DEEP: 2015 School GreenCircle Award Recipients

GreenCircle Award Recipient
2015 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, DEEP fish and wildlife projects, water quality monitoring programs, or lake, river or watershed associations.

The Oak Grove Montessori School undertook several activities in the school year 2014-2015 to encourage children to protect the environment. Examples of the activities include: 1) chores that promote care of the classrooms; 2) use of trash-less lunches, reusable utensils and other items to minimize the generation of garbage; 3) students follow a schedule for feeding of classroom pets and watering of plants to explore the responsibilities and joys of pet ownership; 4) fall and spring cleanup by children and volunteers to foster teamwork; 5) continue to maintain the greenhouse with the assistance of Bryan O'Hara, organic farmer, where vegetables are used for snacks, lunches, to share with the community or for sale to support programs at the school; 6) implementation of paperless newsletters and other correspondence to increase recycling and the foster paperless communications.

The school collected used clothes and non-perishable food to donate to shelters and food pantries. Other community activities were incorporated such as the "Plunger for Hunger" where families plunged into cold waters to raise money for the soup kitchen in Willimantic; the "Walk for Warmth" was held in November. At this event, families raised money for local families in need of assistance to pay for their winter heating bills. In addition, the school held a fundraising for the victims of the Nepal earthquake.

At the hibernation festival families and the community shared homemade foods. It was also an opportunity for the school to do fundraising by selling products made from recycling old materials such as: disposable helium tanks turned into outside lanterns, string and cinnamon stick pumpkins, old bottles painted and made into beautiful flower vases, colorful wreaths made from reused and found materials, and mason jars turned into lamps.

Other events organized by the school: a) during the winter, the greenhouse got dressed to provide shelter for warm homemade food; b) at the Bird Night event children in the lower elementary class (6-9 years old) chose a bird to research and created a display to convey their new acquired knowledge; c) children continue to work with Chase, the therapy dog, to learn and appreciate animals who offer relief, companionship, independence and nurturing to people; d) children worked with a specialist and learned to build and play a Dulcimer. A Dulcimer, with its origins in the Appalachian regions of the US, is a fretted string instrument of the zither family with three or four strings; e) For Earth Day, a group of students attended the Earth Day celebration at the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection and listened to a lecture on Biodiversity by Mr. Joseph Simcox "The Botanical Explorer". To celebrate Earth Day at the school, everyone made clothing out of recycled materials. Students had a parade around the school showcasing their creations. The parade was followed by a scavenger hunt and a cleanup of the wooded areas that surround the school; f) In the fall, the upper elementary class (9-12 years old) spent the day in an outside classroom that teachers created along the Willimantic River. Besides the daily lessons, the children had lessons about the river and the changing environment of the season. The day was highlighted by Johnnie Walker who toured them on the river in his homemade traditional river boat; g) To teach the Early Colonial America, a field trip to the Plimoth Plantation was scheduled. Many different settings were created outdoors to further understand cooking and everyday living in colonial times. Each child was assigned a role such as getting water, looking for food, helping make food, etc. The children made soup for their classmates and teachers. While at the Plimoth Plantation, the children saw a traditional dugout canoe. The children were very interested in how it was made. Out of the children's curiosity, the Dugout Canoe Project was born. Teachers and students have worked together throughout the winter to make Oak Grove's first dugout canoe.

Lastly, through the annual auction and gala, the school raised $4,000 to start construction on the new chicken coop. The new coop was named "Yolk Grove". The new chicken coop will be incorporated into the daily lessons. The children will share the responsibility to care for the chickens. The eggs will be used for cooking classes.

Mary-Ellen Birdsall
Warren School, 2nd and 3rd Grade
Warren, CT

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

Students in the 2nd and 3rd grade participated in a gardening project which began with planting seeds, then transplanting seedlings, as well as cultivating a spring and summer vegetable garden. They will then participate in a school-wide fall harvest and fall harvest luncheon. Foods will be prepared using garden vegetables to create healthy recipes. Community members will be invited to the Harvest luncheon and students will participate in science lessons related to healthy food preparation.

Karen Brady
Warren School, Kindergarten
Warren, CT

Promote conservation and preservation of critical plant or animal habitats; implement habitat enhancements for fish or wildlife on public or private property; and donate significant time or resources to assist with environmental projects (e.g., projects or programs promoted by youth groups, community based organizations, businesses, or governmental entities).

