Tag: Grades of Green
There’s no better way to tackle major environmental problems than by getting students involved in the task. Not only are they capable of solving some pretty major problems, but they’re also the future of this world and our country. By teaching them about sustainable responsibility, and helping them become involved with actively improving the earth organizations like Grades of Green can have a dramatic impact on the earth overall.
LAcarGUY has partnered up with Grades of Green to help with important projects around the Santa Monica and LA areas. Just last week members from Grades of Green came in to visit with the Green Team at LAcarGUY to learn about important sustainable practices in the auto industry.
Grades of Green is actively working to help students make an impact, and here are a couple of stories about just how students are managing to do that. Each of these events happened recently and they were led by students concerned about their environment.
Mulching in Mirabella
Droughts are a serious issue in California and it’s important to preserve moisture whenever possible for that reason specifically. That’s why the Youth Corps project at Mirabella Middle School was such an important one. The student along with help from the 8th grade science classes went around and mulched plants around the school. Not only did the students mulch each of these plants, but they also learned about why mulch is key in preserving plant moisture and improving soil fertility as well.
Doing Away with Idling at Robinson Elementary
Car idling is a major issue for the environment and for public locations like schools. It wastes gasoline and puts pollutants into the air around schools. In order to take control of this problem, and cut down on pollutants that children are breathing in, students between 3rd and 5th grade held a “No Idling Event” for parents encouraging them to turn off their vehicles while waiting. During the event Mark Burton the Manhattan Beach Mayor, and Wayne Powell a City Councilmember from Manhattan Beach joined in to help explain the importance of this project to parents. Not only does the event encourage parents to stop idling entirely, but it also helps define a zone around the school where idling shouldn’t take place to keep air cleaner for students.
Grades of Green is a well-known organization that empowers children to improve school sustainability around the country. Last week was an exciting time for Grades of Green because they put on two different assemblies, one at Franklin Elementary School in Santa Monica on Monday and the other at Adams Middle School in Redondo Beach.
Two Youth Corps students attended each of the assemblies and presented alongside with Allie to help get across the importance of recycling and sustainability in schools.
What Students Learned
While at the assembly students learned the importance of sorting their waste and how big of an impact such as simple task can have on their community. The assembly focused on small changes and what they can do over time for the environment. Sorting bins were put on display and used to show proper sorting techniques to make it easier to implement effective recycling methods at each of the schools. It’s a good first start toward future sustainability and an important message that each of the children needed to hear.
No Idle Zone Event
It’s believed that idling vehicles outside of schools significantly contribute to air pollution and lower the quality of breathing air around schools. To help reduce this issue Grades of Green is teaming up with Robinson Elementary School to try and set up a “No Idle Zone” that will keep idling vehicles farther away from the school. This should help improve the air quality around the school while also encouraging more people to stop idling their vehicles and save on fuel consumption.
The No Idle Zone event is scheduled to take place from 1 to 2 PM in Manhattan Beach on February 3rd. Everyone is encouraged to take part in the event and help further the cause for cleaner air around local schools.
The holidays are a time for showing appreciation for family and getting together with one another. Unfortunately they’re also a time for buying more than usual, mailing more packages than any other time and generating more waste than the rest of the year. While it’s good to show your appreciation for loved ones, the holidays don’t have to be a time of year that hurts the environment. With just a few simple changes you can reduce your impact on the environment and make the holidays into a green time that’s actually beneficial to the environment. Here’s a breakdown of green holiday tips offered by members of Grades of Green
It’s easy to buy gifts for someone, but it shows real thought to put something together yourself and hand-craft gifts for other people instead of heading to the store or ordering something over the Internet. You can put together cookie, cake or brownie batter mixes, create a handmade craft, sew something for a loved one or put whatever hobbies you have to use creating something special for the people on your list. Homemade gifts will save you money and they’ll reduce the amount of packaging and waste produced around the holidays.
You don’t just have to stop with gifts though, you can create your own homemade gift cards as well, or better yet reuse the cards that you received in the past. While it might seem like a cheap idea to someone to reuse a card, it’s an important step to help reduce the number of Christmas cards purchased every year. Each year close to 3 billion Christmas cards are bought from stores, a number large enough to fill up a 10 story football field, that’s a number that could stand to go down. If you don’t want to reuse cards you can rely on e-cards instead to reduce your total paper card use.
