. Jon's initiative to implement the recycling program at the school has served as a model to other Windsor schools as some of them are already making plans to adopt similar programs.
Jon and his school staff have worked diligently to make connections in the community and create alliances to make the recycling program a success. Jon and the administration at Sage Park Middle School are an inspiration to everyone because programs like these educate not only the students but also communities about the importance of recycling and teach us the role we have in changing the way we handle waste.

The Sage Park recycling program has had positive comments from government officials. Gina McCarthy, the now former DEP Commissioner, congratulated Jon on helping his community shift away from a throw away mentality toward one that promotes a reduction in the amount and toxicity of the waste they produce. Governor Rell's letter to Jonathon Mejias praised Connecticut's students for taking the initiative to motivate and educate others on important issues like recycling and environmental preservation.

Southeast Elementary School
Mansfield Center, CT

Voluntarily contributing significant time or resources to environmental instructional programs; separating organic materials at schools or cafeterias for composting or animal feed; and successfully implementing an innovative and unique pollution prevention program that generates an environmental benefit.

The Southeast Elementary School implemented environmental instructional programs through the Green Thumbs and Eco-Eagles Club. Students learned about renewable energy and promoted community participation in the renewable energy option for electricity. They also learned about the importance of rain forest preservation and have participated in a fundraiser to save the rain forests. The school participated in a "Go Green Week" and a Recycling Fair.
Students continue to compost all food waste produced in the classroom and cafeteria. In addition, the school expanded its recycling program to include juice pouches and glue sticks. The Green Thumbs Club purchased reusable soup bowls and silverware for use in the cafeteria in lieu of disposables. Also, students have participated in a waste-free packaging campaign for student snacks.

Thompson Brook School Student Body & TBS Green T.E.A.M.
Avon, CT

Promoting conservation and preservation of critical plant or animal habitats and donating significant time or resources to assist with environmental projects .

The Thompson Brook School (TBS) established its first-ever Green T.E.A.M. during the 2008-2009 school year. The Green T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Achieves More) was instrumental in beginning the process of helping TBS "Go Green". To commemorate Earth Day, the Green T.E.A.M. invited families to celebrate Earth Week and came up with suggestions of how TBS students and their families could all be part of a T.E.A.M. by participating in several Earth-ffriendly activities. The Green T.E.A.M. challenged students to do as many of the suggested ideas as possible with their families such as conserving water by reducing the amount of water the toilet uses when it flushes; recycle junk mail; recycle sneakers by bringing in old sneakers for the Nike Reuse-a-Shoe Collection; save trees by eliminating unwanted catalogues by visiting the web site www.catalogchoice.org and sign up for free service; conserve electricity by participating in another Earth Hour at their home; reduce the carbon footprint by making an effort to walk, bike and carpool during the week; reuse materials by collecting objects from home that would normally be thrown out and designate a new purpose for them; pack "waste free" lunches and snacks in reusable containers; and be creative by using items from the recycling bin and make a great art project (a glass spaghetti jar can make a great drinking glass for ice-cold lemonade or a mini-plant terrarium).

The Green T.E.A.M. also sponsored a rock sale and sold rocks painted by Fifth Grade students with Earth-related themes. The rock sale will raise money to help green-up Thompson Brook School. The Green T.E.A.M. is hoping to eventually purchase a bicycle-powered energy generator. Members of the Green Team are:

K.C. Chapman, 6th Grade Teacher, and his students Julia McGowen, Michael Frost, Megan Dart and Natalie Swicki.
Brenda Lynch, 5th Grade Teacher, and his students Jessica Co, Will Varble, and Jack Clonan.
James Lindberg, 5th Grade Teacher, and his students Natty Sherbacow, Zach Kropp, Alex Massoumi, and Maeve DeFranzo.
Stefanie Dunn, 5th Grade Teacher, and her students Jeremiah Winns, Mikayla Bernetic, Jamie McNeil, and Nick Baldwin.

Warren School
Warren, CT

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

All students of Warren school are successfully composting their lunch waste. The fifth graders are responsible for teaching younger students what can and cannot be composted and they are in charge of depositing the waste at the end of each lunch period into the compost bin.
The compost is then used in their "Harvest of Dreams" community garden. Many students are now composting at home as well.

Warren School Student Council
Warren, CT

Sponsoring a river, beach or neighborhood cleanup day.

The Warren School Student Council organized their school wide Earth Day clean-up project. Student Council members assessed their school grounds and determined which areas needed to be addressed. The Student Council representatives acted as group leaders meeting with individual classes, assigning areas to be cleaned, and organizing the materials needed to do the job, such as rakes, gloves, trash bags, etc. They also explained the purpose and importance of Earth Day to their assigned groups.

