Insights and Ideas from 5 Schools that are Living Green to the Upmost
Education starts at home. And we all know it doesn't end there. So when you've brought up your kids to be Eco-conscious green warriors, don't you want them to be in a school where your Green beliefs will be enhanced and applied? I know I would! In fact, I've been so driven to find Green schools these days that I've taken to researching these trends. The number of schools committing themselves to the Eco cause is astounding! I compiled my favorites, initially to pitch these suggestions to my children's school, but I've decided to share this with all the Green Mamas out there! Here are five of these wonderful sustainable schools:
North Avondale Montessori, Cincinnati
Tarkington Elementary School, Chicago
Stadium School, Baltimore City
West Virginia University
One of the 22 LEED-registered buildings in the Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) district, the North Avondale leads the LEED pack. Standing for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a building declared as LEED-registered means that it has met the needs and high standards for energy conservation and has paid much attention and care to increasing positive impact (while reducing negative impact) on the environment. In North Avondale Montessori, one of the more recognized projects is their walk out "green roof". The school's roof is planted with a layer of plants that helps soak up rainwater and simultaneously insulate the roof. This treatment not only gives students a patch of green in their own school, it also helps the school reduce their heating and cooling expenses. Aside from this, and perhaps most important, having a green roof give the students hands-on experience that has been proven to be most effective in information retention.
From floors made of recycled glass to a faculty that takes to heart their task of training students to become genuine stewards of the earth, Tarkington Elementary School is one of the Chicago Public School system's gems. Also a LEED-registered school, Tarkington Elementary fulfills the responsibilities that come with being such a school. With beautiful two-story high windows, the school is not only breathtakingly gorgeous, but it also utilizes natural light to its full extent. Aside from this, Tarkington actually has "intelligent lights" that are sensitive to the amount of natural light in a room and adjust themselves accordingly. As if that was not enough, this school's faculty is such an inspiring bunch! One of their instructors managed to merge a lesson on recycling with mathematics! Now that's just genius dedication I'd love to see in my children's school! With a "green roof" that blooms all year long with plants from the tundra, the students not only get access to such beautiful scenery; they also get a whiff of fresh air in the busy metropolis.
While it is fantastic that schools take the initiative and action to create sustainable
environments, it is even more heartwarming to know that the students initiate their own green projects. In Stadium School and 16 other schools in the Baltimore City district, this is a reality. In Stadium School, the Recycling Club is a handful of sixth- to eighth- graders who have taken the initiative to create a paper recycling program in school. Even after acts of vandalism by other schools to derail the project, the Stadium School Recycling Club has forged on to place recycling bins around school, and has even created guidelines about recycling. They've even brought this practice to their own homes! What an inspiring bunch of kids!
Suppose you have Eco-warrior kids who are about to go off to college. Aside from their quality education, the question on your minds might be, is this college eco-friendly and sustainable as well? With West Virginia University, the answer is a resounding yes. Not only a leader in energy research (having completed more than $90 million in energy-related research), WCU has also created an eco-sustainable environment with simple projects. To reduce trash in dining halls, they introduced a tray-less dining hall. Their dining halls even donated excess food to charities and sends used cooking oil to a biodiesel processor! Tapping the competitive spirit of their gifted students, WVU created Ecolympics, a competition where residence halls are challenged to conserve energy and recycle their waste.
Driven by their goal to drastically reduce their emissions on campus, Harvard dedicates ample research and campus action towards this goal. Among a few of their Green initiatives are their 63 building projects geared towards LEED registration, renewable energy on campus, composting in residential halls, a 55% recycling rate, and many, many others! So while paying for that hefty tuition fee, you're actually helping save the Earth, one Ivy League school at a time!
These are only 5 out of the hundreds of schools all over the USA committed to creating Green learning environments for our children. If your school isn't already one of these eco-schools, then maybe you can print out this article or even send them to the National Wildlife Federation's Eco School Website to inspire them to walk the Green path.
Guest blogger Maxine Dee is a dedicated mother who believes in raising here children in a happy and healthy environment. She has been learning more about living a sustainable lifestyle during the last few years and has come to appreciate the many positive benefits of living a conscious life.