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Science and Eco Club installs a Foodshare Table a American

AHS introduces the food share program to FUSD

Guest post by Aleesha Kashif, Staff Writer Eagle Era. Republished from Eagle Era

One in five residents of Alameda County are dependent on the Alameda County Community food bank to fulfill their hunger. Approximately two out of every three of these residents are needy children and seniors. Meanwhile, countless edible food is thrown away everyday by our county’s students.

Recognizing this dilemma, a group of teachers have collaborated with the Science and Eco club to reduce American High’s contribution to this predicament.

Continue reading this article on American High School's student newspaper linked here to learn how they set up their system.

Student volunteer Reha Jandu serves the food share program by directing people to the right bin for the assortment of their leftover food components for nature's benefit.Student volunteer Reha Jandu serves the food share program by directing people to the right bin for the assortment of their leftover food components for nature's benefit.


Harvest Park Students Create Recycling Outreach Video

HPMS Lunch time disposal stationHPMS Lunch time disposal stationLeadership students at Harvest Park Middle School produced a short Public Service Announcement to help educate their peers about the new and improved waste sorting stations at lunch. 

This year, Harvest Park has removed a number of unpaired trash cans from the lunch area and set up 4 disposal stations with recycling, compost, landfill, and liquids buckets. The school has already seen a dramatic improvement in the quality of recycled materials collected and a reduction in the amount of material being sent to the landfill.

The video is being shown every week during the school's video announcements.


Student-Run Recycling Program How-to Guide

American High Students Crush Recyclables at the "Sort Station"American High Students Crush Recyclables at the "Sort Station"

American High School has a program that collects all classrooms’ recycling once a week. Water bottles, glass bottles, #2 plastics, and aluminum cans are separated and cashed in at a recycling center to gain funds for the program. Here's a description of their program written as a replicable "how-to" guide to help other schools set up simial programs. Thanks to Kathryn Tarver, a junior at American, for writing and sharing this resource!

Required and Recommended Supplies:

  • At least 2 types of recycling bins
  • Large plastic bags (ideally clear)
  • Thin plastic gloves
  • Labels for bins
  • Paper for sign-in sheets

How American’s system works:

Before the school year begins, recycling captains ask teachers what type(s) of recycling bins they want for their classrooms. Each bin is labeled by room number and the type of recyclable material it will hold (such as paper or bottles and cans); these bins are delivered to teachers a few days before school starts.

Students interested in recycling submit their names and fourth period teachers’ names to a spreadsheet.

Recycling captains compile a list of these students; the list is sent out to teachers so that teachers know which students to excuse.

Recycling captains select reliable, experienced recyclers (usually other club officers) to be Wing Monitors.

On Thursdays during Read Period, all recyclers meet in a central location. One recycling captain makes announcements while Wing Monitors pick up their assignments from the central table.

An assignment is a sheet of cardstock with an area of the school written on it; clipped to the cardstock is a piece of paper with spaces for the names of the Monitor and recyclers who sign up to help them.

Just before the recyclers meet, an announcement is made over the PA system reminding teachers and staff to set their recycling bins outside their classrooms.

Assembled recyclers are split into the pre-assigned A Team and B Team. One team is sent to Sort, and the other remains to Collect. (AHS has people with first names A-K on A Team, and first names L-Z on B Team. This is the easiest system because the Sort sign-in sheet is organized by first name.)

Physically separate A Team and B Team before announcing which will Collect and which will Sort maximizes the number of people at Sort; otherwise, most people want to Collect and choose to ignore the A/B Team system.

At Collect, 8-10 recyclers sign up with each Wing Monitor and follow that Monitor to their assigned area. The Monitor quietly directs their recyclers in consolidating the contents of the recycling bins and then sends recyclers with full bins to Sort or to the recycling dumpster, with orders to check back in with the Monitor afterward.

The contents of many bins are dumped into a single large bin to minimize the number of trips recyclers have to make to Sort and/or the dumpster.

Having recyclers sign back in with their Monitors minimizes the number of off-task students and bins that aren't returned to their classrooms.

After finishing their Collect assignments, students are told to attend Sort or go back to their classrooms.

Bottles and cans are brought to Sort, while other recyclables (primarily paper) are brought to the recycling dumpster at the back of the school, where one officer records how much recycling goes into the dumpster and pre-assigned Dumpers are in charge of emptying the heavy bins into the tall recycling dumpster.

The data taken by the recording officer demonstrates how much waste the school is diverting; this is useful in grant applications.

The Dumpers have the hardest job and therefore are often given gift cards and other thank-you presents by the recycling captains.

