From green to gold: City, school district net awards
April 21, 2009
On Earth Day, city and Issaquah School District officials will accept awards made from recycled glass at the King County Green Globe Awards.The city and school district will receive separate awards for environmental stewardship and taking steps to protect the environment.
Organizers selected 10 recipients for the awards, which are bestowed every two years.
“This is a way of saying thanks to people who are seriously aware of the local environmental situation,” said Doug Williams, spokesman for the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks. He said the Issaquah winners are “a great example of local organizations and local governments walking the walk.”
The city won in the Leader in Open Space Conservation category. The school district won in the Leader in Green Schools category.
Mayor Ava Frisinger, who will accept the award on behalf of the city, described the Green Globe as a significant honor.
“Our community has a culture of environmental sustainability,” she said.
City and county officials signed a partnership agreement in 2007 to steer development growth away from rural county lands and into developed areas within the city limits.
Green Globe organizers praised the city’s decision to partner with the county in the effort. Organizers said the agreement “serves as a model to other suburban cities in King County to think regionally about land preservation and growth management.”
Awards organizers said the school district “set an excellent example for other districts by expanding recycling and waste reduction practices and by reducing energy and water consumption.”
District officials partnered with the King County Green Schools Program in 2001.
Though the district grew by 15 percent in new building square footage, officials were able to cut energy use by 6 percent — while maintaining 24 schools. Officials also reduced water consumption by 33 percent and irrigation by 19 percent.
The most impressive figure was the recycling rate, which increased from 30 percent to 50 percent with help from local cities, King County and Waste Management.
Officials replaced disposable foam trays with a compostable variety and several schools initiated food scrap recycling programs.
“As a public agency, we have a responsibility to conserve environmental resources and preserve operational dollars for our core mission: teaching and learning,” said Sara Niegowski, district communications director. “As a school district, we have a responsibility to educate the next generation of citizens to care for their community and world, and minimize their personal impact on the environment.”
District Resource Conservation Manager John Macartney deserves much of the credit for his work. He’s frequently seen testing energy efficiency at schools, monitoring individual schools’ water usage and in school cafeterias with his famed trash suit to help students learn about food composting and recycling.
Macartney, Superintendent Steve Rasmussen and board member Jan Woldseth will accept the Green Globe for the district.
If you go
Green Globe winners will be honored at the Earth Day Expo
11 a.m. April 22
Fourth Avenue and Pine Street, Seattle
Reach Reporter Chantelle Lusebrink at 392-6434, ext. 241, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Reach Reporter Warren Kagarise at 392-6434, ext. 234, or email@example.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.