Six county schools to be recognized for environmental stewardship
More than 280 public, private schools statewide participate in Washington Green Schools
Pete Dubois, Environmental Services
Vancouver, WA – A statewide program that encourages student leadership and promotes environmental stewardship will honor six Clark County schools next week.
Clark County is a founding partner and continuing financial supporter of Washington Green Schools. More than 280 public and private schools statewide participate in the program, including 61 schools in Clark County.
Green Teams in participating schools evaluate the school’s operations and take improvement steps in these areas: energy, healthy school buildings, transportation, waste and recycling, water and school grounds and gardens. Green Teams can continue their work in each of the six areas and achieve higher levels of certification.
“Washington Green Schools provides the structure for students to create more efficient and healthier schools,” said Don Benton, Environmental Services director. “More importantly, it helps schools build the environmental leaders our community will need in the future.”
The six schools will be honored in brief ceremonies at each school. Clark County Environmental Services will participate in each presentation, underscoring the county’s role working with schools and students to hone environmental practices.
The six schools being recognized next week are:
Sacajawea Elementary School: The school was certified at Level 4 in school grounds and at Level 5 in water this year. After learning that the school’s bioswale was barely passing inspection, the Green Team worked with the Vancouver Public Schools’ landscape and maintenance staff to plant native, drought-tolerant vegetation.
Sacajawea’s Green Team spearheaded the removal of nonnative plants from the campus to cut down on watering and emphasized different hand-washing techniques to reduce water use in restrooms. Their efforts cut water use by 2.2 gallons per student per month.
Gaiser Middle School: The school was certified at Level 4 in healthy school buildings. After an audit, the Green Team improved water efficiency and indoor air quality. The students worked with the administration and facilities to fix faucet censors, clean air vents and provide an announcement about integrated pest management.
Grass Valley Elementary School: The school was certified at Level 3 in school grounds. The Green Team worked to breathe new life into neglected areas of the campus and organized weeding parties to help keep areas free of invasive species. It also planned a composting center for leaves, other vegetation and kitchen scraps.
Peter S. Ogden Elementary School: The school was certified at Level 1 in school grounds and Level 2 in waste and recycling. The Green Team designed a native plant garden and used rain barrels to capture precipitation for irrigation. The team also created a summer maintenance schedule to ensure the gardens receive care when school is not in session. Items grown in the garden were used to make salsa and pesto in the school’s cafeteria.
To improve waste disposal and recycling, the school’s Green Team created a paper recycling station, developed a disposal program for batteries, electronics and printer cartridges and created a compost station to turn food waste into nutrient-rich soil. In staff rooms, the team also set up coffee compost bins that diverted more than 25 pounds of used grounds from the waste stream.
Chinook Elementary School: The school was certified at Level 1 in water. After discovering that a grass field was eroding due to runoff, the Green Team implemented a reseeding program to restore the area. The team also produced an educational water conservation video and worked with the school to fix leaky appliances.
Washington State School for the Deaf: The school was certified at Level 1 in waste and recycling. The school’s Green Team analyzed the waste stream in classrooms and residential cottages, and took action to reduce waste. The team also expanded the number of recycling containers on campus and produced three informational videos that included American Sign Language.