Outside, Sort Team has already set up, having arrived early.

Different colored bins have been set up, each labeled with the material that should be deposited in it.

The most effective setup that AHS has devised is modeled in Figure 1.The most effective setup that AHS has devised is modeled in Figure 1.


These bins are stored in the shed, along with most other recycling materials.

At Sort, recyclers sign in with an officer, take ONE glove from the provided box of gloves, and begin crushing and sorting the bottles and cans that officers are tossing onto the ground from delivered bags of bottles and cans.

A sample sign-in sheet is shown in Figure 2.A sample sign-in sheet is shown in Figure 2.

Each recycler only takes one glove to minimize waste; unscrewing caps is practically the only activity requiring two hands, and a recycler can ask a friend to unscrew the bottle they’re holding.

Rather than dumping bags of collected bottles onto the ground, officers pull only the bottles and cans from the bags. Since there will inevitably be trash in the recycling cans around the school, this system prevents the trash from being emptied onto the ground and blowing away.

Each time a Collect recycler brings a Sort officer a bag of bottles and cans, that Sort officer provides the Collect student with a new bag to place in the bin from which the full bag came.

When only five minutes remain until the end of Read Period, Sort officers order a clean-up. All Sort bins are returned to the shed in which they are housed; bags of sorted bottles and cans are also placed in this shed. Bags of unsorted bottles are placed in the smaller shed. Both sheds are padlocked at the end of Read Period.

All recyclers return to their classrooms.

The Service Accountant inputs all data from Monitors’ assignments and the Sort sign-in sheet into an online spreadsheet so that students may receive service learning hours for their participation in the Recycle program. (The Service Accountant is a club officer in charge of organizing information regarding service hours.)

Additional notes:

Since AHS Recycling has been receiving complaints from teachers about the loudness of Collect recyclers, additional monitors will now be placed in all wings to hush recyclers and take note of any off-task students.

Pre-assigning which recyclers will work with each Wing Monitor may improve the organization of Collect sign-ups.

If a Collect officer is absent, their substitute (a reliable recycler whom they have selected and explained the system to) takes their place.

Recycling captains provide their email address(es) to teachers in order to hear about any problems that teachers are having regarding recycling.

Thanking recyclers for coming at the beginning of every Recycling session is always a good move. :)

For further clarification or if you have any questions, feel free to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

4Rs Outreach: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot

Learner working on the title artwork for the recycling section of the brochure. Learner working on the title artwork for the recycling section of the brochure. At Alameda Community Learning Center, for sale Facilitator Adriana Lombard’s seventh and eighth grade science classes have been working hard to educate the ACLC Community about the 4Rs -Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot.

During a series of four Wednesday classes, students learned how to reduce waste at home and in school, then translated their learning into a brochure to send home to the ACLC Community.

Each class focused on a different ‘R’, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot, by researching online sources, using Stop Waste resources, and creating artwork for each of their sections. While doing research, the students learned how to determine if a website could be used as a legitimate reference to find resources on composting and recycling.

What can you find in each section?

  • Reduce: Ways you can reduce at home and what it means to be Zero Waste.
  • Reuse: Locations in the City of Alameda and Oakland where residents can drop off items to be repurposed.
  • Recycle: Where to bring unwanted household items to be recycled and fun facts.
  • Rot: What goes in the Green Bin at home, and the difference between ‘Home Composting’ and ‘Using the Green Bin at Home.’  

Download a cpoy of the 4Rs brochure here.

Berkeley High Students Help Promote Zero-Waste at Cal

Berkeley High Student VolunteersBerkeley High Student VolunteersOn January 21st, viagra sale 17 enthusiastic and environmentally conscious Berkeley High School students volunteered to help reduce waste and educate the public at the Cal Basketball game versus Arizona State.

The student leaders arrived early to Haas Pavilion in Berkeley to receive outreach training from the UC Berkeley Zero Waste 2020 organization on campus as well as StopWaste, rx the Alameda Waste Management Authority. The Berkeley High School student leaders learned how to engage with excited fans about how to best dispose of their uneaten food and other refuse items in the most environmentally sustainable way.

During the first half of the game, order the Berkeley High School  student leaders stood near the refuse stations that are placed around Haas Pavilion. These stations consist of three bins: Organics, Recycling and Landfill. The goal during this event was to both teach the greater community where to place their refuse items and to allow the students to further develop their environmental leadership and outreach skills.

After a job well done, the Berkeley High School students were able to go up into the stands and enjoy the second half of the 75-70 Cal victory.

