Laura Riley

Teacher - Middle School

Downers Grove, IL

Interests: Technology,...

  • Posted 6 Years ago
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Can Teachers Create Sustainable Environmental Education?

Can Teachers Create Sustainable Environmental Education?

So.....according to Webster’s, the term sustainable is an adjective referring to a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged.  What does that mean for you and your students?  By creating real-world, engaging activities in your classroom and your school, you can create sustainable environmental education for your students, faculty, and staff members.  Educating students and staff can have impacts that reach beyond the classroom and extend to the development of ones’ character, while establishing social and civil accountability and learning to be environmentally responsible.  Develop activities using synonyms like supportable and maintainable, while also incorporating ecological terms such as biomass and carbon footprint, which are seen in the media and on the Internet daily.  Implement new programs and share information not only in the classroom, but during daily announcements, at faculty meetings, PTA meetings, and at parent nights.  Try creating sustainable environmental education in your school and community by putting into practice some or all of these ideas today!!!

1.  Visit and have your students “Take the Pledge” to recycle and keep America beautiful!

2.  Have students and staff take a pledge to recycle more at home and at work.  Go to your community’s web site for curbside recycling information and share that with your students, parents, and community in an email or on the school web site.

3.  The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) supports “caps on” plastic bottles when they are recycled at curbside through local municipalities or when dropped off at recycling centers.  Take a moment to visit for more information.  Help create positive change in the recycling industry!

4.  Sign up for a recycling program such as Cartridges for Kids where students can recycle donated, old, inkjet cartridges, used cell phones, digital cameras, video games, DVDs, iPods, GPS systems, laptops, and video game systems.  Your school can collect money and save these items from the landfill!

5.  Start a school lunch recycling program.  Set up a compost bucket in the lunch room and have students collect fruits and vegetables such as apple cores and banana peels, then put them into a compost bin outside at your school.  Put students in charge of the compost bucket and bin.  Have them turn the dirt daily!

6.  Collect Household Hazardous Wastes (HHW), such as used batteries, and then take them to a permanent collection site in your community. Have students create a HHW bottle for old batteries by taking a used milk container and cutting off the top to create a wider opening for the batteries.  Decorate and collect!

7.  Create an after-school Environmental Club.  Have students make recycling posters to decorate classrooms with a list of items that can be collected in each classroom recycle bin.  Then have a school-wide recycle day each week to collect classroom recycling.

8.  Plan a NO WASTE LUNCH day at your school once a month or once a quarter.  Have students and faculty bring their lunch in reusable containers, then compost food scraps, and recycle paper bags, pop cans, and water bottles.  Create a contest for the grade level with the most No Waste Lunches!!!  Award them with pencils recycled from old paper money.

9.  Promote a CARBON FREE DAY in your school district.  Encourage students to walk to school with a friend or ride their bike.  Inform parents about carpooling to school as well!

10.  Encourage your students and staff to use both sides of the paper, turn off the lights to save energy, and bring a plant to school for their classroom for better air quality.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

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1 Comment

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22 Jul 11, 09:13 AM

A great list Laura. The Cartridges for Kids program sounds like a really good one in particular.

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