Rent a Christmas Tree
Instead of going out to a tree farm and chopping down a living tree to use for a few weeks up until Christmas, consider renting a Christmas tree instead. There are rental programs that allow you to bring home a Christmas tree in a pot of soil and keep it at your home throughout the holiday season. Once the holidays are over you bring the tree back to where it came from and it will continue out its life without having to be chopped down. This service greatly reduces the number of trees that are cut down each year and can help with deforestation issues while ultimately increasing the number of pine trees around the country.
Decorate Your Tree Using Homemade Ornaments
You don’t have to spend much money to decorate your Christmas tree, and you don’t have to generate much waste either. You can create ornaments from recyclables with excellent results, or you can make them from items that you have around your home already. Look around at DIY websites for ornament ideas and you’ll be more excited to put together some custom decorations for the tree than you will to go out and buy them from the store.
Donate to Charity as a Gift
Instead of buying or making gifts for the loved ones in your life, you can also donate to a charity of your choice, such as Grades of Green, in the name of one of your friends or family members. This is a gift that will make them feel good, and it’s something that will have a positive impact on the world.
Set a New Years Resolution to Go Eco-Friendly
While making changes between November and December is an excellent way to reduce your impact on the Earth, you can improve even more by making a New Year’s resolution to live a greener life in 2016. Whether you decide to bike to school or work, to pack your lunch in reusable containers throughout the year, or to stop buying bottled water and store water in reusable water bottles instead, all of these actions would really make a difference. Take the new year as an opportunity to start fresh and help you begin living a greener lifestyle.
This year Gerard, an 8th grader taking part in the Grades of Green Youth Corps Eco-Leadership program managed to cut lunchtime waste in his entire school by an average of 70%. While he had a bit of help along the way, it was all because of his careful planning and hard work that his school cut their trash creation so much, and that’s a trend that his school is going to continue on making a real difference in trash reduction over time.
Teaching How it’s Done
Most of us are used to packing a lunch that contains things like pre-packaged food and plastic sandwich bags and other wrappers. While that’s pretty standard, it’s actually quite wasteful. That’s why it’s so challenging to figure out how to begin bringing lunches that are trash free. Gerard set up a booth in school where he showed off reusable lunch pouches and also displayed the process of how to create them. With a simple demonstration he was able to give children the information they needed to start ditching trash nearly entirely at lunch time.
How He got Them Committed
Getting a school full of children committed to anything, especially something like recycling is always a bit of a challenge. Gerard came up with some excellent ideas to help encourage his student body to get involved with waste free lunches. Gerard opened a school store with fun prizes available to kids participating in important green actions like sorting their lunch after eating, or bringing in a trash free lunch. All the prizes were donated by local Long Beach municipalities and Grades of Green partners to help keep kids motivated.
All of Gerard’s efforts led to an average waste reduction of over 70%! That’s a huge figure that most people wouldn’t dream of being able to achieve. Through some smart planning and a lot of hard work one 8th grader was able to accomplish all this, and that’s why he’s a standout member of the Grades of Green Youth Corps Eco-Leadership Program.
Write Your Own Story
Gerard’s story is an impressive one, but you write one just as good for yourself! Apply for this year’s Youth Corps program here, or take the time to register your school here to begin Trash Free Tuesdays at your school and really start making a difference.
A total of 24 different schools went up against one another in the 2015 Grades of Green Trash Free Lunch Challenge. Each school around the country was battling to see who could divert the most trash from their lunchrooms and who could make the biggest environmental change overall. Out of all the schools Oak Street Elementary School in Inglewood California managed to come out on top.
The Spoils of Victory
For coming out on top of the competition the children at Oaks elementary received a $1,000 prize and also got a chance to meet former Lakers player Steve Nash! He came out to their school to meet them all and spend the day there letting the children feel what it’s really like to work hard and come in first place.
Giving the Students the Tools for Success
At the beginning of the Contest Grades of Green provided the school with an educational assembly explaining sustainability and the goal of the competition. They also provided an eco-starter kit a personalized waste reduction plan and finally one-on-one mentoring to make sure that the students understood what they were doing.
Each of the children in the school was encouraged to bring in reusable lunch containers and slowly even the youngest among the school were taught how to recycle and properly take care of all their lunchtime waste.