1st Grade, Warren School
Warren, CT

Adopting a vacant lot, park, community garden, stretch of highway or beach for a year and implementing habitat enhancements for fish or wildlife on public or private property.

This year, the first grade class at Warren School has continued to maintain the Community Garden. They have also weeded, mulched, and maintained their butterfly garden. They have added new plants to the garden to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. The class has also added a butterfly feeder to accompany a bird feeder as well as a hummingbird feeder in their garden. In their classroom, they try to recycle all paper scraps and any plastic items that need to be discarded. They made terrariums by recycling plastic 2 liter soda bottles to learn about what makes a plant a living thing and how they have different structures that allow them to meet their basic needs.

4th Grade & Warren School
Warren, CT

Successfully implementing an innovative and unique pollution prevention program that generates an environmental benefit.

The entire Warren School is involved in the recycling of plastic containers and cans. Students in fourth grade are responsible for explaining the recycling rules to each classroom at the beginning of the school year. Students also learned about the process and need to recycle through a presentation made by the Tunxis Recycling Organization. Once a week fourth graders collect the plastic containers and cans to be recycled and place them in the school's recycling bin.

5th Grade and Mrs. Ulrichsen, Warren School
Warren, CT

Separating organic materials at schools or cafeterias for composting or animal feed and successfully implementing an innovative and unique pollution prevention program that generates an environmental benefit.

The fifth graders at Warren school have organized and volunteered their time to be in charge of assisting other students during lunch waves with their school wide composting. They are responsible for teacher younger students what can and cannot be composted and they are in charge of depositing the waste at the end of each lunch period into the compost bin. This class has also made a conscious effort to reduce their carbon imprint by leaving their classroom lights off completely each day. They only use the lights when it is a dark, dreary day. More than 80% of the time you will find their classroom using no lights at all. This practice has encouraged students to continue the trend at home as well to teach their families to be more energy conscious.
Their final contribution to the environment has been their creative use of donated fabric (from a local interior designer) in several educational projects. One project brought the 2nd and 5th graders together to create 4 large wall coverings of a tree through the four seasons. The children's latest creation was a fabric mural depicting ways in which they personally can help their environment each day. Small squares of fabric that would have otherwise ended up in the landfill became a beautiful teaching tool and piece of art.

4th & 6th Grade, 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 fourth and sixth grade students worked together on exploring the Dorothy Maier Land Trust Trail located on Sackett Hill Road in Warren, CT. Together they took weekly walks on the trail making observations, recording seasonal changes, and compiling a photographic documentary. Students researched their findings on the Internet and made consultations with Mr. Jeffrey Greenwood at the White Memorial Conservation Center, when needed. Students used the knowledge they gained to make a display of the trail's Spring awakening for parents and other students at Warren School.

Kathy Newton
2nd Grade, Warren School

Warren, CT

Adopting a vacant lot, park, community garden, stretch of highway or beach for a year, promoting conservation and preservation of critical plant or animal habitats.

This year, second grade began by studying trees on the school property. Throughout the year, they observed the leaves, the bark, any bird/wildlife signs. They measured circumference and recorded what they saw. In conjunction with this, they talked habitats and the relationship of one species to another. To that end, they collected monarch caterpillar from milkweed right outside their door, that they have finally been successful in growing. They counted many caterpillars this year, and ultimately brought in only two. They observed the process of metamorphosis, and released both butterflies in the fall. They attempted to count and record each monarch that they saw. They also researched butterfly habitats, and the types of plants that attract butterflies, and honeybees. They had lots of discussions regarding bees (Ms. Newton is a second year beekeeper at home), and the role they play in our environment. They also were responsible for certain parts of their Harvest of Dreams school garden. Next year, Ms. Newton is thinking of adding vermicomposting into the mix.

Heather Nypert
3rd Grade, Warren School

Warren, CT

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

Students in the third grade at Warren School studied how different plants and animals adapt to obtain air, water, food and protection in specific land and water habitats. They also learned how earth materials provide resources for all living things. In addition, students learned that these resources are limited and should be conserved. In the classroom students are conserving materials such as paper and plastic bottles by reducing, reusing, and recycling rather than discarding them. Lastly, students took part in a school ground clean-up.

