For Immediate Release - June 18, 2015

Schools, Classes From Across the Commonwealth Receive 'Green Team' Awards for 2014-15 School Year

Environmental Stewardship Educational Activities Recognized

BOSTON - Students from 64 schools across Massachusetts have received special recognition for their outstanding environmental actions as members of the "Green Team," a statewide environmental education program promoted by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).

Students of any age can participate in the Green Team program, an initiative comprised of students who share the goals of reducing pollution and protecting the environment. Nearly 60,000 students in more than 290 classes at 257 schools joined the Green Team this school year.

"I congratulate all of the students and teachers who took the initiative to raise environmental awareness through Green Team activities," said EEA Secretary Matthew Beaton. "Through the Green Team Program, EEA hopes to instill in students knowledge of environmental issues and a desire to protect our natural world." 

Green Team students took part in a range of activities, including: 

  • expanding school recycling programs,
  • starting a compost pile using organic waste from the school cafeteria, and using the compost it generates to nourish a garden to grow vegetables,
  • making their school driveways "Idle-Free Zones,"
  • increasing energy efficiency in their schools and communities, and
  • reducing their carbon footprint at school and at home.

These activities incorporated classroom disciplines from the fields of science, engineering and mathematics to reading, writing and art, as well as other non-classroom, inter-related projects. 

Participating classes were entered into a drawing for prizes, and 64 classes received prizes for their efforts (full listing attached). Nineteen schools won grand prizes, and will receive school-wide performances by environmental educators Jack Golden, Peter O'Malley and Earthtunes, or gift cards to local garden centers for trees or garden supplies.

"It's important to recognize and support these students who bring an incredible amount of energy and drive to the learning process," said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. "Equally important, however, we need to thank the teachers, who channel that energy into environmental and innovative creativity in a way that helps these students move forward."       

Participating teachers also received a Green Team Kit containing classroom posters, lesson plans, recycling tips and access to a library of other resources. In addition, 67 schools received recycling equipment from the Green Team to initiate or expand school recycling programs. Thirteen schools received signs reading "Idle-Free Zone" from the Green Team that serve as a visual reminder to drivers to turn off their engines while waiting in the schoolyard.

Hingham High School was recognized with a national Green Ribbon Schools award from the U.S. Dept. of Education for their outstanding environmental achievements. All 1,200 students participate in their school recycling and cafeteria composting program, and organized a school-wide "Teach In" on environmental initiatives. 

"By any measure, environmental consciousness has been raised to new heights at Hingham High School, as evidenced by the Green Ribbon nomination," wrote Assistant Principal Richard Swanson. "We can also document a significant reduction in waste, which led this year to the removal of one trash dumpster and its replacement with a single-stream recycling container." A video about their school's "Slash the Trash" competition was recently featured on the environmental website "E-Awakenings," at www.e-awakening.com.

Students at Dr. Paul Nettle Middle School in Haverhill were busy educating their classmates by giving presentations in 25 classrooms in grades 5-8. Teacher Ted Becker has shepherded the Green Team at Nettle for eight years, and this year saw a 50 percent increase in students signing the Green Team pledge.

"One of our science units this year is Climate Change, so the Climate Change Scorecard fit perfectly with science," noted teacher Becky Acheson of Gates Elementary School in Acton.

First- and second-graders at Swift River Elementary School in Belchertown created recycling signs and posters to educate their classmates. "The students take pride in knowing that we as a class are making a difference in preserving our planet," reported teacher Cindy Fournier. "They take pride in displaying their posters and telling about our garden."

Bellingham Memorial Middle School's Green Team, Community Service Club and Student Council Club held a school-wide drive to collect coats, hats and mittens for the needy. They also have a no-idling zone in front of the school that is strictly enforced. "We have had much success with our coat drive and our recycling program," reported teacher Linda Cartier."It has also been very rewarding working with other clubs to bring the students all together as one!"

At Berlin Memorial School, the school-wide recycling program is run by the fourth-graders, and the students also helped protect the rain forest and made their school an Idle-Free Zone. "Environmental education projects are an important part of the curriculum at Berlin Memorial, noted teacher Ann Rossow.  "We will continue to do our part to encourage everyone to be environmentally responsible."

