Wood Acres Earns 2014 Maryland Green School Certification!
The PTA Green Team was formed during 2012 to provide environmental leadership for the Wood Acres Elementary School community. The committee hosts three school-wide environmental education events throughout the year, hosts recycling drives to collect items from home, and works with staff and MCPS to progress our green initiatives.
Walk to School Day – This annual event in early October is celebrated throughout the United States and is a celebratory way to remember that simple actions can make a difference. Forgoing use of an automobile to get to school means the family is walking and exercising together, reducing particulate matter which clouds our air quality, and easing the congestion on our neighborhood streets. And it’s a fun morning. All student participants receive an “I Walked” sticker and the short program on the front lawn before the 8:45 a.m. first bell is part-rally and part-educational. Safety is a concern and this is not an unsupervised school event, so responsible adults must accompany their students.
America Recycles Day – This annual event in mid-November is also recognized from coast to coast as a day to focus on reducing, reusing, and recycling. Students participate by crafting works of art from their home recycling bins or reusing materials in a different way.
Earth Day – This annual event in April is a worldwide celebration to be kind to the earth. Environmental education related activities for the students, parents, and community are organized so everyone can participate and incorporate actions that help keep our planet clean and healthy.
The Captain Planet Foundation – Captain Planet was impressed with the design and implementation of our Front Hall Recycling Center, hand crafted by parent Patrick Kelly, and funded the raw materials in 2012. This recycling center is a model for other schools. Parents can bring in tape, glue (Elmers’ brand only), writing utensils, ink/toner, and many electronic devices such as cell phones, graphing calculators, and digital cameras. These materials are sent into Terracycle, a third party vendor who scraps the material and reuses it to make new retail items such as park benches and messenger bags. Proceeds from Terracycle help fund the PTA Green Team initiatives.
Audubon Naturalist Society’s GreenKids – GreenKids awarded Wood Acres in 2013 a one-year grant of $1500 in materials and field trip subsidies, which includes environmental education training for every teacher and staff member, a hands-on project for each grade level, and guidance in applying for the Maryland Green School certificate. Typically a two-year grant cycle, GreenKids were impressed by our accomplishments in 2012 and believe they can achieve the same results in a single year at Wood Acres. Principal Sherburne will help administer the grant and teachers (Allison Pecoraro – K, Emily Anderson – 1st, Rachael Gedling – 2nd, Cathy Kashatus – 3rd, Paddy Muench – 4th, and Kristen Crabree – 5th) will work as our green leads in the grades.
Every Tuesday the students are encouraged to bring in reusable containers and reduce the trash output at lunchtime. Those who bring in their lunch from home should generate no trash.
>This means that drinks and food should be brought in reusable containers, and cloth napkins and silverware should round out their lunchbox. Plastic Ziploc bags, single-use wrapping, paper napkins or other common disposable items are trash.
Items that can be recycled do not count as trash. And recycled products (fruit squeezes, drink pouches, and energy bar wrappers) do produce a small amount of money for the school, but the gold standard is to bring a lunch that does not include trash.
The amount of trash each grade generates will be measured and put up on a white board. On the first Tuesday of the month, the grade, which has put the least amount of trash into the bin, will be awarded a new designation -- the "Most UnTrashy Grade" of the month. Their picture will go up on the wall in the cafeteria for the month and we will announce it publicly. Also we will be choosing 30 names at random from that grade and giving them a prize. We wish we could recognize everyone but have enough only for 30 each month. There is no limit to how many months a class wins but no individual can win a second time until everyone has received a prize. A percentage of trash/student will be calculated so the grades with the largest class size are not unduly penalized.
Recycling and Reduction of Energy Usage
The PTA Green Team works throughout the year to collect recycling material in the Front Hall Recycling Center and during lunchtime (collection of foil-lined drink pouches, foil-lined squeeze pouches, and energy bar wrappers). These materials are sent to Terracycle when the optimum weight has been reached, and the proceeds help fund PTA Green Team programs, including prizes for Trashless Tuesday. Montgomery County recycles paper, plastic and cans. You will notice these bins distributed throughout the school and in every classroom. The facilities staff at Wood Acres recycles these materials.
All students at lunch are encouraged to tap out solid food waste or squeeze out liquids before recycling their trays, plastics and cardboard containers.
Wood Acres staff and students are energy conscious and power down their computers when they leave for the day, reducing the usage of the overhead lighting when feasible and turning off any electronic device when leaving the classroom.
The PTA Green Team has partnered with local organizations to help spread our educational messages.
Little Falls Watershed Alliance -- Wood Acres students and their families have participated in cleanups of Little Falls Creek, our local tributary, which feeds the Chesapeake Bay.
Clean Air Partners -- Wood Acres students and staff all received educational materials about air quality from our local group, which provides air quality index forecasting for our metropolitan area.
National Audubon Society -- Wood Acres students and staff are receiving environmental training and projects as part of NAS's GreenKids grant project.