StopWaste at School


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Wood Middle School in Alameda ties environmental education to the science curriculum through projects that engage students in stewardship on campus and in the neighborhood in an effort to achieve its mission of "Practicing environmental awareness to use less, recycle more and to protect the San Francisco Bay from Pollution."  Located just one block from the San Francisco Bay, students study how litter is generated and its impact on watersheds through clean-up and restoration projects.  Wood has created a Service-Learning Waste Reduction elective class as part of the 6th grade curriculum engaging students in waste audits, awareness campaigns and creative reuse contests.  Wood systematically applies waste reduction principles to important school events such as the Wood Museum of History Exhibit held each year.

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


Creative Reuse on Display at 2014 Wood Museum of History

Wood Museum ofHistoryWood Museum ofHistoryThe 13th annual Wood Museum of History opened Wednesday, March 5 at the Alameda Free Library. The museum features exhibits created by Wood Middle School’s 6th, 7th and 8th graders depicting their understanding of, “human history from the earliest times to the American experience.”

In addition to historical understanding, students are challenged to consider human impacts on the environment and are encouraged to use found, recycled, and repurposed items in the creation of their exhibit.

Blanchard's BalloonBlanchard's BalloonThis year, the opening ceremony of the Wood Museum of History included a “Trashy Fashion Show” featuring teacher and student designers and their outfits made from repurposed materials.

Student Emily Chau was recognized for “best creative reuse” of materials in the creation of her exhibit depicting Blanchard’s Balloon. Using plastic bags, discarded plastic water bottles, cardboard, newspaper, leftover paint and other materials, Chau created a model of the first hot air balloon flown in North America in 1793.

2014 Wood Trashion Show

In a series of after school workshops, order students from Wood Middle School created clothing from discarded and found materials for a fashion show at the Wood Museum of History. With support and participation from teachers Jeannette Frechou and Nancy Ely, symptoms students experimented with a range of materials including discarded paper, discount duct tape, old t-shirts, cds, burlap sacks and plastic bags.

The work culminated in a runway walk at the Wood Museum of History. StopWaste’s Roberta Miller announced each designer and the features of their outfits to the ooohs and aaaahs of an appreciative crowd.

Winged Ambassadors Program at Wood Middle School

Students examine an albatross bolusStudents examine an albatross bolusJennifer Stock from the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary visited Wood Middle School on Tuesday, October 29 to help the school kick off another year as a NOAA Ocean Guardian School.

Stock worked with 6th grade students in Jeannette Frechou's Service-Learning Waste Reduction Project class to share a portion of the Winged Ambassadors program which helps illustrate the impacts of plastic on marine life.

Students learned that Albatross chicks are hatched far out on islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, but that their food is delivered by adult albatrosses that fly all the way to the coast of California to gather food. One of the primary feeding sites is the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary located just west of the Farallon Islands where the continental shelf provides a rich updraft of nutrients supporting a robust food web.

Students examine the impact of plastic on albatross dietsStudents examine the impact of plastic on albatross dietsFrequently the adult albatrosses ingest plastic floating at sea then inadvertently feed it to the chicks. When the chicks fledge, they regurgitate any indigestible things they may have eaten as chicks.

Typically this includes squid beaks and fish bones, but increasingly scientists are finding plastic in these "bolus" samples.

Stock guided the students in an activity to investigate bolus photos to discover how much of an impact plastic is having on the diets of these sea birds. Students found that approximately 40% of the items in bolus samples were plastic pollution. The activity reinforced the efforts students are making to remove plastic litter from beaches nearby the school campus.

Wood Middle School Students Present Findings at Conference

Angela Pham and Mira Belle Abretron represented Wood Middle School at the conferneceAngela Pham and Mira Belle Abretron represented Wood Middle School at the conferneceOn October 29, Science Teacher Jeannette Frechou and two students from Wood Middle School presented a poster entitled "Change our Disposable Plastic Waterways" at the 11th Biennial State of the San Francisco Estuary Conference in Oakland, CA.

According to the conference website, "The State of the Estuary Conference showcases the latest information about the estuary's changing watersheds, impacts from major stressors, recovery programs for species and habitats, and emerging challenges."

"Over 50 presentations and panels during the two-day conference included noted scientists discussing nutrients, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and other pollutant levels in the San Francisco Bay region; as well as trends in population levels of birds such as the clapper rail and other endangered species. Resource managers discussed methods of addressing trash pollution that affect the waters of our rivers, creeks and Bay; described the progress and challenges of restoring important wetlands around the region; and considered why dolphins may be returning to the Bay in numbers not seen in decades."

"Together, our partners have restored tens of thousands of acres of invaluable wetlands around the Bay, reduced Bay contamination from copper and nickel, tackled legacy pollutants such as mercury and PCBs, and have made progress in treating stormwater runoff as a resource instead of a waste. But we know that with climate change and inevitable sea level rise threatening our shores, the health of the Estuary is ever more critical to the welfare and economic sustainability of Bay Area communities," said Judy Kelly, Director of the Estuary Partnership.

The poster from Wood Middle School highlighted the school's efforts to understand and mitigate the impacts of plastic pollution on the San Francisco Bay.

From the poster's abstract:

"Human litter, plastics and other marine debris are some of the greatest threats to marine life today.

Since 2009, Wood Middle School 6th grade SLWRP (Service-Learning Waste Reduction Project) classes have worked at study sites at Crown Memorial Beach to collect and analyze marine debris with a focus on nurdles.

Over 5,000 nurdles have been sent to Dr. Hideshige Takada for analysis through the International Pellet Watch Program. Students work 1 x 1 meter plots, collecting nurdles, polystyrene, cigarette filters, and other harmful debris that affects ocean food webs.

Wood School is a third year recipient of a NOAA Ocean Guardian Grant to facilitate this work. Our Mission Statement is: practice environmental awareness to use less, recycle more, and to protect the San Francisco Bay ecosystems from pollution.

Our service-learning work is a collaboration among, ACOE SLWRP, and East Bay Regional Park District. In 2009-10, students worked with park staff through the process from design to installation of a colorful educational sign about plastic pollution at Shoreline Drive and Grand Street on Crown Beach.

Our nurdles data can be viewed at

In May 2011, Wood SLWRP Program received a Congressional Award from Congressman Sam Farr for its outstanding work in environmental education supporting ocean health.

'When students lead by teaching others about ocean literacy, powerful learning, civic responsibility, and community pride abounds. Service-learning collaborations such as those above are rewarding for students and community while contributing to the physical, chemical, and biological integrity of the San Francisco Bay estuary and its ecosystems. Transportation costs are the most prohibitive barrier to student service work. Agencies should seek grants or awards to assist schools in accessing service opportunities within the estuarine system.'- Jeannette M Frechou, SLWRP Teacher"