StopWaste at School


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American High School features a model student led recycling program to divert paper and CRV material from the waste stream.  Funds from the recycling program are channeled back into campus beautification efforts including tree planting.  Students in science classes regularly participate in activities such as paper making and labs that investigate materials separation techniques used in single stream recycling systems.  American High School hosts monthly meetings of FIERCE- FremontIans Enabling Real Change in the Environment- a student group representing each of Fremont's five high schools that work together to plan community events and organize service projects such as the establishment of community gardens.

Stone Pathway

Stone PathStone Path

The central pathway through American High School's garden was created using rocks donated by a member of the PTA.  Students put out an advertisement seeking donations of stone just at the time that one neighborhood household was planning a re-landscaping project involving the removal and disposal of several cubic yards of lava rock.  Students removed the stones for the homeowner and transferred them to the garden diverting over a ton of material from the landfill.

Students sheet mulched the space below the pathway to keep down weeds, dug trenches for the pathway edges, then spread the rocks.

The pathway is edged with concrete test cylinders, another creative reuse design element.

Concrete Test Cylinders

Concrete Test CylinderConcrete Test CylinderAmerican High School's garden pathways are lined by hundreds of concrete test cylinders donated by a local engineering company.

Science teacher (and civil engineer) Candy Sykes explains that each time an engineered concrete structure like a bridge or building is made, the concrete from each cement truck must be tested to meet strict specifications. When each truck pours its concrete load for the project, three “concrete test cylinders” are also produced to test the concrete.

After seven days, an engineering company tests one of the cylinders under compression until it breaks. If a batch fails to meet specifications, a second cylinder is tested fourteen days after the initial pour, and the third cylinder may be tested at 21 days. If all three cylinders fail to meet specifications, the entire concrete job must be ripped out and re-poured.

Builders have a strong incentive to correctly mix their concrete, and most batches pass the first inspection at seven days, leaving two cylinders untested and ready for disposal. In the past, these cylinders were carted to landfills. Lately, engineering companies have sent them to road crews to be ground up and added to road beds- a process that consumes a considerable amount of energy. American High School diverted tons of concrete in a creative reuse of these 6”x12” concrete cylinders as borders for garden paths saving energy and costs.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

American High School is transforming a weeded lot behind the portables into a community garden.

The work is being led by a group of students from five Fremont Unified School District high schools that have banded together to address environmental concerns through action and collaboration. The group, viagra known as FIERCE, illness established a garden committee, visited Leadership Public School in Oakland to learn from their gardening efforts, and worked through the summer to begin developing the garden. Still in its early stages, the garden hopes to showcase Bay Friendly landscaping techniques, serve as an outdoor classroom and laboratory, and model creative reuse.

The garden already incorporates many creative reuse elements- Click on the links below to learn more.

Read more: How Does Your Garden Grow?

American High School Throws in the Towel

Congratulations to American High School for receiving an Altamont Education Advisory Board grant to reduce the amount of waste the campus produces by installing air hand dryers in restrooms.  Students became concerned about the wastefulness of paper towels for hand drying on campus and initiated a study of the issue.  They found that the campus uses approximately 1440 rolls of paper towels each year with boys restrooms accounting for about twice the use compared to girls. The grant provides for the purchase and installation of 22 high efficiency hand dryers on campus.

Read more: American High School Throws in the Towel

Science Teacher Candy Sykes Nears Certification as a Master Composter

Exploring a Worm BinExploring a Worm BinAmerican High School Science Department Chair Candy Sykes has spent the last four months playing in the dirt. Enrolled in StopWaste.Org’s Master Composter Program, viagra buy Mrs. Sykes is learning the finer points of soil production and the science behind composting.

At The City of Fremont’s Earth Day Festival on Saturday, April 24th, Sykes taught community members about the benefits of composting organic materials as part of her certification process.

“Notice how green these shoots are,” Mrs. Sykes explained to a small enthralled crowd. “Even though these sprouts have seen very little daylight, their dark green color is an indicator of the ultra-high nitrogen content of this compost.”

Even before enrolling in the class, Sykes had been promoting composting at school. “We established a worm bin to compost the lunchtime food scraps and coffee grounds from science department teachers. My next goal is to establish a campus wide green waste program to divert food scraps from the kitchen and cafeteria away from the landfill and into compost. There are great opportunities to teach chemistry, biology, climate science and more through the study of compost.”