The Cal campus currently has a 50% diversion rate and is well on its way to achieving its goal of being a zero waste campus by 2020. Through outreach efforts combining Cal Athletics, StopWaste and engaged student leaders from the local community, the goal is on track to become a reality.  

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Seeing is Believing

Volunteer Bin Monitors at CanyonVolunteer Bin Monitors at CanyonSometimes, mind finding students to bin monitor during lunch time is hard. When you do find willing participants, how do you give them the confidence and sense of authority to tell their fellow peers how to sort properly? At Canyon Middle School in Castro Valley, they discovered a simple solution to the problem; give the bin monitors small, laminated cards explaining what goes where.

The cards at Canyon are given out to the bin monitors before their shift, along with a pin to wear, so fellow students know they are the sorting experts. The card lists every common item in a school’s cafeteria under four different sections; compost, recycling, landfill, and bag-a-bag (Castro Valley has started collecting plastic film separately). Since the implementation of these cards, problems have been alleviated for the bin monitors.

Problem: Cities will change what they recycle and compost, confusing students. This happened at Canyon Middle when Castro Valley started collecting plastic film separately.


Solution: The card can easily be changed to represent what the new rules are in that city.

Problem: English Language Learners have been more susceptible to volunteer as bin monitors. If there is a problem or a student asks a clarifying question, the bin monitor may not understand because of the communication barrier.

Solution: The cards help students explain sorting to their peers when they cannot communicate, which has given them confidence to be authoritative while also practicing their English.

Problem: Students may sort differently at home, then challenge what the monitor is saying during lunch time. This has happened at Canyon, making students weary of wanting to be monitors.

Solution: Once the bin monitors started using these cards, it gave them a sense of authority. They could show the questioning student the card, easily explaining what goes where. Seeing is believing.

This practice started when bin monitors approached Lee Ann Chinn, the Language Arts/English Learner Teacher and campus SWAP Coordinator, explaining that they sometimes get confused while they are monitoring. The cards were then implemented last year, and the school has seen better sorting practices on campus. Every material found is shown on the card or the sign on the bin. Cards like these are also used when eighth graders from leadership collect recycling from classrooms twice a week. Their cards explain the hallway and classrooms assigned to them for that day. These cards have helped students sort more efficiently on campus, give assurance to the volunteers on current practices, and allows for any student to become a bin monitor. 

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Recycling at Centerville Jr. High

Students Lead Recycling and Composting Tasks on CampusStudents Lead Recycling and Composting Tasks on CampusThere is something amazing happening at Centerville Jr. High during Mr. Vilkins Leadership class, ailment and most of the students on campus don’t even know. Every Friday during fifth period, find the twenty five students in Leadership class collect 22 recycling bins and 18 compost bins from all around campus to sort, advice empty and clean all within an hour class period.

Tasks are split into compost, recycling, and bin washer groups that students rotate through every week. They start by collecting the recycle and compost bins around the hallways, courtyard, and cafeteria and carry them to the dumpsters.  Using trash pickers, students go through each bin and pick out materials that do not belong, like a plastic bottle in the compost bin.  When the bin looks about 90% filled of the proper material, whether its recyclables or compost, they empty the bins in the dumpsters and wheel them to the next station. There is some fun nagging; students joke about not wearing nice clothes on Fridays. But overall they happily do their assigned jobs.

From here the bins get transported to the wash station, near a tree to help reuse water, and placed in a semi-circle. The designated washer turns the hose onto jet stream and cleans the inside of the bins far enough away that large materials stay on the ground to rake up after.

Bin Washing StationBin Washing Station

During this time, the other students are retrieving recycling from the classrooms and emptying them in the dumpsters. With all of this on their plate, they still finish with time to spare in the classroom. It is a unique set-up that students are responsible for recycling and composting, and an inspiration for other schools to do the same. With students taking the time to pick through the bins before emptying into the dumpsters, the percentage of correct materials going into the dumpsters is very high. Custodians also participate by using pickers to remove materials out of landfill bins for recycling or composting. It is a smooth process, students are enthusiastic, and the quality of sorting is something every school should be striving for.

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Cooking with Rescued Food

Ms. McDowell teaches students to cook with rescued foodMs. McDowell teaches students to cook with rescued foodOn November 5th students at Walters Junior High were probably asking, ‘What is on the menu for Ms. McDowell’s Foods Class’? The answer was some delicious Apple and Carrot Cake, but the ingredients were different than usual. To make these desserts, they used snacks left on the Food Share table during lunchtime.

