Roguewood and Valley View may soon have other Rockford elementaries going green with envy. Both have been honored with an award by Green School awards program hosted by Kent County and Kent ISD. The ceremony took place at the LEED certified Fine Arts Center in Forest Hills Public Schools. According to Principal Hiblen, the students had 20 “green” project options and were to complete ten of them before Earth Day on April 22. “We did a bunch of different things,” Hiblen said of his Roguewood Green Team. The students set a goal for the school to recycle all paper, implemented a battery recycling program, all as part of a district-wide comprehensive energy-savings program that has saved the district hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Both schools sent their Green Team students for a ceremony recognizing their successful efforts. Brad Davison, fifth grade teacher at Valley View and Nancy Berg, fourth grade teacher, were co-sponsors of the student-run Green Team at Valley View. Students decided on their ten state green school projects and have worked on these all yearlong. They include designing and planting a native Michigan rain garden, recycling paper and plastic, being involved in a plastic bag county project (they recycled over 22,000 plastic bags), designing environmental teaching lessons and teaching to lower elementary grade levels, hosting environmental speakers, and starting a composting center for lunch food scraps. “We are very proud of the efforts all the students at Valley View and especially the Green Team,” said Berg.
Hiblen said of the students at both schools, “I am extremely proud, really it’s an example of documenting things kids do every day and I celebrate the chance of giving them credit for that.”
“The Green Schools program supports the county’s continued effort to strengthen conservation, encourage energy reduction and build ‘green buildings’ like our new Department of Human Services and District Court buildings,” noted Roger C. Morgan, chair of the Kent County Board of Commissioners.
“We are excited to partner with Kent County in presenting these awards to our schools,” said Kent ISD Superintendent Kevin A. Konarska, and have been told we are the only ISD-County partnership in Michigan Green Schools. The students and educators here today are great examples of the energy and enthusiasm schools are bringing to critical environmental issues-and the difference they are making, at school, home and our community.
“Districts are working hard to save energy and taxpayer dollars and have long taught environmental awareness in their classrooms. This new program helps us recognize their efforts.”
The program was created by legislation (Public Act 146 of 2006) to encourage schools to participate in environmentally-focused activities and provide the incentive of the “Green Schools Certificate.” Some of the environmental activities our schools are doing to earn their certificates include:
- Recycling programs, and most of them have multiple recycling programs (some even earn money from them).
- 33 schools have a birdhouse habitat project – many as part of larger habitat creation.
- Composting school lunch scraps.
- Saving square feet of rainforest with a “click-through” website.