Green Local Schools don’t just teach kids to plant trees. The programs that make a school green involve integral tactics that promote healthy living and caring for Mother Earth. In this post, we will feature prominent schools in Illinois that received the distinguished U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Award.
Green Local Schools in Illinois
Illinois is the 5th most populous state. In terms of land area, it’s the 25th largest state. Children from 7 to 17 years are compelled to go to school, and most schools are often divided into three tiers of learning programs. While there’s no manual on how to become an eco-friendly school, there are two green local schools that have made extensive efforts in teaching children about taking care of the planet.
Let’s look at these 2 schools in detail.
Maercker Intermediate School
The school’s green slogan is “Staying healthy to keep our Earth happy”. It serves 480 multi-lingual students in the Westmont community. Maercker promotes green learning through various groups like the Gardening Club and STEM Club. Its STEM programs allow students to develop eco-literacy.
Why is this school green?
Maercker was the first school in the state to win the new DuPage County Water Quality Flag. Apart from this, they strive to conserve water by installing low-flow toilets with auto sensors. The Eco Club helps retain water in the campus soil by planting native plants with extensive roots. Catch basins are also installed around the campus to collect rain water.
As part of their plan to reduce energy costs, the school uses T-8 fluorescent lighting with motion sensors throughout the facility. The school also received the 2016 Illinois Solar Schools Grant that enabled them to install 4 solar panels. This saved a lot in terms of power costs.
Like other green local schools, Maercker has an extensive waste management program. Each classroom has a bin to recycle paper and plastic. The Eco Club monitors the recycling of paper and plastic wastes, and segregates food wastes in composts every day.
Maercker has a unique STEM program. It engages students to solve real world problems and use recycled objects to create prototypes of things like bridges, roller coasters, and airplanes.
Address: 5827 S. Cass Ave., Westmont, IL 60559
Chiaravalle Montessori School
Chiaravalle is an independent school for children ages 6 months through the 8th grade. This is one of the green local schools that place tremendous emphasis on caring for the natural world. Students learn the related science and moral duty of sustainable living and adopt a healthy and easy-to-practice lifestyle.
Why is this school green?
As early as the Toddler stage, the kids are already taught to tend gardens and recycle wastes. The children help restore endangered prairie lands and manage school-wide worm composting. The older students take many week-long outdoor learning trips and grow hydroponic basil for a local restaurant. Waste-free lunches, non-toxic cleaning products and organic food are part of their green living programs.
The school also takes part in saving energy. About 79.4% of its core learning spaces and 76.2% of all commonly occupied spaces are daylit. The school also has a photo-voltaic array that generates more than 7% of power in its North Wing.
Students enjoy being in an active school where they can move freely throughout the day. They’re free to use the entire building as their learning space, instead of being seated at a desk for many hours. Students also engage in many types of sports, yoga, dance and meditation. Active transportation is strongly encouraged among the students and staff.
Address: 425 Dempster St., Evanston, IL