Cherish the Earth
Cherish the Earth
by Gerri Faivre, email@example.com, Westbury Friends School
A Friends Council on Education bookmark states “Respect the earth and all life upon it.” At Westbury Friends (WFS), our pastoral campus, bordered by two very busy streets, provides all who enter a true retreat from the hectic activity of daily life. The historic Westbury Friends Cemetery, dating back to the time of Elias Hicks, is adjacent to the school and the Meeting House. Such a beautiful setting gives us many reasons for making respect for the earth a top priority at all times. In addition, our membership in the Green Schools Alliance and the effort on the part of the Student Council to spearhead environmental activities has been the catalysts for many school initiatives over the past two years.
The Lights Out Program at WFS has conserved on energy and utility bills. Designing the symbol (a light bulb with a line through it) that was copied, laminated and now appears above all light switches on campus has been a visual remember to turn out the lights when leaving a room or perhaps consider not turning them on when it is a bright day. Although this has taken some ‘conditioning training” for all, we find ourselves making a concerted effort to do this now, more often than not.
Recycling has been a success as students, faculty, and staff monitor both the use and disposal of paper and plastics each day. Always on the alert for a better system, larger bins now appear in the Center where much activity takes place, clearly marked and emptied on a regular basis. No Garbage Days each month have been designated this year to help us gain a better control over the amount of garbage generated daily on campus, with an eye to reducing this load considerably as the days move on. Simply by guiding the students at lunch to be mindful of where they place the food waste, the plastics and the paper has helped to create greater awareness and now we see students reminding and guiding one another. We have also simply removed any remaining Styrofoam from campus, as it relates to food service either during school days or at events.
The use of the Blue WFS Stainless Steele Water Bottles on the part of students, faculty and families has helped reduce the amount of plastic bottles on campus. This was the result of a generous donation last year at the holidays from a former WFS parent who is now a trustee of the village our school resides in. His personal visit and presentation of the bottles to each member of the student body and faculty, from Nursery through Fifth Grade had a very positive and profound impact on the importance of continued use of the bottles.
An April display on the bulletin board in the Front Hallway by the First Grade demonstrated how our students made paper from recycled paper…that is definitely taking charge of an issue and making lemonade from lemons! The students made the board a true learning experience through samples, specific steps outlined in chronological order as well as sharing photos of the process as they moved through it within the classroom.
Last spring our Third, Fourth and Fifth Grades, tracked, on line, the journey of PLASTIKI, a sailboat made from 12,000 plastic bottles from California to Australia. It's was a 100-day, 10,000-mile science project. The mission was to spread knowledge about pollution and the power in recycling. WFS students collected plastic water bottles and built their own version of the Plastiki in late May, each group agreeing upon a project manager and the design, which was done by students and agreed upon by the all three classes. The WFS PLASTIKI was launched an all school beach day trip in early June with parents present. They then took it apart and the bottles went to the recycling bins at school. An important message and learning experience commanded the attention of the entire school community.