On Wednesday, October 2, 2013, teachers, students and environmental organizations from across Alameda County met at Berkeley High School to kick off the 2013-2014 Service-Learning Waste Reduction Project. The meeting featured a conversation about the challenges of maintaining and relaunching waste reduction efforts at the start of each new school year.
Berkeley Unified School District & the Green Schools Initiative
Deborah Moore, founder and executive director of the Berkeley-based non-profit Green Schools Initiative provided an overview of the history of waste reduction in Berkeley Unified School District and current efforts to re-launch the program.
Recently, the Green Schools Initiative won an Altamont Education Advisory Board grant to support district-wide systems as well as site-specific efforts. The Green Schools Initiative and StopWaste.Org worked with the Berkeley Unified School District Board to develop and adopt waste reduction goals including source separation of recyclable and organic materials aiming for 90% diversion by 2020.
Berkeley High Science Teacher and SLWRP team coordinator Kate Trimlett provided an overview of the school's efforts to maintain and improve waste reduction and environmental efforts. She was joined by students Michael Grey and Sarah Mosley who described the results of waste audits which motivated them to establish an outdoor waste reduction and recycling program. "Many students buy food from stores in the neighborhood, then eat in the courtyard, so we have a lot of food scraps and food packaging outside," they noted. Working with Deborah Moore and the Green Schools Initiative, the student leaders have piloted waste stations in the courtyard and are working on an instructional video for their peers.
Garden Coordinator Adam Edell provided a campus tour and described a vision for an edible urban forest throughout the campus's paved courtyards and walkways. Over the past three years, substantial progress toward this vision has already sprouted near the school's science buildings. Using repurposed shipping crates, students working with Edell have created planter boxes to grow a range of edible crops from strawberries to corn. Edell has also installed a small greenhouse for seed starts, compost piles to return plant trimmings to the soil, and an outdoor kitchen with cob oven where students can learn to cook the food they grow.
After the tour, Kate Trimlett shared a variety of resources and introduced community partners that have supported environmental strands in her teaching.
Teacher at Sea. This past summer Trimlett had the opportunity to participate in NOAA's Teacher at Sea program aboard the research vessel Fulmar to study local marine sanctuaries. Read about Trimlett's experiences and stay tuned for application details for next summer's program. http://teacheratsea.wordpress.com/category/kate-trimlett/
Green 360. To help students learn about green career options, Trimlett works with Bay Area based Green360. Joann Martens, co-founder of Green360 provided an overview of the extensive free resources available to help students explore and understand green career pathways. http://green360careers.net/
Bay Area Green Tours. To bring classroom learning about environmental topics to life, Trimlett has used grant funds to work with Bay Area Green Tours to custom design green-themed field trips exploring different sectors of the green economy. Bay Area Green Tours founder Marissa LaMagna provided an overview of the organizations services. http://www.bayareagreentours.org/
Waste Reduction Goal Setting and Networking
Each SLWRP coordinator was asked to identify three successes and three challenges from the prior year. Successes, framed by the sentence starter, "I can share..." provided an initial networking opportunity for participants to learn more about the expertise among their peers. Challenges, framed by the sentence starter, "I need..." or "I want to create..."provided an opportunity for participants to create working groups to tackle challenges together this year.
SLWRP Program Resources
Transfer Station Field Trips. Schools in the SLWRP program are eligible to participate in StopWaste's free field trip program to a local transfer station to learn how waste is processed. StopWaste's Roberta Miller provided an overview of the tours, which feature free bus transportation, and start in November.
EarthTeam Resources. SLWRP schools are eligible to receive a range of services from EarthTeam. With a grant from StopWaste.Org, these services are provided for free to SLWRP member schools. Raeann Johnson and Doug Streblow provided an overview of the Waste Action Project and Transportation Action Project which sends EarthTeam educators into your classroom to help support an environmental inquiry and service-learning action project
EarthTeam's Leadership and Environmental Action Forum (LEAF) is an opportunity for students emerging as environmental leaders to participate in a youth-designed conference each spring. SLWRP schools are able to send teams of 6 students to the free overnight conference to learn leadership skills, learn from innovative environmental organizations, and teach each other about emerging best practices at their own schools. LEAF is designed and organized by EarthTeam's Youth Advisory Board featuring student representatives from seven SLWRP schools. Stay tuned for details about LEAF 2014 scheduled for the end of May.
SLWRP Program Announcements:
November SLWRP Meeting
Agenda: At the November SLWRP meeting, we will explore how Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards intersect with high quality, action oriented environmental education. Together, we will begin the work of developing an "Environmental Action Reader" with suggested materials compiled by SLWRP schools.
Please bring an environmentally-themed, information and idea rich "text" that you might share with students this year. Your "text" might include news or magazine articles, blog posts, excerpts from books, short videos, "how-to" guides, or other sources of information that environmentally literate people should explore. Consider finding materials that explore environmental science, justice, philosophy, history, policy, or economics.
Coordinators should also bring completed SLWRP stipend agreements for each school's team. Stipend forms and SLWRP team formation information available here.
The Story of Stuff needs your help!
Since launching The Story of Stuff film in 2007, and the book in 2010, Annie Leonard has received thousands of requests from educators for material for a younger audience.
Annie did collaborate with Facing the Future on a high school curriculum covering the issues in The Story of Stuff which you may download for free here. She is now starting work on a non-fiction book on these issues for a young adult audience (grades 3 - 8).
Annie invites educators experienced with that age group to provide input so the book will meet their needs and those of their educators. She will be grateful if you might contribute 10 minutes of your time to complete this survey about the book. It includes a sign up to be kept informed on this project as it develops.
This November, join students from around the San Francisco Bay Area to discuss transportation issues in your communities. Share stories from events you've hosted at your school. Discuss what changes have to be made to encourage transportation alternatives at your school. Learn how to fix a flat tire on your bicycle.
Whether you come to learn about innovative projects school groups have worked on, advocate your elected officials to promote sustainable modes of transportation, or to win raffle prizes; join us! Register for FREE
Date: Saturday, November 2nd, 2013
The Project Create Awareness Activities are designed to heighten students' knowledge and understanding of the environmental impact of garbage, and to help them develop healthy attitudes and practices that result in waste reduction.
All the activities involve students directly in learning. Activities are designed to enhance creative and critical thinking skills, to be fun, and educational, and use inexpensive, easy-to-obtain materials to model creative reuse.
Although the Project Create activities have been developed for use in class, they can also be used by parents, community and scout leaders, camp and recreation program leaders.
Garbage Dump - Students explore how much we throw away and what kinds of items make up our trash. They sort clean trash into the 4R categories: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot. Students become familiar with the concept of "materials reuse" by working together to come up with several ways a specific discarded item can be reused.
Register or login to download this free lesson.
Cover the Earth With Garbage - To increase their awareness of the need to reduce waste, students calculate the amount of garbage the class accumulates in one month. ·They construct a model representing this amount using large paper grocery bags, and discover how they might shrink this garbage heap by reducing, reusing, recycling and composting. Students analyze the impact our current diversion practices are having on the amount of garbage going into the landfill. Is it enough? If not, what can each of us do to increase waste diversion?
Register or login to download this free lesson.