The Kindergarten class of Warren School worked to maintain and add to the pollinating garden outside their kindergarten room. As a class, they spent many hours weeding, replanting, and maintaining the special garden space. They discovered that no pollination would mean no vegetables in the Harvest of Dreams Garden. 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 vegetable crops depend upon pollinators. They placed bird feeders in their garden and added flowers that are orange, yellow or red in color that attract hummingbirds and other pollinators. They incorporated the study of the Warren School garden in their project, noting the flowering vegetables and how they need their little pollination garden to produce vegetables.

Kathi Brown
Warren School, 4th Grade
Warren, CT

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

The 4th Grade class at Warren School worked with Kathi Brown at lunchtime each day to understand the composting process. Each day a few students were chosen to oversee and guide other students in understanding which foods could be composted and which could not from the school's lunch waste. The compost is used each spring to help add nutrients to the Harvest of Dreams Community Garden.

Carol Leavitt
Warren School
Warren, CT

Separate organic materials at schools or cafeterias for composting or animal feed and sponsor a river, beach, or neighborhood clean-up day.

Carol Leavitt has worked with special needs students to empty paper recycling bins from the classrooms. They learned that some children are placing recyclable containers in the paper bins. To address this matter, they have worked to develop a container recycling system for each classroom. The boys will now educate the classes about the three options for refuse, paper recycling, container recycling and garbage. And, they will be responsible for emptying the bins weekly. In addition, the special education students are responsible for cleaning up the Secret Garden after the winter. This includes removal of trash, weeding and raking.

Kathy Newton
Warren School, 4th Grade
Warren, CT

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

Kathy Newton and the 4th grade students are in the middle of the pollinators project. The students have researched pollinators, talked to beekeepers and scheduled a hive observation to learn the healthy environment of honeybees. The class made arrangements to teach the Kindergarten class and community members about the importance of pollinators as well as the plants needed to encourage pollinators. The students are very interested in establishing a hive, tracking the progress over the summer and using honey proceeds to return to pollination plants.

Beth Ulrichsen
Warren School, 1st Grade
Warren, CT

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

The 1st Grade class of Warren School worked to maintain and add to the pollinating garden outside the 1st grade classroom. As a class, they studied pollinators such as butterflies, bees, wasps, moths and hummingbirds. They learned the 3/4 of their flowering plants and that food crops depend upon pollinators. They learned that in order for plants to survive they need to attract the birds, bees, and butterflies to their flowers. They worked to research the best flowers for attracting birds, bees, and butterflies to the garden. They added flowers that are orange, yellow or red in color that attract hummingbirds.

Joanne Woodington
Warren School Student Council
Warren, CT

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

The Student Council of Warren School organized a clean-up for the school's grounds on Earth Day. The council assigned each grade to a specific area to clean. They gathered rakes and trash bags for the day and assisted with the proper disposal of yard trash and recycled materials. The Earth Day event was held in conjunction with Spirit Week at Warren School. To show school spirit, all students were asked to used recycled materials to make a hat, vest or anything to wear on this day.

Joanne Woodington
Warren School, 3rd Grade
Warren, CT

Promote conservation and preservation of critical plant or animal habitats; implement habitat enhancements for fish or wildlife on public or private property; and voluntarily contribute significant time or resources to environmental instructional programs, DEEP fish and wildlife projects, water quality monitoring programs, or lake, river or watershed associations.

The 3rd grade class of Warren School was involved in the Project Feeder Watch. This project 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. Beginning in October, students researched on the Internet the birds most commonly sighted in their region ( northwest Connecticut). From November through March, students observed and recorded the birds that visited the feeder.

Students learned how to identify birds using the Peterson Bird ID guide. Other lessons included bird migration, types of beaks, feeding habits, nesting, etc. Each student kept a journal of the birds observed which included pictures and interesting facts on each specie.

Alisa Wright
Warren School
Warren, CT

Adopt a vacant lot, park, community garden, stretch of highway, or beach for a year and donate significant time or resources to assist with environmental projects.

Students, staff and families of Warren School have demonstrated a commitment and dedication to Harvest of Dreams that enriches the community of Warren for over 13 years. The 5th grade class hosted the annual harvest luncheon for the students, families and community members of Warren. Every student helped harvest, wash, chop and sauté vegetables. Fifth graders will also host the whole school planting in which they teach and help each student transplant and sow seeds in the garden. Families maintain the garden over the summer and transport produce to soup kitchens. Harvest of Dreams is used throughout the year as a springboard for curricular objectives and has been used as a model for the gardens at the other elementary schools of the Regional School District #6.

 

GreenCircle Award Recipients | GreenCircle Award Program

Content Last Updated on June 30, 2015