Alameda High School, home of the Hornets, has placed green concerns at the center of an array of classes and programs on campus. Green construction techniques are taught through the school’s wood shop class and students in AP Environmental Science regularly provide outreach and education to community members. Student leadership through the Sierra Student Coalition club organizes campus wide projects and events such as Earth Day festivals and a school garden. Student leaders are also actively engaged in helping to expand recycling at businesses and in public spaces in the community adjacent to the school campus along Park Street in Alameda. The school and district are investigating the potential installation of a large solar array on the high school and other school district properties.
As part of a year-end project in Dr. Carolyn Griffith’s AP Environmental Studies class, nurse a group of students created a documentary film entitled The Invisible World.
The 14 minute film highlights threats and challenges to wildlife on land and at sea as well as promising developments to improve the planet’s health. The film focuses on two interviews with environmental leaders from very different environmental organizations.
Lynette Kotinow from the SF Bay Chapter of the American Cetacean Society discusses challenges wildlife faces at sea from marine debris while Constance Taylor from Wild Oakland highlights challenges animals face on land from urban development.
Alameda High's Sierra Student Coalition worked with clubs from across the school's campus to organize an Earth Day Festival at lunch on Friday, April 19. The baking club made Earth-themed goodies while the art club sold jewelry made from found objects and recycled materials.
One particular highlight of the event was the performance of an original Earth Day song written and performed by members of the school's songwriters club.
Dr. Griffith's 3rd and 4th period Environmental Sciences class conducted waste audits on Thursday, January 31st, 2013 in their classroom.
Combined the classes sorted through 10 large bags of trash collected from on campus at Alameda High School. The trash came from diverse sources and included an interesting assortment of materials and items.
The largest findings were the almost 50% compostable food scraps, almost 28% recyclables and 17% of items actually destined for the landfill. In addition, the small but notable 5% of waste that was uneaten and unopened food .
Dr. Griffith's 3rd period Environmental Science class was surprised with how much paper waste there was in the trash, most of which was totally clean and recyclable. Students wondered how that much paper could have been put into the landfill with existing paper recycling being so well known and distributed.
- "Why don't we do all this sorting before we throw things away?"
- "This is super nasty."
- "The smell made my stomach hurt, but someone's got to do it." -Jesus Garcia
During Dr. Griffith's 4th period Environmental Science waste audit, the students spotted some clothes including what appeared to be a new pair of 6.5 size Nikes. The students will have a lot to work with in terms of turning this experience and the data it generated into action on their campus.
- "I thought I always sorted the trash right but it seems like there are some mistakes." -Wynter Woods
- "It is important to the environment. We have to learn how to recycle."-Benjamin Zhang
- "It's weird to realize what people throw away and that waste doesn't just dissapear." -Roxanna Yusuji
Republished from EarthTeam
Alameda High School's Dr. Griffith loves science and teaching. She believes that science must be taught to everyone to help make the world a better place. She believes that teaching high school students about the environment will change the world for the better. She always encourages her students to use the knowledge they gain in her classes to make informed decisions and to work for a sustainable future.
Dr. Griffith started out her education at UC Santa Barbara as a Biology major, then went on to San Francisco State University for a Masters in Physiology and then a Ph.D. in Endocrinology at UC Berkeley. She started her career as a biomedical researcher at the University of California, Berkeley studying cancer. She has always loved teaching, so she switched her focus after a few years by teaching molecular biology at California State University, Eastbay. Then, she taught at Alliant University for a credential class for high school science teachers. At UCB, she mentored high school students and co-taught Molecular Endocrinology. But in August 2000, she started teaching AP Environmental Science and regular Environmental Science courses at Alameda High School. From then on, she made a big impact on her students and taught them about ways to make the world a better place.
From ET staff, Ilse Villacorta:
I know Dr. Griffith not only from the recent Waste Audit that we did but because she was my AP Environmental teacher back when I went to AHS. She was the main inspiration for me in taking an interest in the environment and for becoming a more proactive person and student. She has an infectious energy that allows people to feel empowered to change the world around them. She is always positive and has been the driving force behind having AHS implement a composting and recycling system. She has attended LEAF in the past and looking to attend again in the future.
Congratulations to Dr. Griffith for being recognized as EarthTeam's teacher of the month for February 2013!