County honors Earth Heroes

June 1, 2010

Saving the planet one apple core, one plastic bag or one light switch at a time are this year’s King County Earth Heroes. The annual awards were given to one Issaquah School District teacher and three district schools. The individual winner was Meagan Elliot, a counselor at Pine Lake Middle School. Cascade Ridge Elementary School, Maywood Middle School and Pine Lake received schoolwide awards.

Jack Sansing (left) and Katie and Noah Springborn stand behind food-recycling bins. They were Cascade Ridge Elementary Green Team members who directed their classmates to use the correct bins after lunch. By Christopher Huber

County officials awarded nearly two-dozen individuals, groups and schools with the award. Each recipient created or maintained programs that significantly improve the health of the environment through recycling or conserving natural resources or energy, or by educating students.

Elliot earned recognition after working with teachers, students and custodians to implement Pine Lake’s food-scrap recycling program. Her efforts, with inspired initiative from students, she said, helped reduce the amount of trash collected daily from 15 bags to five bags, a 66 percent reduction.

Elliot also headed the implementation of a zero-waste locker clean-out program. Students push a cart through the hallways, collecting notebooks, coats and any other discarded school supplies. Whereas students used to throw usable materials away, most of them now help re-use items, Elliot said.

The motto is “don’t throw it away if it’s not garbage,” she said. “I just see people being more mindful about stuff.”

Students help Elliot further the cause with posters, and creating and showing an educational video in classrooms.

Elliot said she hopes to start a greenhouse and gardening project on the Pine Lake campus — maybe even with chickens.

Since 2005, Cascade Ridge students have been hard at work recycling, but this year, the school’s Green Team helped better educate students regarding what could and couldn’t be recycled by clearly labeling bins in the cafeteria for food scrap recycling.

As a result, students and faculty increased their recycling rate this year to 58 percent and decreased their garbage costs by 35 percent. They also eliminated the use of straws and polystyrene trays. Read more

Recognize environmentally savvy students, teachers with Earth Heroes honor

February 2, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. Feb. 2, 2010

Nominate students, teachers, school staffers, volunteers, programs or even entire schools for a King County environmental honor.

Officials are seeking nominations for 2010 Earth Heroes at School. The award honors people and entities for contributions to environmental protection and student environmental education.

Submit nominations by March 1. Winners will be recognized at the ninth annual King County Earth Heroes at Schools recognition event in April.

Colleagues, classmates or members of the public can nominate Earth Heroes. Organizers also encourage self-nominations. Find nomination forms and the 2009 honorees here or call 206-296-4477 to learn more.

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