McDowell's class was commissioned to prepare dessert for the StopWaste Ambassador Program's Food Waste Forum so students in Ms. McDowell’s first and third periods were cooking up a storm. You could find them whipping up frosting, shredding carrots in a food processor, and putting their concoctions into the pre-heated oven. The best part, of course, is getting to enjoy their final product too; but not all eight cakes made were for them to consume. The rest of the baked goods were being wrapped up and brought to Stop Waste in Oakland to be enjoyed at the monthly SWAP Teacher’s Meeting that evening.

Forty small bags of baby carrots and thirty five red delicious apples leftover from lunch were used to make the cakes. This practice was a great example for the SWAP meeting that was focused on Food Waste Reduction. Judi McDowell works hard to save the food left on the Food Share table by storing it in her Foods Class fridge for students or teachers who want it later. This time though, there was a new idea for the leftover snacks. 

Students in her class were learning to beat, cook, and shred just as the usual curriculum does, but they also had the opportunity to learn about food waste and take action to reuse unwanted food.


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Custodians are Key to a Sustainable School Campus

Liz North, <a href=Liz North, malady Horner Jr. High custodian" width="300" height="225" />After only a year at Horner Jr. High in Fremont, shop custodian Liz North has made herself a part of the community by working to keep the school green and doing it with pride.

Liz was originally placed at Kennedy High School, hospital and this is where her sorting education started. She was never a recycler until she learned about the practices happening at the school. From there, the movement pulled her in and she carried it on throughout her time at Kennedy, and now at Horner.

Liz partnered up with Neha Ojeda, a teacher at Horner, to start implementing better sorting practices at school. Horner has a 3 bin system including recycling, compost and landfill during lunch time, and students comply with it very well. Students from the special day class take out the compost while leadership students monitor the bins and take the bags to the recycling dumpster. Through partnerships, students and teachers  can easily get involved, helping to take some of the burden off of the custodial staff.

Sorting was a practice Liz picked up and quickly became passionate about, and she believes in relaying that passion to the students. Her advice to other custodians is to get involved in the school, and get students involved. Emphasizing that it is good for the environment will inspire the kids, and make them feel that what they are doing is necessary to helping the planet. A sustainable campus stems from students and staff working together to accomplish this goal. It’s a chain reaction, Liz believes, and the passion will develop over time.

It takes community involvement and appreciation of each other. Liz has received overwhelming gratitude, with students saying that they like to see Ms. North around their campus cleaning up. When walking around the campus with her, students are always greeting her and chatting, and she has made herself a part of this school’s community in her short time here at Horner. 

Bancroft Middle School Helps UC Berkeley Recycle

Coach Reggie and his Bancroft BroncosCoach Reggie and his Bancroft BroncosAfter going 14-0 and winning their league's flag football championship, Bancroft Middle School was invited to help Cal Athletics compete in the Gameday Recycling Challenge, a national competition to reduce waste at major college sporting events.

30 students, parents and coaches from Bancroft traveled to UC Berkeley to volunteer at waste stations throughout Memorial Stadium.  

After a quick orientation from Cal's recycling coordinator, Bancroft's team helped fans correctly sort recyclables, food scraps, and landfill items before the game and at half time.

In addition to engaging the public, Bancroft students made many improvements to the disposal stations. They discovered ways to make signs more visible by creating "sign tents" on top of the stations and how to increase access to recycling and compost bins while making people think twice before throwing something in the landfill.

Cal students shared stories of campus life with BancroftCal students shared stories of campus life with BancroftBancroft students were paired with an undergrad from Cal at each station.

Over the course of the evening, Bancroft students learned about campus life at Cal and heard from students majoring in Physics, Mechanical Engineering, Chemistry, Computer Science and other majors. 

By the end of the night, Cal beat Oregon State on the football field while Bancroft demonstrated their leadership off the field.

Results from the national Gameday Recycling Challenge will be posted later this winter.


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Classroom Recycling at Walters Jr. High

Students collect recycling bins from classroomsStudents collect recycling bins from classroomsEvery Tuesday and Thursday morning, cost you can find Lisa Alves’ Leadership class roaming the halls before the bell at Walters Jr. High in Fremont. It’s only the third week of school, sales and already they are in the groove of visiting assigned classrooms to empty their recycling bins. They are so on top of their game that as the first bell rang, most students have already finished the job! The last pair of students, President and Vice President of the eighth grade class, visit two classrooms to retrieve their blue bins. It’s second nature to the pair as they empty the recyclables in the dumpster and return it to the classroom.