The school won because it adopted the program so completely, and because it was taking other initiatives to improve the environment outside of lunch time. Second Grade teacher Claire Darsa is taking an opportunity to travel out to the edge of the Arctic in Northern Canada to study climate change and plans to bring back her discoveries and improved knowledge to the children of Oaks.
The most important part of the trash challenge isn’t teaching children about sustainability or the importance of saving the environment, it’s about teaching children the power that they have to make changes. Empowering all the children of the future generation is what Grades of Green is really offering and it will make some exciting changes possible in the future.
Grades of Green Youth Corps members have begun working on their environmental projects for the year, and one project that really stands out was put together by Rylee, a 4th grader from Redondo Beach. She put together a full-on green fair with games and everything and managed to spread some environmental awareness at the same time. Not only is this an impressive feat for anyone, but it’s downright amazing for a girl of such a young age.
One 4th Grader Creates a Green Fair
While most fourth graders are worrying about getting their homework done on time, Rylee, a 4th grader from Madison Elementary in Redondo Beach Ca. was planning an entire Green themed carnival. This Grades of Green Youth Corps student helped put on her third annual Green Festival with fun eco games, recycled goods crafts and a host of informational booths and even a few snack foods.
There were booths set up for many of the local environmental organizations such as Grades of Green, Health the Bay, the Roundhouse Aquarium and the UCLA Astronomy club. The crafts at the fair included mugs, reusable bags, bird feeders and upcycled vases. By building on the recycling theme, Rylee (with a bit of outside help I’m sure) was able to create a variety of fun games like tin can bean bag toss, recycled ski ball and water bottle bowling and there were even prizes for the kids. The fair is an excellent of how the enthusiasm of a single child can unite a community and create impressive, fun and impactful activities.
Grades of Green is an environmental organization that helps get children across the country involved in creating personal projects that are aimed at sustainability or improving the environment. The projects should help inform children and adults while making some sort of green improvement. Every year new projects are tackled and with them countless people are educated.
If you would like to learn more about Grades of Green and what they have going on, or you’d like to make a contribution you can do so by visiting GradesofGreen.org. While on the website you can also sign up your school to participate and become an active member of the Grades of Green organization if you want to help out.
Each year Subaru Pacific holds their Share the Love Event, where with each new vehicle purchase or lease $250 is donated to a charity of the buyer’s choosing from among the given options. This year the program managed to generate over $49,000 and more than half of that went to Heal the Bay and Grades of Green.
Grades of Green
Grades of Green is a non-profit organization that focuses on educating school-aged children about the importance of recycling. It empowers students who want to take action to help alleviate waste issues at their schools around the country. Over $15,000 was generated for the program, providing enough funding to educate around 5,000 new students. Each year LAcarGUY sponsors the Trash Free Lunch Challenge to help encourage students to come up with solutions for creating more environmentally friendly lunch setups in their schools, and Grades of Green will use their funding to run other programs as well throughout the year.
Heal the Bay
Heal the Bay is an environmental organization that focuses on improving coastal conditions throughout the Southern California area. The Share the Love Event generated more than $12,000 for that organization and the money will go toward more cleanup efforts as well as helping to educate people about the importance of taking care of their beaches. LAcarGUY had the privilege of being a part of the 2014 Coastal Cleanup day that Heal the Bay runs each year, and they helped the organization reach an astonishing 44,880 lbs. of removed debris altogether.
With fundraisers like Share the Love these two worthy organizations have more resources to work without throughout the year and can make a bigger difference in their communities and around the country.
The Grades of Green Student Leadership Program is Open for the 2014-2015 Year: Submit Your Application Today
Grades of Green is excited to announce that they’re now accepting applications for their 2014–2015 Student Leadership program. Students between 2nd and 12th grade are encouraged to apply if they think they have what it takes to take control and help the environment in a big way. Grades of Green is a well-known non-profit organization dedicated to improving the environment while educating children in the process. The application period for these important volunteer positions will be open until September 15th.
About Grades of Green
Grades of Green is an organization dedicated to cultivating student interest in helping improve the environment. What started as a simple parent-run volunteer program has morphed into a massive non-profit organization that works with more than 250 different schools in 37 different states to improve the environment. As the group grows more children become educated about the importance of preserving and improving the environment.
