Friday, February 27, 2015

Igniting Action: A Winter Update on Our Recycling Expansion and Compost Introduction Project

Here's more information about the project featured an article in The Gillnetter.

Although there is a recycling program in our schools and city, a lot of materials, including reams of discarded paper, heaps of disposable water bottles, and many iced coffee containers, do not get recycled. In addition, none of our schools or government buildings have a composting program; all food waste ends up in the trash. According to our research, composting and increased recycling will save the city thousands of dollars, keep recycling and compost out of the incinerator, and reduce our city’s carbon footprint.

The goals of our awesome project are to reduce the amount of waste at GHS by expanding recycling efforts and launching a composting initiative, and to create a recycling model that can be replicated in other schools and city buildings. Our plan is based on our study of successful programs at area schools. We will achieve our goals through these steps:
  • We have administrative approval to place student decorated recycling bins (March) and compost bins (May) next to trash cans in the cafeteria with interpretive signage illustrating where waste should be deposited.
  • Once bins are in place environmental club students will be visible in the cafeteria to inform other students about where to put different types of waste during lunch time.
  • Students will work with the custodial staff to make sure the compost is ready for pick up by a local compost vendor, Black Earth Haulers; students have already begun work with school administrators to ensure systems are in place to manage composting.
  • Students will work with community members, including Backyard Growers, to create a promotional video that explains and showcases the recycling and composting initiatives. The video will be part of a spring presentation at the high school, which will also include guest speakers and activities.
  • We will share our efforts with the community and other schools through presentations, videos, text, and photography in the online school newspaper, The Gillnetter, and through social media outlets.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Have you seen this video yet?

Last spring we had a ribbon-cutting celebration for the Gloucester High School greenhouse and newly planted raised-beds, now called Gloucester High Farm. Here's a video of the celebration. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

What did the Gloucester High Environmental club do this fall?

This fall the GHS environmental club continued its work producing locally grown, sustainable food. Guided by Meghan Stratton of FoodCorps and Backyard Growers, the club has been involved in the Gloucester U GHS Farm program, and has worked hard to prepare the high school's raised beds for winter growth. Plants started in the greenhouse have been planted in the newly winterized beds. Now we'll be turning our attention to recruitment and cafeteria composting. (This fall the club has also benefited from the expertise of Lara Lepionka, head of Backyard Growers, and Samantha Whitney, who runs the Gloucester U program.

The club has already begun its recruitment drive, recently gathering the names of a dozen interested members in one day of canvassing in the high school cafeteria. With recruiting efforts the club has doubled in size this fall. However, we still need to recruit more members particularly freshman and sophomores before the next Gloucester U session begins after the winter break. (Sign up here.) Over the next couple of weeks we'll be talking to freshman and sophomore science classes at GHS, aided by a digital slide presentation created by the club.

Final fall notes: Thank you, again, to Leslie Beaulieu who was with us last spring, through the summer, and the first few weeks of the autumn. You helped us take our first steps towards success.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Did you hear about the People's Climate March in NYC yesterday?

Go here to find out more. It was epic.
(The website is filled with inspiring pictures of creative, committed activists like you.)

Friday, September 5, 2014

What did the Gloucester High Environmental Club do this summer?

Participating in Gloucester U's Greenhouse/Zero Waste initiative led by Leslie Beaulieu and James Cook, the GHS e-club spent a lot of time with dirt, water, and vegetables this summer.

After donating bags and bags of lettuce grown in the Gloucester High School gardens early in the summer, we donated an addition 94 lbs. of produce grown in the gardens (squash, zucchini, broccoli, and cucumbers) to the Open Door food pantry in July and August. In the last week of the summer we also delivered tomatoes, a cucumber, summer squash, and broccoli to Gloucester Public School teachers getting ready for the school year.

We canned several jars of produce, including fennel and beets, from the GHS gardens to serve at school events in the fall and winter. In the process, we learned how to extend the bounty of the warm months into the months of the year when little will grow.

The zinnias have thrived. The spinach planted for the GHS biology program is coming up.The beans are almost ready to be harvested. Some other crops we planted are patch or not coming up at all, but we've learned from both successes and failures; and we've had more of the former and less of the latter. In fact, some failures, including lettuce and spinach that bolted, are now being composted, so their nutrients will nourish next year's crops.