Manchester Essex's Green Team In Action

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The Manchester Essex Regional Middle High School building was constructed with recycled materials and energy-efficient design principles. It is home to a 650-gallon rainwater collection tank and over 100 donated plants and trees. The school reduced its waste 90 percent reduction through the installation of a state-of-the-art Lucidomatic waste-sorting system and the implementation of a printing limits program through PaperCut software. Manchester Essex reduced its heating per square foot by nearly 58 percent over three years, and meets five percent of its energy needs through on-site solar panels. Its edible schoolyard is an educational tool that offers students and parents the opportunity to work with the garden during the summer to raise awareness about local food and organic gardening. Teacher Eric Magers describes the development of the school's highly acclaimed Green Team, which was re-inspired by the construction of the new school building.

0011c962e416936660f8b9cfeab9a00f-huge-20One Friday afternoon in 2009, 15 students sat in Señor Magers’ erstwhile classroom and discussed the re-invention of the environmental club at Manchester Essex High School. With the birth of a brand-new school building, and in support of the environmental architecture and sustainable features the new building would encompass, it seemed the appropriate time to also re-birth the “Manchester Essex Green Team.” Because it was the end of the 2009 school year, the first projects had to be completed over the summer, so Señor (Eric) Magers and Jeff Carovillano got the ball rolling. They ordered compost and recycling bins, constructed the Lucidomatic (an original waste system designed by students), designed signage and developed the program. By the time the long-anticipated, first day of school arrived, the projects from over the summer were ready to be tested by students. After a couple of teaching seminars on the new technology, single-stream recycling and composting, the students were well-versed and the new projects were officially up-and-running. Despite a few predictable hiccups, there was overwhelming success and the Green Team was re-born.

29e1556e21f56534ba0d513ef3d35155-huge-20In its early days, the Green Team expanded its basic recycling and composting program to include TerraCycle collections and established an organic garden, the produce of which is used in the school cafeteria. The Green Team, consisting of about 115 members (to date), provides ongoing support for these projects, relying solely on the minds and collaborative efforts of its students. Since those first months, the Green Team has evolved immensely. In 2010, Eric unveiled the Green Scholars and Interns programs, which now train the entire Green Team, and which allows for students looking for different levels of intensity to all be a part of Manchester Essex High Schools’s environmental program. 

The Green Intern program is a college-prep class, which focuses on skill-building and on such values as expanding environmental justice and increasing passion for sustainable living practices. This course provides interns with the opportunity to collaborate with community members, staff, Green Team Directors, Green Scholars and each other on researching, identifying, developing and instituting reasonable, logical, environmentally sustainable and cost-effective green initiatives district-wide. Green Interns take on many important jobs that benefit the Green Scholars program, such as caring for the plants and trees placed throughout the school, collecting TerraCycle items, cleaning out compost bins once a week, and cleaning and organizing the Green Team room. Green Interns also help Scholars with the day-to-day tasks that their projects bring. With the help of the Interns, the Green Team program continues to thrive.

c0e45a5801e3b038bcb5cea834057a04-huge-20The Green Scholars program is an honors-level class, which combines a unique range of hands-on, dynamic, educational challenges that include project management, experimental education service learning, 21st century skill-building, and environmental literacy. At the beginning of the year, Green Scholars choose a project that benefits the environment and increases awareness of sustainability in the community. Scholars may choose to work independently, or they can partner with companies that promote green practices. NSSP (North Shore Sustainability Partnership), Alliance for Climate Education (ACE), Seaside Sustainability, Black Earth Compost, and Green Schools are a few companies that have worked with students to increase green participation in various communities. Students spend a year working with community partners to complete their projects, although many projects continue longer than just one year.

Among its many important accomplishments, the Green Team succeeded in passing a town ban on plastic bags, and is now widely known for its outstanding achievements. The Green Team has been recognized with awards such as the Green Ribbon Award, presented by the Federal Department of Education; the 2013 Formal Environmental Educator Award; honorable mention from the Environmental Protection Agency; Outstanding Green Program Award, given to the Manchester Essex Green Team Interns; Outstanding Leadership of 5 Years Award, given to the Green Scholars; and many more individual awards. In 2012, the Green Team officially became part of Manchester Essex High School's science department, and it is now considered an honors level science class. With the help of many Green Team Members, the success and influence of the program continues to grow.
  
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Posted by Sharon Jaye on Aug 20, 2017 7:04 PM America/Chicago

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