Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Vicky Dorvee
Editorial@LHVC.com 

Flagstaff Academy students launch a Green Team Club

 

February 14, 2019

Courtesy Photo

Flagstaff Academy students launch a Green Team Club

Last school year, a pair of fourth-grade students at Flagstaff Academy in Longmont approached elementary science lab teacher Stacy Wolff to discuss the school’s recycling program. Brainstorming on the subject led to creating surveys to see if other students were interested in helping out (which they were) and with that, the students officially started a Green Team school club.

“They were very, very passionate about getting something started,” Wolff said. Twenty-eight students are onboard and ready to take action along with school staff members, Wolff and kindergarten teacher Alison Adams.

Flagstaff’s Green Team is modeled after other similar student-led clubs. While each school does things a little bit differently, the gist of the organization is to have a positive environmental impact within the school and the community.

Since early January, the club of fifth through eighth-grade students has been meeting once a week after regular school hours. The team will be launching their first initiative called the Food Rescue Table.

The team’s Food Rescue Table project is aimed at accomplishing two goals: reducing food waste, resulting in less landfill space, and addressing student food insecurity during the school day. It’s been calculated that as much as 40 percent of food in the US is uneaten and goes to waste, according to the National Resources Defense Council, and environmental advocacy group.

Working with SVVSD’s School Wellness Coordinator Theresa Spires, Flagstaff’s Green Team is able to replicate other successful Food Rescue Tables at other district schools. Students with leftover, unopened, and intact food can put those items into designated bins and coolers in the school cafeteria.

“So, if a student doesn’t have a snack, they can go to a bin and get a snack. This can be anything from whole fruit to chips to cheese sticks or milk,” Wolff said. “It’s accessible for anyone who’s hungry.”

The Green Team has introduced the program to the rest of the school by explaining what roles they play in the project as both contributors and benefactors of the food being rescued. Green Team members will be in the lunchroom to help with any questions early on in the program. Over time the program is expected to become second nature to students.

Based on a volunteer schedule, at the end of each day club members are responsible for counting and weighing what’s left in the bins and coolers and entering the data in a spreadsheet. Comparisons to what was established as the school’s base level of food waste prior to the program will determine how successful the program is on an ongoing basis. District staff members will be checking the temperature of coolers to assure that the food is chilled according to USDA regulations.

Wolff said, “We think students in the club will start to find their passions and then we want to give them opportunities to really make a tangible difference in their community and become leaders.”

Courtesy Photo

Flagstaff science teacher and Green Team supervisor Stacy Wolff with students during the Green Team’s Rescue Table Project on Feb. 11.

To help support the Green Team’s efforts, Flagstaff applied for and won a grant through the non-profit Green Up Our Schools for $1,000 each year, beginning next school year. The grant runs for up to four years.

Partnering with Green Up Our Schools gives Flagstaff Academy a monthly meeting with a sustainability expert for advice and support. The grant is intended to help the school continue to develop at least new two new environmentally-focused programs each school year.

“I’ve asked the kids how they think the club is going and they’ve said, ‘It’s great, but we want more than a half hour to meet,’” Wolff said. So they are considering ways to devote more time to the club’s mission. The group has already indicated that three other projects are on the horizon and there’s talk about visits to recycling centers and to other schools to learn about their environmental projects.

 

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