DEEP: 2013 School GreenCircle Award Recipients

GreenCircle Award Recipients
2013 School Related

Name of School Facility

Category/Activity

Description of Activity

Oak Grove Montessori School
Mansfield Center, CT

Voluntarily contribute significant time or resources to environmental instructional programs; adopt a vacant lot, park, community garden, stretch of highway, or beach for a year; promote conservation and preservation of critical plant or animal habitats; and donate significant time or resources to assist with environmental projects.

The teachers at Oak Grove Montessori School strive to make their classrooms environmentally friendly. Students are taught how daily activities can have negative impacts on the environment and steps they can take to minimize their impact. Examples of the activities include the assignment of chores that promote the care of the classrooms, such as watering plants, dusting and ensuring that the classroom materials are put in their proper place at the end of the day. Each child has a reusable glass or cup to drink water at the school, cloth napkin and either a placemat or table cloth for meals and reusable forks and spoons. The reusable glasses/cups are kept at the school. Each child is responsible for washing and putting away the glass or cup. The silverware goes back home for washing every day. The school encourages trashless lunches and composting of food scraps. Leading by example and when possible, the teachers encourage the use of cloth instead of paper towels for classroom activities, such as drying spills or cleaning classroom tables, chairs or materials. The laundry is brought home to wash by a parent volunteer or a teacher. And the supplies for the school are brought in bulk and mainly from local stores such as the Willimantic Co-op and local farmers.

Families including alumni get together every year to do a fall and spring cleanup of the school's property. Parent volunteers weed, clean and clear the school property and children are encouraged to help in beautifying and maintaining the school grounds.

With the assistance of parents and teachers, students maintain a vegetable garden at the school. When harvest time comes, the vegetables are used for snacks and shared with their families. Last year the 6-9 classroom had a very prolific garlic season.

In 2007, Joseph Henry, a grandfather of one of the students, and a group of parent volunteers made a nature walk in the back of the school. A walking trail which winds through the wetlands was made for teacher and students to explore and enjoy the natural habitat that surrounds the school. Throughout the school year, the children spend countless hours observing, drawing and writing in their journals the changes in the landscape as the season change. The nature walk offers an invaluable source of inspiration for research projects about plants and animals that can be seen in the school's backyard. This empowers children to explain and share their knowledge of nature with pride and confidence.

The students become key players in making a difference in other people's lives through community activities. The following are examples of the activities: collect food for several food pantries such as the Covenant Soup Kitchen, collect gloves and hats for the Windham area Interfaith Ministry located in Willimantic, participate in the Walk for Warmth in Willimantic, recycle clothing by collecting for the Holy Family Shelter located in Willimantic, every year children sing at the Holiday party at the Mansfield Senior Center, collect used towels, dog and cat food for the Humane Society, serve lunch to the seniors at the Mansfield Senior Center, help with yard work, plantings and clean up at the Mansfield Senior Center, and send money to fundraisers to relief for Haiti and schools in Africa.

The school coordinates the presentation of speakers to expose children to a variety of subjects such as history of folk music. Besides the Parent Association, the school reaches out to families through less formal events. Muffin Mondays is an informal event that allows the exchange of suggestions, concerns on subjects that may generate ideas on topics that will enhance the families' lives.

The teachers organize field trips oriented to complement and enhance the classroom such as visits to the Lutz Museum, Mystic Aquarium, Sturbridge Village, Dinosaur State Park and Hammonasset Park.

Lastly, to enhance the teachers' lessons about countries and cultures, the parents share their cultural background with the students. Typical foods, clothes, dances, stories, and traditions immerse the children in a different culture and encourage acceptance and tolerance of other's people's traditions.

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

Donate significant time or resources to assist with environmental projects.

All of the 4th Grade science classes have spent over a month working on environmental projects to teach the school community and parents about renewable and non-renewable energy, composting, reducing, reusing and recycling waste and conserving our natural resources. The pupils presented their projects on May 2nd at the Earth Day Energy Expo.

Warren School,
2nd Grade
Warren, CT

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

This year at Warren School, the second grade class has continued to help maintain the Community Garden. They have picked vegetables for the Bethlehem Fair, cooked vegetables for the Harvest Luncheon, and helped to put the garden to bed. The class also continued to maintain the bird habitat and the flower garden outside their classroom window. In addition, they continued to feed the butterflies, birds, and hummingbirds. They have also helped the first graders weed, mulch, and maintain the butterfly garden outside of the first grade classroom. They have also tried to cut down on paper waste in the classroom by bringing in their own cloth towels from home to use in the classroom.

Warren School,
5th Grade
Warren, CT

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

The fifth grade class has taken on the enhancement and beautification of the front of the school entrance and flag pole area of the school. They weeded, aerated, and created areas for butterflies and bees to gather, as well as beautified the entrance to their school allowing all that enter to know that Warren School is a great place to grow.

In addition, the fifth grade class has taken on the responsibility of helping the entire school compost their waste at the end of lunch each day. The compost that is collected in the composting bin is used each year in the Harvest of Dreams Garden to help the vegetables grow.

Warren School,
6th Grade
Warren, CT

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

The sixth grade students at Warren School assisted with whole school planting. They hosted the Harvest Dreams Luncheon in September where the entire school and community were invited to enjoy recipes that included the vegetables that were grown in the garden. In addition, they prepared some recipes to be served, set-up the gym for the luncheon, and served the community so residents were able to have a sampling of all recipes.

