Green local schools play a big role in molding our children to a brighter future. These schools have certain programs that promote green living, and this has a positive impact on how we care for our planet. Here we will feature one green local school in Connecticut that won the distinguished U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Award.
Green Local Schools: Connecticut
This is the southernmost state in the New England region of the US. It is also the 4th most densely populated state. Connecticut is one of the states that have the highest per-capita income. It is home to the nation’s first law school and the third-oldest secondary school.
Green local schools adopt basic guidelines from a resource called “Smart by Nature: Schooling for Sustainability”. Students are encouraged to learn from nature and adopt green living to sustain community and environmental health. Such guidelines provide a descriptive approach, so each school sets its own goals to become a green school.
Let’s look at one green local school in this state:
Moriarty Environmental Sciences Magnet School
This school is a K-5 intra-district magnet public school in Norwich, a small city in eastern Connecticut. It serves a diverse group of 418 students. The student body is comprised of over thirteen different cultures and over seven different languages.
About 64% are minority students, 17% are English language learners or non-English primary language at home. The school population is 71% eligible for free and reduced lunch.
Why is this school green?
The school helps children become aware of green living in many ways. Students study the birds in their schoolyard and determine what they need to survive, what times they are there and how the schoolyard can be a great habitat for them. Students spend time in the garden to learn about plants, nutrition and the benefits of eating organic food.
This is also one of the green local schools that encourage students to learn about climate change. Students design and build their own weather instruments to know more about the climate. They calculate both their own and the school’s carbon footprint and help look for solutions to lessen the footprint.
The school also promotes a healthy environment. There are “no idling” signs posted on the outside of the building for buses and parent drop off/pick up. The school buses also have the emissions-reducing equipment. Instead of pesticides, the school uses compost material for fertilizer in gardens and outdoor learning spaces.
Healthy eating is also important here. Aside from nutrition lessons, students are given healthy food at the cafeteria. They also help prepare the garden, plant, maintain and harvest fruits and vegetables. Food in the garden is used for class recipes and school lunches.
This school is also one of the green local schools that have an extensive physical activity program. Apart from PE classes, students and staff engage in movement breaks, yoga, meditation, and brain breaks. Each student has 45 minutes of PE weekly and spends about 30% of their day outdoors for gym, recess and the outdoor classes.
Moriarty is also committed to saving energy. Heating systems were changed from oil-burning to cleaner natural gas-burning ones. The school also installed energy efficient lights, and its boilers and furnace are serviced every year.
In terms of waste management, the school uses recycled paper and green cleaning products. About 35% of solid waste is diverted from trash and is either recycled or put in composting areas.
Students also help identify waste problems and create ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. For example, third graders found that many students were dumping plastic cereal containers in the trash. And students were not sure what to do with leftover cereal or milk.
The third graders then placed strainers for classroom sinks. These are to catch extra cereal as they pour the used milk and cereal through it. Dish bins were put to dispose of plastic cereal bowls so they can be recycled.
Address: 20 Lawler Lane, Norwich, CT 06360