Independence School Local 1:Baltimore City
We are wholly committed to connecting students with their environment. Every Tuesday, students participate in field work activities which range from gardening, to researching the urban water cycle, to local improvement projects. As a school, we are developing and implementing a curriculum to use storm water management facilities as an integrative instructional tool. Our school has been an integral part of the Pathways to Environmental Science Literacy Math Science Partnership Project funded by the National Science Foundation (taking place at the Baltimore Ecosystem Study and three other Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) sites around the nation).
Independence School Local 1 is a unique charter high school in Baltimore City. Our school’s academic program embodies three principles: authentic learning through the real world; dealing with children one mind at a time; and providing a forum in which students form a strong social identity with respect to their history and their surroundings.
Our coordinated and cohesive environmental curriculum connects every student at every grade level to the green space by way of maintaining the gardens, studying how parts of Hampden have an effect on the urban water cycle, and using our outdoors to study the microcosm of the larger environment. Independence School is the only high school in Baltimore City to offer a CTE program in Environmental Studies. We work with local business and non-profit partners on a variety of community greening projects.
Riderwood Elementary School:Baltimore County
Members of the Green Team have heard many, many times “I always thought we should do a project like this but it’s so hard to get the whole school on board and get organized. I can’t do it alone.” Our Green School process provides a mission and resources to support what individual teachers want to teach in their classrooms, what custodial staff want to do with the recycling program, and what students and parents are not able to accomplish individually.
“The minute visitors walk onto the grounds of Riderwood Elementary School (a public school in Baltimore County), they notice unmistakable signs that environmental learning is core to the school’s philosophy. On the way in, they pass our new ‘Kinder Garden’ Nature Trail and admire the native perennials, shrubs and grasses that attract birds and butterflies. In the front lobby, a bulletin board declaring that ‘It’s Easy To Be Green’ highlights Green Team activities and displays pictures of students learning about the environment every day.
And these are just special, visible projects that the Green Team has undertaken. What is happening quietly in every classroom on a daily basis is an increased emphasis that our students have a vital role to play as “environmental stewards”.
North Carroll High School:Carroll County
The NC Green Team increased recycling, began school-wide composting, constructed a blue-bird trail with the help of local boy scouts, and improved native habitat plantings around the school grounds. Energy conservation increased with “Turn it off Tuesdays” and education of all staff and students took place using “Green Fact Friday” morning announcements.
North Carroll High School is located in Hampstead, in Carroll County. Over the past three years, NCHS has been “Going Green” and has seen a shift in culture to one of positive environmental stewardship shown by staff, students and community members. The green initiative began as the NC Green Team, a student-lead club, was created by Assistant Principal, Ms. Gina Felter.
Professional development at Hashawha Environmental Center and through CBF, raised awareness in the faculty of North Carroll so that they began using the environment as an integrating context for learning in all content areas throughout the school.
NCHS was named a MD Green School in 2013 and a USDE Green Ribbon school in 2014. The success of the green initiative at NCHS was due to the overwhelming support and participation by students, staff and community members to do positive things to impact our local environment in Carroll County.
Mechanicsville Elementary School:St. Mary’s County
Mechanicsville Elementary School has been pursuing BIG efforts with recycling and reusing solid waste. The first thing they did was to have fifth graders go to the primary classrooms and read to the students about the importance of recycling. Classroom teachers read to the older students. Next, the fifth graders helped the younger students to make correct choices by placing recyclables and trash on our quiz board. Afterwards, students took actual lunch items to the cafeteria where they practiced putting them in the correct containers.
Their staff and students have been incredible! Each day students empty breakfast and lunch remains into four different bins – Liquids, Recycling, Trash and Juice Pouches. That trash can has gotten very small! In addition, each hallway now has its own recycle can labeled with signs stating what is and isn’t recyclable. Classrooms empty their bins into the hallway cans and once a week, our Green Team rechecks all the rooms and empties the hallway cans. They are also participating in Terracycle – they’ve been sending in pairs of shoes, dairy containers, juice pouches, etc. and their PSTO does a “Wear and Share” sale, two times a year. Great job Mechanicsville!