Karen Brady
Warren School, Kindergarten
Warren, CT

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

The Kindergarten Class of Warren School worked to maintain and add to the pollinating garden outside their Kindergarten room. As a class, they studied pollinators such as butterflies, bees, wasps, beetles, bats, flies, moths, and hummingbirds. They learned that 3/4 of their flowering plants as well as food crops depend upon pollinators. They discovered that no pollination means no vegetables in the garden as well. They worked to research the best flowers for their area to place in their garden. They placed a hummingbird feeder in their garden and added flowers that are orange, yellow or red in color that attract hummingbirds. They incorporated the study of the Warren school garden in their project, noting the flowering vegetables and how they need pollinators to produce vegetables.

Kathi Brown &
Alisa Wright
Warren School
Warren, CT

Promote conservation and preservation of critical plant or animal habitats.

The year of 2013 will be a continuation of the refurbishment of the Secret Garden. The Secret Garden continues to offer a creative area to read and teach lessons for all staff and their classes. Students will be given a quick lesson on what constitutes a carbon footprint. Students will calculate their individual carbon footprint and determine ways to make their carbon footprint smaller. This will be followed by a week where the whole school will participate. Meatless Monday, TV turn off Tuesday, Walk on Wednesday, Tech off Thursday and Family Fun Night Friday.

Katlin Butryman
Warren School,
6th Grade
Warren, CT

Successfully implement an innovative and unique pollution prevention plan or recycling program that generates an environmental benefit.

The sixth grade class at Warren School recycles the building's paper every week. The students collect each room's recycle bin and compiles it into a large storage bin. Each week, the storage bin is collected from an outside source. They also educate the younger students about the importance of cutting down on the overuse of paper. They show them how to reuse paper that could be utilized in another manner. Often they create new piles of paper for projects that can be used by the other classroom teachers.

Jeremiah Gabriel-Deveau
Warren School
Warren, CT

Promote conservation and preservation of critical plant or animal.

The Nature Trail Team led by sixth grader, Jeremiah Gabriel-Deveau, took over the maintenance of the school's Nature Trail. The team made repairs to existing signs which house information. They also updated facts which they uncovered through research on seasonal plants.

The team obtained information on these plants through the internet and consultations with Jeffrey Greenwood at the White Memorial Conservation Center. They used the knowledge they gained to conduct tours of the trail for the Warren School community.

Carol Leavitt
Warren School
Warren, CT

Voluntarily contribute significant time or resources to environmental instructional programs.

The Warren School has worked to develop an awareness of the environment for all children. The students recognize litter, and strive to be sure that they do not litter. The Special Education students have worked to maintain a garden, called the Secret Garden at Warren School. They check for litter frequently and pick it up. We need the garden, and rake out leaves. Students learn that they do not damage trees and plants as they play - rather, they work to help them grow. They keep walkways clear of debris.

Heather Mahar
Warren School,
1st Grade
Warren, CT

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

This year at Warren School the first grade class has continued to help maintain the community garden. They have picked vegetables and cooked the vegetables for their luncheon. They also prepared the garden for their Harvest Luncheon. They have also weeded, mulched and maintained the butterfly garden outside of their classroom. They continue to feed the birds from the bird feeder in their garden outside of the first grade classroom.

Kathy Newton
Warren School
Warren, CT

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

The Warren School currently has an unused playground right outside Ms. Newton's classroom. It has a cracked asphalt base, with weeds growing through. It has undergrowth with vines and sumac growing wild. The playground has many large old plastic toys left behind. Students are involved in an ongoing project to find solutions to this. They have observed what is out there and what is not (birds, bees, butterflies). The children are asked to take steps and brainstorm the biggest problems and possible solutions. To accomplish this, the students are asked to think outside the box. The school invites speakers (head of building maintenance, first selectman, to discuss recycling and local naturalist to enlist ideas. Ultimately, the goal is to find workable solutions to "reclaim" this area for local wildlife and for student enjoyment (bird watching, butterfly counting, etc.) Students initiated the project this year and it is anticipated that they will continue working with local experts for the next year as well.

Joanne Woodington
Warren School Student Council
Warren, CT

Sponsor a river, beach, or neighborhood clean-up day.

The Student Council of Warren School, in coordination with Arbor Day, organized a schoolwide Earth Day clean-up project. Student Council members assessed the 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 and Arbor Day to their assigned groups.

Families of Warren School
Warren School
Warren, CT

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

The Families of Warren School continue to provide a major support system that aids to the sustainability of the school garden, Harvest of Dreams. Since the onset of the garden in 2002, they have taken on the responsibility of maintaining the garden throughout the summer and transporting the harvested vegetables to area soup kitchen and food banks. It is due to this cooperative effort that the outreach garden is successful and is able to celebrate its 12th growing season. This year, The Daisies of Warren took it upon themselves bottles and cans to raise money to help purchase items needed for the garden such as fertilizer and seeds.

The Warren School community is very proud of this initiative and the positive impact it has on those in need. They really do live by Margaret Mead's statement: "Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has."

Harvest of Dreams Garden
Warren School,
6th Grade
Warren, CT

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

Warren School, for twelve years, has sustained a very successful schoolwide, outreach garden, Harvest of Dreams. It has been an integral part of the school community since 2002. The garden's success stems from a collaborative effort. Every student and staff member share the responsibilities of sowing, nurturing, transplanting, preparing beds and preparing veggies for their annual harvest luncheon. The sixth grade continues to host the luncheon, the whole school planting and garden tours to anyone interested in learning about the garden. Harvest of Dreams has become a model for other schools seeking to create a school garden. Families of Warren School maintain the garden throughout the summer and transport the harvested vegetables to area soup kitchen/food banks. Through the commitment of many hands throughout the community, the garden grows stronger each year.

 

GreenCircle Award Recipients | GreenCircle Award Program

Content Last Updated on June 24, 2013