The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education (KACEE) have announced the recipients of the 2009 Green Schools Awards. The three schools receiving the Green School Award are: Starside Elementary School, (De Soto, USD 232), Buhler High School (Buhler, USD 313), and Wyandotte High School (Kansas City, USD 500).
“KDHE is pleased to partner with KACEE to present the Green School Awards to three very deserving schools this year,” said KDHE secretary Roderick L. Bremby. “The efforts these schools have undertaken not only help to make a difference in our environment, but they are projects that engage students and teach them valuable lessons about the importance of being environmentally responsible.”
Starside Elementary School has been engaged in “green” activities for the past eight years including recycling bins in each classroom and office. “Mother Nature” begins each assembly and appears in morning announcements every Wednesday to discuss environmental issues. Top Dog, a traveling trophy made of recycled materials, is awarded each week to a class or student exhibiting environmental awareness. Starside’s mascot this year, made of recycled aluminum foil, is Bob the Ball. Starside ties its student-driven environmental efforts to its character education program and has pencils made of recycled newspapers in vending machines.
At Buhler High School, students, staff and administration have demonstrated a keen interest in protecting the environment. They have collaboratively created a sustainable program that seeks to protect, conserve and recycle the energy used on a day-to-day basis. Involvement by students is critical to implementing the school’s green philosophy that will sustain its existence despite changes in teaching staff and administration. In 2007, the school district reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by 1,105 tons, and received the Energy Star Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The students of Wyandotte High School had a vision eight years ago of transforming one of their courtyards into an outdoor environmental education classroom. Writing grants to raise funds, the students planted a garden and designed native plant areas. Botany classes have collected data from the 20 raised plant beds for the past two years, which they have submitted to Prairies Across Kansas, a partnership of schools that collect data on Kansas native prairies. The data is ultimately submitted to the Konza Prairie Research Station.
KDHE Secretary, Roderick Bremby will present the Kansas Green Schools Awards at an event on Friday, April 3 at 6:30 p.m. at the Kansas Museum of History in Topeka. School assemblies are also being scheduled so that the student body at each school may be recognized for their environmental efforts. For more information on the awards event, visit www.kacee.org or call 785-532-3322.