Under the leadership of teacher Ryan Yurchick, students at Briscoe Middle School in Beverly made signs and posters, created a school garden, set up a compost bin and improved the school recycling program. By recycling containers and pouring off liquids, they reduced their waste from 12 bags to one or two bags per day. "Students are benefiting from all of this by becoming more interested in environmental stewardship and learning of ways they can improve the world around them," stated Mr. Yurchick. "Some students are also taking on great roles of leadership and holding their peers accountable for their actions."

The Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers in Boston participated in the Boston Public School Recycling Program to recycle paper trays and milk cartons, recycling more every year.  Students collected reusable jeans to donate to a shelter in Boston and recycled soda cans and bottles to fund-raise for the school.  "I believe that the whole school benefited from our recycling program," noted long-time Green Team member Angela Cappucci. "It is getting bigger and better with time."

Students at Bridgewater-Raynham High School conducted a wide range of activities, including wetlands research, recycling, composting, gardening, collected clothing and materials for needy children and held a Green Awareness Day. "Students learn quite a bit about environmental careers, action and health from the Green Awareness Day speakers," reported teacher Jessica Lazarus. "Typically, students leave worried about the state of the environment and express the hope of looking to make a difference in their own communities."

At Patrick E. Bowe School in Chicopee, students conducted the Slash Trash report, planted a garden and maintained a compost bin. "The students made a tremendous connection to the outdoors as well as to healthy eating," reported teacher Harry Brandt.

At Boston Latin Academy, "the kids were astounded by how much trash they personally created every day, and worked on sorting through recycling to make sure they recycled more, properly," noted teacher Kara Stafford.  Students also conducted several energy conservation activities. "They were great jumping off points that reinforced the concepts from the year, and the kids liked being active - physically doing something - in order to gather data," Ms. Stafford said.

The Brookside Elementary School in Dracut, under the leadership of teacher Denise Porcello, has participated in The Green Team program since its inception in 2003! This year, students did the Climate Change Scorecard, Slash Trash Report, Idling Reduction Pledge and set up a compost bin. "The class is always amazed at how much trash can be saved from landfills with just a few simple steps," reported Ms. Porcello.

Students at Sizer School in Fitchburg, under the leadership of teacher Anna Cynar, organized a school-wide lunch waste audit for a week. With that data, they presented to the school and to the United Way's Youth Venture program, a three-part plan to reduce their waste. The students' plan was approved and they are moving towards implementation. Ms. Cynar noted, "The students have already learned a lot about how composting works, creating budgets and project timelines, creating persuasive presentations, leadership and organization skills."

Hopedale Memorial School is another long-time Green Team member school, having participated since 2003 under the leadership of teacher Jane LeClaire. Students set up a school recycling program and promoted it by creating signs and posters. "The students are more responsible," noted Ms. LeClaire. "The Green Team is awesome."

Statewide, nearly 5,000 students pledged to reduce, reuse, recycle; walk, bike, carpool or take public transportation; and conserve energy and water to help protect the environment. Many of the students encouraged their parents to take an idling-reduction pledge and turn off car engines while parked or waiting. Other students tracked the trash generated in their home for one month, subtracting the amount of trash their family eliminated via recycling.  In addition, activities included improving school recycling or composting programs, conserving energy at school, visiting recycling facilities, meeting with municipal officials, planting school gardens, seeking alternatives to Styrofoam lunch trays, building water-powered fuel cell kit cars, and creating signs, posters, videos and web pages to raise environmental awareness in their school community.

All participating classes received Certificates of Recognition, "Trash Terminator" bookmarks or grand prizes such as a show by Jack Golden, entitled "Garbage is My Bag"; a recycling and conservation show by Peter O'Malley; an environmental concert by Earthtunes, or gift cards to a nearby garden center for plants or school gardening supplies. 

Other Green Team prizes included Green Team wrist bands, biodegradable corn resin and recycled tire key rings, information wheels,"Compost Matters" activity books, and pencils made from recycled denim or currency.

