"Curriculum, Recycling, & Purchasing Drive a Transformation"
Berkwood Hedge School
School Contact Information
Jane Friedman, Administrator firstname.lastname@example.org Berkwood Hedge School, Berkeley Elementary (K-5), Independent Under 500 Students urban
I was a classroom teacher for 30 years, and now serve as Director at Berkwood Hedge.* I Am Available to Mentor Other Green School Honor Roll Members.
The Green School Story
We addressed these 4 Pillars of a Green School
- Strive to be Toxics Free
- Use Resources Sustainably
- Create Green Schoolyards and Serve Healthy Food
- Teach Stewardship & Student Action
We have taken these steps from the 7 Steps to a Green School
- Establish a green team
- Adopt a policy
- Do a school Environmental audit
- Develop an action plan
- Integrate into the curriculum
- Monitor progress
- Involve, inform, and celebrate with the community
Environmental Challenge or Goal Addressed
The Berkwood Hedge community made a commitment to set an example of sustainability and environmental awareness through our curriculum, recycling programs and purchasing decisions. It has been a great learning experience for students and adults throughout the school community.
Our Green School Approach
We know that school greening is an ongoing process. Each year we continue to reduce waste, conserve energy and water, and educate our students about sustainable ways of living. Our efforts include:
-Full Belly Farm to School Partnership
-Recycling all cardboard, mixed paper, cans, bottles, aluminum and plastic
-Using either reusable or compostable plates, cups, tableware and napkins at all school events where food is served
-Planting a native and drought-tolerant landscape
-Purchasing and using non-toxic art and cleaning supplies
-Participating in "Bike to School" days and encouraging our community to use public transportation
-Recycling batteries and markers
Changes and Benefits We've Achieved
We have reduced our landfill trash by half! Students understand the impact of waste, and participate in a "no-waste lunch" program. We have institutionalized no-waste events, where everything is either reusable or compostable.
In 2005, as a result of our ongoing efforts, we became the first school in Alameda County to earn certification as a Green Business!
We've been in this together from the start. Administrators, parents, teachers and students have all taken on leadership roles.
How We Involved Students
Students are involved in lots of different ways, for example:
- Worm composting is part of our science program.
- We did a lunch audit and instituted no-waste lunches.
- Students are stewards of different areas, and are responsible for emptying compost bins, recycling paper, etc.
Our Timeline for Change
We got an early start, and we keep at it. We have been recycling paper, cans and bottles for over 30 years.
We're proud to have become a Certified Green Business in 2005, and have continued to increase our awareness and efforts since then.
Resources We Used
Bay Area Bicycle Coalition
Center for Ecoliteracy
Story of Stuff Project
Alameda County Green Business
Purchasing from Give Something Back and Excellent Packaging (Richmond, CA)
Ecology Center (Berkeley, CA)
Native Plant nurseries in the area
East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD)
Our Inspiration and Motivation
We're mission-driven, and preserving the environment is an important part of our school's Mission.
We're beginning an effort to redesign our small side yard lunch area to enhance the garden and eating space for the children.
Students and families are planning to build a bench using cob construction. The bench will be incorporated into the lunch area design.
In addition, a parent has begun researching the cost-effectiveness of installing solar panels at the school.
Our Advice to Other Schools
Get everyone involved! It has been a huge help to live in a community that offers so many resources for green living, and opportunities for training.
Tools to Share
We loved "The Story of Stuff," by Annie Leonard