Students enter the room quietly and retrieve the bin that is typically close to the door, barely disturbing the class in session. Students are happy to do this service, and it makes a difference that the leaders on campus are partaking in this process and being role models for their fellow peers. Students in Leadership class say that recycling happens in most of the classrooms, and it is creating a sense of responsibility throughout the school. The campus itself is very clean, and Walters recycling practices have created a more sustainable school community.

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Best Practices in Lunch Time Waste Reduction at Walters Jr. High

Food Share Cart at WaltersFood Share Cart at WaltersThe 7th an 8th grade students at Walters Junior High School in Fremont are recycling and composting Super Stars. This is clear when visiting the outdoor lunch area during the noon hour. They are well versed in knowing the correct bin in which to put their milk cartons, pizza boxes and aluminums cans. Before dropping a container into the right bin, they even pour out any remaining liquid. This not only helps limit the amount of liquid that gets trapped in a bin and contaminates recyclable materials, but is also keeping a nearby tree very healthy.

Key features of Walters Jr High's lunch time waste reduction efforts:

  • Food share cart allows students to divert un-opened, un-eaten food to other students
  • Monitored disposal station keeps recyclables, compost and landfill bins free from contamination
  • Tray stacking helps to reduce the volume of recyclable/compostable food trays and pizza boxes
  • Diversion of hard-to-recycle items like mylar chip bags, which are collected for terracycle
  • Collection of reusable items like bottle caps which are used in art projects on campus

The Walters Junior High School students are fortunate to have a wonderful Foods class teacher that is also very engaged with recycling and composting on campus. Everyone at school knows Ms. McDowell for not only her awesome class, but also her passion for recycling and waste reduction. She provides the students with a special cart that she created to help students separate items that would otherwise go into the landfill. Empty chip bags are set aside for special recycling and uneaten food items are spared from going to waste. Students who help out with the cart during lunchtime get first choice of any tasty drinks or sandwiches that are left on the cart.

Walters Junior High school has one of the cleanest outdoor lunch areas in Alameda County. The custodial staff is amazed with the amount of recycling and composting that is done every day. Even Principal Weems is so impressed and proud that not only is his schoolyard clean, but that the 7th and 8th graders have such a strong commitment to their learning community and their environment.

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Gift Making from Reclaimed Materials

~Article and photos submitted by Patricia Williamson

Learners Selecting FabricsLearners Selecting FabricsOn Friday, hospital December 12th, pilule the Alameda Community Learning Center Environmental Leadership class hosted a gift making project night with reused materials.

The Environmental Leadership Class had been working for months on creating projects from recycled fabrics such as pillows, wallets, ottomans, and mats.

Learners from the class assisted parents and other learners from the community in making these Eco-friendly gifts. 

Over thirty people came and selected fabric for their projects then, with the help of the Environmental Leadership learners they got busy sewing.


5 Gallon Bucket Ottoman5 Gallon Bucket Ottoman

The Environmental Leadership Class supplied the community with lots of beautiful fabric, which was collected from an upholstery reuse organization called Fabmo. This fabric comes from all over the world as samples. These samples would normally go into the landfill.

Instructions for making an Ottoman from a 5 Gallon Bucket:

  • Step 1: cover bucket with padding. (Use old bed pads and blankets)
  • Step 2: Cut a length of fabric to go around padded bucket.
  • Step 3: Cut a circle for the top.
  • Step 4: Sew side seam and circle on top
  • Step 5: Cover the padded Bucket and sit on it!
  • Step 6: Give it as a gift.

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Water Savvy Garden Design: A Case Study in San Lorenzo

San Lorenzo High Students Review Water Savvy Designs from UC BerkeleySan Lorenzo High Students Review Water Savvy Designs from UC BerkeleyOn Friday, patient October 24th, viagra 100mg a group of slightly nervous graduate students from UC Berkeley revealed their draft water-savvy landscape design plans to an expert group of San Lorenzo community members: students from San Lorenzo High School.

2014 opened with mixed messages about the drought. At the same time that Governor Jerry Brown was declaring a drought emergency, many cities and homeowners’ associations in California were fining residents for failing to maintain a green lawn.

In Alameda County, the San Lorenzo Village Homeowners’ Association (one of the country’s first planned communities of the post WWII era) made the news for its heavy-handed enforcement of landscaping regulations.

Following the news coverage from San Lorenzo and around the state, California passed legislation restricting the ability to penalize home owners for reducing their water use on landscapes. The San Lorenzo Village Homeowners’ Association (SLVHA) also began work to expand their community’s vision of what a well-maintained lawn might be.

