For many k-12 school systems, the international holiday known as Earth Day — always held April 22nd — represents a time to reassess go green progress made in terms of sustainability.
For others, Earth Day presents the opportunity to start a new program promoting environmental friendliness.
It’s important that our nation’s schools act as leaders in the movement toward a greener future. Not only do responsible environmental practices set a good example for our children, but going green can also protect students’ health, improve learning conditions, help attract new students to k-12 schools and save schools money.
“Safeguarding the health of America's 58 million schoolchildren must be central to a high-quality education,” writes national nonprofit Green Schools Initiative.
The organization points to research indicating green schools cost an average $3 per square foot to build, but generate an average $74/square foot in benefits including energy savings, increased attendance and teacher retention.
If you’re a k-12 school district looking for ways to go green, here are a few of the many possibilities:
- Participate in Nationwide Events All Year. Your school family could choose to participate locally in any number of earth-friendly events that enjoy national or international support. A few examples this spring include Arbor Day, World Fair Trade Day, World Migratory Bird Day, World Oceans Day or National Trails Day.
- Go Paperless. With today’s digital technology, there’s no need to waste copious amounts of paper communicating with parents and students. Instead, implement a school notification system like SwiftK12 can efficiently and effectively broadcast such important information with a few taps of your keyboard.
- Demonstrate Solar Cooking. Go green by showing students how to cook something simple via ovens they construct of cardboard, aluminum foil, rocks and sticks.
- Visit a Site of Interest. Field trips to landfills, alternative energy plants, recycling centers, sustainable fisheries, farms, etc., can be real eye-openers for students.
- Start a Composting Program. Teach students how composting works, encouraging them to bring ingredients from home and assigning them maintenance tasks.
- Attract and Help Birds. Explain to students what birds mean to our ecosystem, then build and install birdhouses and bird feeders that can help sustain them in your area.
Taking steps to go green can often be a win-win for everyone in your school family. Think about how you might add better sustainability to both your school curricula and your school operations.