This year of remote and hybrid learning have presented many challenges in keeping our Green Team engaged and participating in Earth-friendly practices.
Our team’s goal was to get our students and families out in our communities making a change. This is where our Change Maker Trash Challenge was born; during the month of October our students and families were encouraged to get out in our community and clean up and send us a picture of their trash loot. Gage Conklin used his recess time to clean up our playground and was named North Elementary’s Green Team Change Maker.
Our year was interrupted with a return to remote learning once again, so our Green Team sponsors decided to go virtual with our Green Team by creating a Google classroom to keep kids connected. This page provided families with fun activities, games, and animal cams to watch. We continued this time with virtual meetings and fun contests and virtual field trips for our students to take.
Our school nurse hosted virtual office hours with a cool project for the kids. She planted cress sprouts, showing students how seeds can grow in almost any condition. Kade Crutchley was in attendance during this exciting Zoom meeting.
In mid-January, our students again returned to our building. We decided to launch our newest contest, Recycling Resolutions Poster Contest. This contest required our Green Team students to watch a virtual field trip of a modern-day recycling center and come up with a resolution they could make to be more environmentally conscious for this year. We had 17 posters submitted by our students. Each student was permitted to vote on their favorite, either in person or virtually.
Kade Crutchley, our first-place winner, showed us on his poster how he plans to clean up our parks for his recycling resolution.
Ana Custer, our second-place winner, showed all the plants and animals she will help by cleaning up around her community.
Jordan Saunders, our third-place winner, made a dollhouse for her little sister to play with out of recyclable materials.
We plan to continue our Green Team activities for the remainder of the year, though they may look a little different from years past. Our students will take part in our courtyard cleanup at the end of April, where we will be installing S.T.E.M gardens so the students can plant and study how vegetables go from a tiny seed to what we put on the table. This will also serve as a way to get the students familiar with pollinators' importance getting food to our table.
This article was submitted by JaCinda Custer, fourth-grade co-taught teaching assistant and Green Team community outreach coordinator at North Elementary School in the Alton School District.