News coverage of San Lorenzo Village from KTVU

For assistance in re-thinking landscapes, the SLVHA contacted UC Berkeley where lecturer Dawn Kooyumjian took up the challenge and developed Landscape Architecture 254:5, “Water Savvy Garden Design: Case Study in San Lorenzo,” a graduate level course in the department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning.

Extended Course Description

THE SUBURBAN LAWN + HOMEOWNERS’ ASSOCIATIONS + DROUGHT = An Opportunity for Design to Change the Look of the Suburbs in Drought-Challenged California

San Lorenzo, governed by the nation’s oldest homeowners’ association, seeks new designs as replacement for the typical suburban front yard. In this class, working with the community, we will develop four prototypes for water-savvy front gardens, embracing strong design, beauty, function, and accessibility to the homeowner. Complementing the designs, we will produce a handbook to guide homeowners through the process of transforming their yards, with information on plants, water needs, maintenance, and best practices for sustainability. The course content includes site and planting design, water-budgeting, public speaking, and producing a publication. The course offers an unequaled opportunity to be on the vanguard of the new look of water-savvy California design. • Open to both undergraduate and graduate students • Prerequisite: LD ARCH 112 or equivalent • Satisfies the Natural Factors requirement (MLA).


SLVHA then reached out to StopWaste and ultimately received a grant for $7,000 to fund the studio at UC Berkeley.  StopWaste was also able to provide technical assistance on sheet mulching, design review, and resources from their “Lose Your Lawn--Gain a Garden” program, including sources for plants and materials.

Kooyumjian notes, “With the drought, SLVHA realizes that the typical front lawn is not necessarily a viable option.  The designs developed by the UCB students show that residents can have a beautiful front garden with less water than a well-maintained lawn requires.  This is a significant project as SLVHA is the oldest homeowners’ association in the country.  Most HOAs require a certain percentage of turf.  However, does this make sense in a climate with little water? SLVHA is leading the charge in rethinking the suburban front lawn.“ 

Over the course of the semester, Berkeley’s students researched the history, aesthetic, and local micro-climate of San Lorenzo, then produced themed water-savvy design drafts for review and comment. 

According to Kooyumjian, “The idea of engaging high school students came from a class discussion.  Who after all is more in touch with the neighborhood than high school students?  High school students are also educators, taking home with them the lessons learned in school. That so many, 30-plus,  students were willing to stay after school on a Friday show that there is real interest in conservation and community participation.“

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Teacher Alan Fishman invited students who regularly volunteer at the high school’s native plant nursery to participate in the event. “These students have shown a real dedication to gardening and improving our landscapes,” said Fishman.

First, student Han Zhen Li gave a short presentation about UC Berkeley and the Landscape Architecture program.  He gave an introduction to profession of Landscape Architecture, as well as explaining  what it is to be a landscape architecture student at Cal. Eli Bailey then talked about the drought, explaining the current situation, domestic water use and the need to conserve.  After these two introductions, each Cal student presented his/her designs, ranging from a California native woodland, to a sleek modern design to a Japanese-inspired design -- all beautiful, with minimal water.

Following the presentations, the class then broke into small discussion groups to review each design and learn how SLHS students perceive the neighborhood.  UCB students learned that shade trees, the use of front yard for recreation (soccer) and gathering (patios), as well as the need to minimize yard chores were all important to San Lorenzo youth.

On Thursday evening, October 30 the Cal students presented their designs at a San Lorenzo community meeting.  Both the SLVHA and the class were delighted by the turnout -- close to sixty people came to hear the presentations.  Along with the presentations, the attendees had the opportunity to speak one-on-one with students about the designs, providing invaluable feedback. 

The students are now refining the seven designs to four, incorporating the comments from the high school students and community.  Along with the designs, the students are also busy preparing the accompanying publication which will include information on how to adapt the designs to a particular situation (e.g. corner lot, cul-de-sac lot), with plants lists and general information about how to have a beautiful front garden with minimal water.

Even before the designs are finalized, the San Lorenzo Village Homeowners Association is starting to change its ideas of a vibrant front garden, as reflected in their periodic newsletter to residents. In January 2014, the featured front yard showed a lush, green lawn. By May and July the newsletter was featuring amazing yards with lower water demands.

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As 2014’s water year comes to an end, it’s clear that it will go down as one of California’s driest years in history. It’s also clear that slow-moving systems and long standing traditions are able to adapt in response to a changing environment.

Montera Celebrates Mr. Mike

Congratulations Mr. Mike!Congratulations Mr. Mike!

