Empire Elementary School’s Green Biz Kids are on mission to save the planet, starting in their own school with posters of encouragement.
The Mustangs on Friday decorated their school halls with their own artwork showing their environmental friendliness. They took a few minutes to think about where to place their new posters strategically to best show their messages of energy and water conservation and waste consumption.
“I personally like it because we’re saving the environment — turning off lights, turning off faucets,” said Parker Brown, 11, a fifth grader.
Envirolution, a Carson City-based nonprofit that encourages schools to participate in science, technology, engineering, art and math activities, helped students design posters last year during its Project ReCharge program.
Empire’s fourth and fifth grade classes formed the Green Biz Kids club to stir interest in eco-friendly practices and cut down on water waste, provide commuting options, give tips on turning lights off when not in use and other efforts. The posters are just one of the initiatives for certification as a Nevada green business through the Nevada Green Business Network, a coalition of organizations coordinating with small to medium-sized businesses and providing them with help on similar conservation practices applied in schools.
“They’re going to be the first one in the state,” Envirolution Executive Director Vanessa Robertson said.
One requirement is for the school to post educational signs, created by the students through the assistance of Canva, Robertson said. Then, with the help of the NV Energy Foundation, the students’ posters were printed, laminated and presented Friday.
Robertson led Friday’s program at Empire, where she said additional initiatives must be completed before the actual certification is done in May. Empire’s students will carry out other initiatives based primarily on data collection, Robertson said, in simple assignments. They will fill out a transportation survey and ask their classmates how many walk to school, carpool with each other, take the bus or use alternate means of travel.
They will also incorporate a food share table to reduce composting. Robertson said it’s to demonstrate how the student body provides their data to receive their certification.
“Normally this type of certification is done by business owners and consenting adults, but this is the first time where students are doing,” she said. “We want this to be a case study.”
Computer science teacher and STEM coordinator Adrienne Wiggins said she had two of her students go before the school board to describe their efforts and to help encourage responsible practices beyond their own campus.
“If there’s a school not using Project ReCharge, I’m going to ask them why,” she said. “They refill the materials for you, which is such a struggle for teachers. They provide the PBL (problem-based lessons), they write proposals that eventually get funded so the kids get to see action happening on things they’re hoping to make that change.
“They’re seeing they’re being leaders and they’re making a difference and how proud we are of that.”
Asked if they’ll be encouraged to return to the board to report on their results, she responded with a chuckle, “Actually, I told them they have to. You have to go back and tell them what you’ve done and to get that recognition. I think it just helps them to see their hard work pay off.”
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