Register with GEF for FREE to enjoy these great benefits! 

    • member only contests and raffles

    • sustainability program news and updates

    • significant discounts at GEF Institute

Note: If you have problems registering, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

JOIN GEF NOW!

Taking a GEF Institute Course? Login by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

 

Join Us

Sign Up for National Green Week!
Please note: Your privacy is very important to GEF. We do not share or sell any of your data.  It is with the sole purpose of providing you with relevant information that GEF will contact you.
Login/SignUp

Green in Action Winner

Maplewood-Richmond Heights Middle School

Maplewood, Missouri

 

“This project was entirely designed and executed by my fellow students and I, which gave us a way to exercise our creativity as well as help the Earth!”
~Kadin Kristjansson, 7th grade student

 

Race for the Earth Project

The issue we, Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School, thought we could improve upon this year is sustainable transportation. Our community is a small, walkable, inner suburb of St. Louis. Most middle school students do not make the family transportation decisions. We took this in stride and began a program to encourage people to use sustainable transportation, like riding a bike or walking, to get to school.

 

To be certain that the entire middle school was involved, we began a student-created school-wide competition between 12 homeroom classes, which we call advisories. Students created a point system for the advisory competition to measure which one would win. Biking, riding a scooter, walking, or skateboarding got you 4 points, riding the bus got you 3, carpooling got you 2, and riding in a car got you 1. There was also a section for adding in anything sustainable you did, which got you 1 additional point.

The advisory that earned the highest average for each round (each week) was given raffle tickets to put into a raffle for gift cards. The advisory with the highest average in the end and the advisory with the greatest change won a pizza party.



We presented our project idea at one of our monthly Town Halls, which are school-wide meetings. The Sustainability class showed the middle school a presentation on the rules and rewards of our competition.


The principals rode sustainable transportation, such as longboards and rollerblades, across the stage as a finale. We also decided to create a bike race, which will be held annually from now on, to promote riding bikes. The bike race was later in the spring.

 

 

To plan this, part of the Sustainability class went to the Maplewood City Hall and spoke to the City Planner and the Community Development director. There were different races for different age groups, and the final race was a big all-ages fun ride. The race was sponsored by Strange Donuts and The Post, popular small businesses, who provided the prizes. The rest of the materials were brought in by teachers and students. The medals for each age category were designed, painted, printed, and otherwise created by our students using a three-dimensional printer.


“I’m really impressed with all the hard work that the middle schoolers put into this project,” says Bill Henske, an eighth grade teacher. “This project demonstrates that students can have a big impact on the sustainability of the community.”


On April 18th we held our community bike race we called the Race for the Earth. We had over 50 racers and a lot of spirit and camaraderie around sustainable transportation. During our project we worked with local businesses, government, and non-profit organizations including Strange Donuts, The Post Bar and Grill, The Eastern Missouri Sierra Club, the City of Maplewood, and the Maplewood Police Department. We also impacted parents, community members, siblings, and friends in taking a fun and active step in bringing awareness to more sustainable forms of transportation.



We believe that we were able to promote using sustainable transportation through this competition and the race. We were able to increase the percentage of people who walked! This stands as testimony to how we were able to spread awareness of how walking, riding your bike, and taking other sustainable modes of transportation affect the world. We also raised $150 for a new bike rack for the middle school student entrance to the building and collected over 100 cans for our Weekend on Wheels food pantry.

Our project allowed us to take positive steps in  creating a more sustainable community. We anticipate that this project will be a seed that connects to other local events and actions for years to come.