To learn more or to participate in The Green Team program next school year, teachers may sign up online at: www.thegreenteam.org. A synopsis of Green Team Prize winners is listed below, and a more detailed list can be found in the attached document here: GT-2015 pdf format of green-team-list-2015.pdf

2014-2015 Green Team Grand Prize Winners

   
School Name Community Teacher
Dallin Elementary School Arlington Charlotte Milan & Eileen Coleman
Bellingham Memorial Middle School Bellingham Linda Cartier
Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School Bridgewater Jessica Lazarus
Patrick E. Bowe School Chicopee Harry Brandt
Selser Memorial School Chicopee Kristin Pisano
Sizer School Fitchburg Anna Cynar
Hemenway Elementary School Framingham Jan Kearns
Hingham High School Hingham Richard Swanson
Lillian Jacobs School Hull Nicole Palermo Cristaldi
Mullein Hill Christian Academy Lakeville Sharon Cumiskey
Bartlett Community Partnership School Lowell JoAnne Downing
Fowler School Maynard Deb Roussell
Greater New Bedford Vocational Tech. H.S. New Bedford Christopher Pires /Lawrence Carlesi
L. G. Nourse Elementary School Norton Nancy Grant
South Shore Natural Science Center Preschool Norwell Diane Thureson
Captain Samuel Brown School Peabody Diane Bugler
Thomas Prince School Princeton Corey Burnham-Howard
Lynch Elementary School Winchester Fritzie Nace
Quinsigamond School Worcester Stephanie Syre-Hager
     
2014-2015 Green Team Prize Winners    
School Name Community Teacher
Paul P. Gates, M.D. Elementary School Acton Becky Acheson
Stetson School Barre Kevin Snyder
Lt. Job Lane Elementary School Bedford Jean Mickle
Swift River Elementary School Belchertown Cindy Fournier
Berlin Memorial School Berlin Ann Rossow
Hannah Elementary School Beverly Tanya O'Malley
Briscoe Middle School Beverly Ryan Yurchick
Landmark School Beverly/Prides Crossing Jennifer Kuhns
Marshall Middle School Billerica Dawn Press
Edward M. Kennedy Academy For Health Careers Boston Angela Cappucci
Charlestown High School Charlestown Tom Hayes
St. Mary Of The Annunciation School Danvers Stacy Drector
Boston Latin Academy Dorchester Kara Stafford
Brookside Elementary School Dracut Denise Porcello
Hanover High School Hanover Susan Egan
Harwich Elementary School Harwich Anne D'Urso
Dr. Paul Nettle Middle School Haverhill Ted Becker
Hopedale Memorial School Hopedale Jane LeClaire
Hull High School Hull Sheila Blair
Silver Lake Regional Middle School Kingston Tina Moniz
Alexander B. Bruce School Lawrence Joshua Segaloff
Leicester High School Leicester Joanne Petterson-Bernier
Lenox Memorial Middle And High School Lenox Nina Marks
James S. Daley Middle School Lowell Michael Bourque
Manchester Essex Regional School Manchester Eric Magers
H.R. Donaghue School Merrimac Susan Simmonds-Jennings
The Evergreen Center Milford Fatima Diaz
Northampton High School Northampton Ellen Hirschberg
Montessori School of Northampton Northampton Marian Parker
Marion E. Zeh School Northborough Susan Whitten
Norwell Middle School Norwell Christina Bailey
Norwood High School Norwood Allison Leichtman
Allendale Elementary School Pittsfield Nancy Gagnon
Pittsfield High School Pittsfield Dianne Renton
Broad Meadows Middle School Quincy Kimberly Taglieri
Sherwood Middle School Shrewsbury Carol Virzi
Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School South Yarmouth Abir Zaineh
The Grow School Southbridge Martha Burkett
Robin Hood Elementary School Stoneham Alice Reilly
Joseph G. Luther Elementary School Swansea Lindsay Poirier
Sheffield Elementary School Turners Falls Susan Pelis
Greater Lowell Technical High School Tyngsboro Rene Dion Jr.
Marguerite E. Small Elementary School West Yarmouth Audrey Lee
North Middle School Westfield Michael Dulaski
Williamsburg Elementary School Williamsburg Johanna Korpita