Thanks to everyone who participated in National Green Week 2012! It was a huge success and we wanted to follow up on our blog post last winter, Get Ready… National Green Week is only 7 days away!, with an update on the success of our sustainability programs. National Green Week 2012 proved to be a success for GEF with over 5 million student participants, making it the largest waste reduction movement in schools nationwide! Between February 6 and April 22, K-12 classrooms across the US chose one week dedicated to various waste reduction methods. Whether they were separating trash or composting, these students created their own sustainability campaigns to make their school a greener place, thus positively impacting the environment.
Victoria Waters, CEO of GEF, considers National Green Week a chance for students to engage in effortless sustainable behaviors, such as turning off lights, adjusting thermostats, and packing drinks and snacks in reusable containers. These habits reduce waste and energy use while developing lifelong sustainable habits.
At the close of each National Green Week, “Green in Action Awards” are granted to schools, classes, or groups who submit their sustainability projects, lessons, and/or activities to GEF. Though each submission was spectacular, Marist School: Environmental Science Class and the Thomas Prince PTA Green Team excelled at their projects and were selected as the Green in Action winners of 2012. Marists’ Environmental Science class deserved the American Standard Green in Action award with their projects focusing on storm water runoff and invasive species. These students improved environmental and sustainable literacy through hands-on activities and monitoring their own projects – job well done! The Thomas Prince Green Team was awarded by GEF and Amtrak for their plethora of school-wide activities, such as an organic school garden, recycling posters, composting efforts, and much more! The Green Team did a fabulous job coordinating all of the green projects for the Thomas Prince School.
Launched in 2008, GEF’s National Green Week continues to grow with enthusiasm and achievement. Respondents of GEF’s program survey provided positive feedback on GEF’s National Green Week and Green Thumb Challenge programs this year. Results show that 89% of the survey respondents would recommend GEF’s programs and curriculum to peers; 87% of teachers responded that GEF’s programs were a valuable learning experience for their students and/or staff; 92% said they learned important environmental lessons. One respondent replies, “A school with more than 2000 students started separating their trash and making compost out of more than 80% of it.” With extremely optimistic survey results, GEF hopes to improve existing programs, develop new sustainability programs, and provide more resources for schools to utilize.
Join us in 2013 for the National Green Week movement to start making a sustainable difference at your institution!Post by Jacquelyn Hynes, GEF Intern