Joanne Woodington
4th Grade, Warren School

Warren, CT

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

The fourth grade students at Warren School were involved in Project Feeder Watch, which is an internet-based project that works with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, one of the largest research teams in North America, to help tally and track populations of birds in their area. A bird feeder was purchased and set up outside their classroom window. From November 2008 - April 2009 students observed and recorded the number and species of birds that visited their feeder. These results were then e-mailed to Cornell for tracking purposes. FeederWatch Count Summaries were collected and placed in each student's bird journal along with descriptions, interesting facts and pictures of each species. Students also learned how to identify birds using the Peterson Bird ID Guide. This year, L.L. Bean Collectible Decoy Artist, Richard A. Morgan, shared his knowledge of birds and gave each student a carved bird to paint.
The fourth grade students at Warren School are responsible each year for maintaining their school's 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, Warren School

Warren, CT

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

This proved to be extremely beneficial. One suggestion that was offered is to have an orientation prior to maintaining the garden in order to become familiar with the routines and expectations. Ms. Alisa Wright foresees this addition as being a wonderful way to communicate these objectives. It is due to this cooperative effort that their outreach garden is successful. The Warren School community is very proud of this initiative and the positive impact it has on those in need.
Since 2002, The Harvest of Dreams garden has provided an authentic, hands-on-way to learn about the environment, community outreach, cooperation, conservation and many curriculum objectives. Sixth 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 sixth grade students present garden lessons to each class adorned with construction paper vegetable costumes and hosting a Harvest Luncheon each fall. This year's small class of 10 hosted their Harvest Luncheon that was second to none! 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. It had been a wonderful way to model to their students about reaching out and helping other less fortunate.

Kathi Brown
Librarian, Warren School
Warren, CT

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

The year of 2009 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.

Zoe Greenwood
Paraprofessional, Warren School

Warren, CT

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

The compost project that was begun last year continues to flourish at Warren School. The compost is used to enrich the vegetable and gardens at the school. Fifth grade students collect and dump the compost into the prepared bins placed near the vegetable gardens. Working in teams of two, students collect and dump garbage after each lunch period. These students give up some of their recess to collect the garbage that is to be composted.

Peter Montgomery
Warren School
Warren, CT

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

The sixth grade class would like to recognize Mr. Peter Montgomery, a resident of Warren, for seeking them out and volunteering to help them with their garden this year. They have enjoyed getting to know Mr. Montgomery through his letters and by having the opportunity to work with him. He set up an organic way to control pests by providing students with all the materials and information to use coffee cans as a bug barrier.
He then worked with them in early spring to transplant into the garden the broccoli, Chinese cabbage and swiss chard that were sowed in those cans. Students associated with The Harvest of Dreams garden feel very fortunate to have a friend like Mr. Montgomery.

Wolcott Elementary School
West Hartford, CT

Implementing habitat enhancements for fish or wildlife on public or private property and donating significant time or resources to assist with environmental projects.

Wolcott Elementary School adopted its adjacent "urban" forest several years ago and renamed it the Wolcott Children’s Forest. Up until then, the Forest was a source of concern for the West Hartford Police Department on occasion due to its location next to Wolcott Park, near the West Farms mall in an urban setting. Many substantial improvements have occurred in recent years since the Children of Wolcott Elementary School adopted the Forest: 350 students each released a fish into the pond, many students planted a perennial bulb near the forest, a classroom size observatory pier was installed over the pond, landscaping plans were created, plants planted, a trail system created, invasive species removed, memorial gardens dedicated, plus an all-natural outdoor "amphitheatre" was built where teachers routinely teach and inspire students outdoors about the wonders of the outdoors. Students, parents and teachers have all worked cooperatively, and directly in a hands-on-approach, through the Wolcott Children’s Forest Committee to make their forest dreams come true while teaching environmental stewardship to young minds.
The subject of the current activity is the successful realization of the planning, grant securing and implementation of a new windmill at Wolcott Pond in the children's forest. The pond had poor water quality and even after dredging , needed additional restoration. The Committee discussed the problem, investigated approaches including a windmill-aeration approach, secured grants from Aetna, Pratt, the PTO and a few private donors. The engineers of the Children's Forest committee designed the windmill. Volunteers dug the trenches, borrowed heavy equipment, laid the pipe, and built the windmill. The windmill is expected to aerate and improve water quality and oxygen levels. This will improve pond habitat and the capability of aquatic organisms, fisheries and flora to thrive there.
Other projects that have occurred at the school include: the expansion of trails and addition of bridges at Wolcott Children’s Forest to make the property open and accessible to the public; organized neighborhood and school clean-up days; environmental instructional programs -forest events (Bioblitz, Earth Day, Community Composting, Valentine's for the Birds) and the Scientist in Residence program; activities with Boy and Girl Scouts and neighborhood church groups through community service activities.

 
 

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Content Last Updated on December 17, 2009