The Student Leadership Program
The student leadership program is a chance for students in grades 2 through 12 to get involved with the Grades of Green organization in a hands-on manner. Each of the students who is accepted as a leader is charged with putting together a green project and implementing that project in their own school. The leaders get hands on training from the Grades of Green staff members along with ongoing encouragement and helpful ideas.
Benefits to Your School
Many Grades of Green inspired programs end up benefitting the schools just as much as the environment. While your school learns to cut down their use of harmful substances such as Styrofoam and plastic they also learn to save money through more cost-effective systems. Most schools end up saving a substantial amount of money and once they see how helpful saving the environment is to their budget they won’t want to stop.
Improve Your Resume
High school students can improve their resume noticeably by being accepted as a Grades of Green Leader. Not only will they be helping out the environment, but they will be leading a team to accomplish their goals. This is the type of work that shows true leadership, innovation and good values, all characteristics that colleges and employers value.
If you decide that the Grades of Green Student Leadership program sounds like a good fit for you, or you know a student who might like the opportunity to do good, visit this link for the application. After filling out the full application form and attaching the necessary documents just sit tight and wait for a response from the organization.
Created by environmental education non-profit Grades of Green and sponsored by the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County, as well as Santa Monica-based LAcarGUY, the third annual Trash-Free Lunch Challenge, an L.A. County contest that rewards schools for reducing lunchtime trash, has doubled in scope since its inception two years ago.
“LAcarGUY is thrilled to sponsor Grades of Green and the Trash-Free Lunch Challenge. There’s no better way to teach eco-friendly habits to the next generation,” said Mike Sullivan, founder and President of LAcarGUY.
The Trash-Free Lunch Challenge has diverted as many as 40,000 bags of trash from area landfills and saved schools thousands of dollars over two years. “With 24 schools in this year’s program, we expect to see nearly 30,000 more bags of trash diverted from the new schools alone,” said Lisa Coppedge, Grades of Green’s Director of Programs. “But what’s more important is that an additional 17,500 students will learn how to reduce, reuse, recycle and compost–new habits that will protect the environment in the years to come.”
The competition gets underway October 2, when representatives from each school will attend a training session and tour of the Sanitation Districts’ Puente Hills Landfill and Materials Recovery Facility.
Once the competing schools implement their Trash-Free Lunch programs, Grades of Green selects three finalists through an application process. A panel of environmental experts and other judges will evaluate the implementation and success of the three finalists’ programs. The winning school will receive a Grand Prize of a $1,000 education grant. The second- and third-place schools will receive $750 and $500, respectively.
Though the deadline has passed to compete in this year’s Trash-Free Lunch Challenge, any school may still initiate a Trash-Free Lunch program. Complete instructions are available at no cost to schools at www.gradesofgreen.org/initiatives/trash-redux/trash-free-tuesdays.
LAcarGUY’s group of South Bay dealerships have partnered with Grades of Green to kick off the 2013 Trash Free Lunch Challenge. Grades of Green is challenging schools to reduced lunchtime waste by encouraging students to pack trash-free lunches and to sort waste into recycle, compost and landfill bins. The 4R System that Grades of Green introduced helped divert over 10,000 bags of trash and saved participating schools thousands of dollars in 2011-2012.
The project teaches students the 4Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot (compost)
- By bringing TRASH FREE each day, the students will make a difference at school by REDUCING lunch time landfill waste. They will know the number of landfill bags produced at lunch before the Challenge and by being TRASH FREE during the Challenge, they will see that number decrease.
- By bringing REUSABLE lunch boxes, water bottles, sandwich and snack containers each day they will reduce lunch time waste.
- The school will implement a sorting system during lunch which will include bins for: RECYCLING, ROT (compost), liquids and stacked trays. Educational games will teach students about WHAT items go into each bin and WHY.
- Each bin in the sorting system will be clearly labeled to support students in the proper sorting process. These signs will educate and reinforce the concepts of REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE and ROT.
The Grades of Green team has been visiting participating schools and holding assemblies to educate students and get them excited about the project. Applications to participate in the project are due March 15th and finalist chosen among those schools with the least amount of trash will be announced March 22nd. Judges will visit the finalists on April 16th and the winning school will be announced on April 22nd at the awards ceremony.
Participating schools include:
- Vista Mar High School
- Washington Elementary
- Riviera Elementary
- Lunada Bay Elementary
And supporting LAcarGUY dealerships are Pacific VW, Audi Pacific, Subaru Pacific and Pacific Porsche.