It was bedlam as Ms. Selznick’s 4th Grade science class streamed through the Curley K-8 School’s outdoor classroom, picking up trash and winterizing the garden beds. Then suddenly the call went up, “Bunny!” and everyone fell silent, slowly circling around to catch a glimpse of the animal. It was not the only wildlife to capture the attention of the students. They also learned about snails and garden management, explored the outdoor classroom and picked up litter for their Green Apple Day of Service.
The Curley wasn’t the only school to spread the word that “Where we learn matters!” The U.S. Green Building Council and the Center for Green Schools hosted the Green Apple Day of Service with projects at thousands of schools around the world, including over 15 Boston Public Schools. The official day of service was Saturday, September 28th, 2013, but schools hosted their projects across the latter half of September. Boston Green Academy even stretched their project into a week of service, with advisory meetings, mini-audits, action plans, and more.
New Mission High School, West Roxbury and Boston Latin School hosted an Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) award winning assembly that taught students about climate change and engaged them in taking action through green teams at their school. Two students who completed an Energy Audit internship over the summer, had the opportunity during the New Mission High School assembly to talk to their peers about the energy conservation strategies they learned.
City Year Boston also hosted several service projects this year including painting playground graphics and revitalizing interior and exterior spaces at Ellis Elementary School, Hennigan Elementary School, and Holland Elementary School.
Some other highlights of the Day of Service included outdoor projects such as the construction of compost bins at the Baldwin Early Learning Center, raised garden beds at Boston Latin Academy, a learning garden at the Ellis Elementary School and the Manning Elementary School interactive nature path.
There were also plenty of events that helped transform the school’s operations such as the recycling program kick-off at the Charlestown High School and McKinley South End Academy, installation of energy efficient Xlerator hand dryers at the Mildred Avenue K-8 School, and the creation of an energy conservation video at Boston Latin School (to be posted on this site soon).
The month of service projects culminated in a district-organized event at the Haynes EEC as part of the Circle the City’s Open Streets event. Blue Hill Avenue was closed to cars and buses and the community came out to the streets to celebrate health, wellness, and safe, green and vibrant community. Participants shared their individual green goals on the Green Apple wall (see below) and talked with students from New Mission High School about ways they can make a difference to green their community.
Superintendent, John McDonough announced several new BPS green programs including the publication of the Greening Boston Public Schools report, a district-wide Energy Conservation Campaign that is targeted to save at least 5% of BPS’ energy use through simple behavior change efforts, and the formation of a district-wide Green Team. This Green Team will develop a sustainability vision and goals for the district, helping ensure that BPS continues to innovate and help Boston reach top of the charts as the Greenest City in the Nation.
All of these Green Apple projects helped bring a little attention and love to our schools. With over 1000 volunteers involved, BPS buildings are now healthier, cleaner, greener and safer places to learn.