A basic principle of reducing food waste is to make food so good that people want to eat it all up. 

At Montera Middle School, Mr. Mike strives to do just that. In October, Mike was recognized by Oakland Unified School District's Nutrition Services Department for his efforts to run a fantastic cafeteria.

Joyce Peters a Registered Dietician with Oakland Unified School District's Nutrition Services department heaped additional praise on Mr. Mike: "Mike rarely takes off from work because Montera kids always come first. Mr. Mike has a great rapport with the students he feeds and those working in their first jobs at his kitchen. He is very proud of his cooking as a former  restaurant chef specializing in Louisiana cuisine. Despite how school meal regulations, budget, facilities and staffing may hamper his creativity, he really tries hard to please the students."

Dumpster Data Report

Bay Farm School teacher and Go Green Coordinator Michele Kuttner provides a periodic "Dumpster Data Report" via all-staff email to report progress and challenges related to the school's waste reduction efforts.

When Kuttner arrives in the morning that dumpsters are scheduled to be serviced by the hauler she makes a quick visual assessment and snaps a few pictures to document the total volume in the trash dumpster then sends a brief report to her colleagues.

Dumpster Data ReportDumpster Data Report

September 11, 2014 Landfill Trash dumpster on pick up day. Looks great! Very little visible contamination.  Dumpster barely 50% full :-)September 11, 2014 Landfill Trash dumpster on pick up day. Looks great! Very little visible contamination. Dumpster barely 50% full :-)

Sept 19. Landfill Trash dumpster overflowing with bags of trash-much of it recyclable and compostSept 19. Landfill Trash dumpster overflowing with bags of trash-much of it recyclable and compost

Interested in starting your own Dumpster Data Report?  Here's advice from Michele:

"I’m looking at two things: capacity and contamination. Just a quick peek at what I see looking into the dumpster tells me a lot.

Do I see a lot of paper towel waste in the landfill dumpster? Then, I know to remind staff & custodians that all paper towel waste should go in green bins.

Or food waste? Maybe I need to remind the food service/lunch staff that no food should go in the trash.

Is there evidence of plastic in the organics/green carts? Etc.  I’m not doing any sorting or digging.

I’m also keeping an eye on how full our landfill dumpster is because I’m hoping to continue to reduce the size of that dumpster as we increase recycling/organics amounts.

I email the photos to myself. I don’t plan to do this every week but I may also forward the email photos with a quick report to staff.

I have also shared them with MOF if it looks like we have some problems created by sub custodians requesting they train them. The folks at MOF have told me they appreciate the pictures as evidence.

I made a folder on my computer called “Dumpster Data” .  I date the photos and put them in that folder so I have a kind of photo history.

I would estimate it takes me less than 10 minutes each week. Since I’m the Go Green Coordinator at this school and our district encourages principals to include this position as part of  the Teacher Major Duty List, this work is part of my 14 hours extra duty per year."


Where Do Your Clothes Come From?

AP Environmental Studies students at Alameda High School produced a short video investigating the question, purchase "Where do your clothes come from?" Their research showed that the vast majority of clothing purchased in the United States is shipped from overseas which incurs an environmental cost for transportation as well as loose environmental standards for production and worker safety. 

The video includes tips for reducing the environmental impacts of clothing including shopping at thrift and consignment shops and/or looking for companies that have production closer to where the consumer lives.


Cody Tabor Wins Wood Middle School Environmental Stewardship Award

Cody Tabor - Environmental Stewardship Award WinnerCody Tabor - Environmental Stewardship Award WinnerWood Middle School established the Environmental Stewardship Award this year to recognize excellence and outstanging contributions to the environement by a Wood Middle School Student.  Congratulations to Cody Tabor for being selected as Wood Middle School's first recipient of the Environmental Stewardship Award!

Dedication speech from teacher Jeannette Frechou:

"As a SLWRP and NOAA Ocean Guardian School, this is the first year for this award. Stewardship of the environment refers to protecting the environment through recycling, conservation, regeneration, and restoration.

It means taking responsibility for our choices. 

This graduate, Cody Tabor has exhibited these choices throughout her three year career at Wood.  When she was a 6th grader in SLWRP class, Cody would show up on Monday mornings in the hallway with a container of nurdles at my door (tiny microplastic pollution). She did this throughout her 6th grade year when the wheel class had changed to art and drama.  

She showed leadership and carried that leadership into her 7th grade year when she presented with me at the first annual Monterey Bay Aquarium Plastics in the Ocean Conference in September, 2012.  Teachers from all over the state were impressed with her knowledge about plastic’s effect on ocean ecosystems and her passion to keep them out of our oceans. 

