Two schools receive Earth Heroes award
May 12, 2009
By Chantelle Lusebrink
Students and teachers at Issaquah Middle and Challenger Elementary schools are saving the earth, one scrap of recycled material at a time.Both schools were the recipients of 2008 King County Earth Heroes Awards April 30 in Renton.
The Earth Heroes program highlights contributions to recycling, energy and resource conservation, and other environmental protection efforts made by individuals or schools in their communities. King County officials select recipients from community nominations and information.
Fourteen individuals and six schoolwide programs were recognized for their efforts this year.
Teacher Hank Klein and Michael Getty, a custodian, were the Earth Heroes at Challenger. The two established a recycling station in the school’s cafeteria, which resulted in a 50-percent reduction in garbage and a 60-percent increase in recycling.
To help get those numbers, Klein formed a group called Waste Watchers to monitor students’ recycling habits and promote proper practices at lunch.
“I’m honored by the award, but the real Earth Heroes are the 163 Waste Watchers at my school,” Klein wrote in an e-mail. “These students monitor waste disposal at lunch time, making sure everything gets into its proper receptacle, so that we recycle as much as we can. They’re willing to miss recess for the greater good, and they’re teaching their peers how to recycle.”
The recycling program at Issaquah Middle started in 2006, and has expanded each year since. Students have reduced their garbage output by 66 percent and have increased their recycling by 60 percent.
“Our ASB students, custodians and kitchen staff have worked hard to make our recycling program a success. It has taken the efforts of all our students and staff to make this happen,” Principal Corrine DeRosa wrote in an e-mail to The Press.
The school has reduced its collection costs by 42 percent because of the recycling program.
“It’s an ongoing effort that requires much teaching and reteaching, but hopefully our efforts will also spill over into individual families as our students go home better informed about how to be good stewards of our earth,” DeRosa wrote.