That same year, Wood hosted the SLWRP dinner meeting for all East Bay SLWRP educators along with NOAA and Monterey Bay Aquarium leaders.  Cody led teachers, students and scientists to the beach to show them how to retrieve marine debris in one meter plots at our study site. 

In her 8th grade year, Cody along with her designer partners, Giovi Segalini and Soriah Boardman attended the Trashion Fashion workshops for 5 weeks hosted by Ms. Ely and myself after school, and designed a modern skirt made from recycled paint samples, cardboard, and duct tape for the 13th annual Wood Museum.  It was the best outfit in the fashion show!

Cody, it is with great pleasure that Wood School awards you this first Environmental Stewardship Award."

Jeannette M. Frechou  June 12, 2014

View the embedded image gallery online at:


Go-Green Commissioner

Tiffany Ta, <a href=Tiffany Ta, malady 2013-2014 Green Commissioner" width="300" height="200" />In 2009, Irvington High School’s student government created the position of “Go-Green Commissioner” to reduce the environmental impact of student organized activities and other campus-wide events involving the school’s 2000+ students. The Go-Green Commissioner is responsible for campus beautification and the on-going goal of making the campus greener. This position is one of reusing, reducing, and recycling. This commissioner ensures that the IHS campus is kept green and clean.

Tiffany Ta is Irvington’s 2013-2014 Go-Green Commissioner. As a freshman, Ta was inspired by Jasper Lin- a previous commissioner- who helped Irvington win recognition as “America’s Greenest School” in a competition sponsored by IC Bus Company.

As Commissioner, Ta helps lead Irvington’s Green Advisory group, advises ASB and school clubs on best environmental practices for school events, and helps connect outside agencies with the school.

“I have partnered with Safe Routes on many events such as Cocoa for Carpools, Bike Mobile, and Walk and Roll Events. We are planning the Golden Sneaker Contest at this point with Mr. Jackson. The recycling has been delegated instead of me doing it all the time. Clubs and I have been working on ways to improve the overall “greenness of it”. Although I have been in charge of the garbage collection circle for two years now, it is going much more smoothly this year. We have also been throwing ideas back about biodegradable forks and plates to reduce the amount of waste during Club Rush. I am also working with Service Learning and Mr. Willer on our “green” campaign of using less poster paper which includes limiting the places where people can put posters and putting up electronic boards. We are also toying with the idea of painting “ Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday… ect” on a large wall and posting up big news such as winterball and such on these large surfaces to publicize more effectively with less paper.  I have been in charge of green advisory this year and they have been a great support system and I advise any new Go-Green Commissioner to be in the advisory and head it so that you can know what is going on at all times with anything Green.” Tiffany Ta

Cocoa for Carpools

 Walk and Roll to School

Go-Green Commissioner Job Description

Irvington recently updated the job description for the Go Green Commissioner:

The Go- Green Commissioner is here to ensure that what can be done about the greenness of our school is done, this is not limited to campus beautification but also education. This position is one reducing, reusing, and recycling which does not always have to mean objects. They are here to encourage use of more recycled materials and to be as conscientious of the environment of our school as possible. They are here to ensure that the wholesome green environment of IHS is maintained and progresses.  

Required Duties are as stated, but not limited to:

  1. Assisting Student Council as a whole, as needed.
  2. Analyze “green-ness” of all school events. (benchbuilding, club rush day, etc.)
  3. Ensure that all school events (especially where food is being sold) are provided with adequate recycling facilities. 
  4. Head green advisory to streamline school-wide recycling, beautification, and other innovative ideas.
  5. Work with ASB and staff on campus beautification and education.
  6. Work with Clubs Commissioner to create a way of checking greenness of events with master calendar requests.
  7. Serve as the Chairperson of the ecology fair and earth week/day.
  8. Facilitate a proper clean up at the end of first and second round campaigning weeks.
  9. Attend daily leadership class and weekly business meetings.
  10. Delegate the task of recycling.
  11. Work with Safe Routes for events that coincide with the green integrity of IHS.
  12.  Initiate green initiatives that create a better green environment for our school.
  13. Work with Service Learning for the recycling center every Friday.

Student Video Promotes New Hydration Station at Alameda High

Alameda High student Caitlyn Shener helped her school win an Ocean Guardian grant from NOAA to install a hydration station to easily refill reusable waterbottles. To help raise awareness about the new hydration station and to reduce the use of single-use disposable water bottles, price Caitlyn created this public service announcement video:


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