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Rolling Prarie

Rolling Prairie Elementary
Rolling Priaire, Indiana
Honorable Mention

Rolling Prairie Elementary in Rolling Priaire, Indiana started a Going Green initiative before Going Green was Cool reports Lisa Smiertelny !

This year an actual Going Green Committee was formed to brainstorm ideas that would make our school a better place. Previous years brought us a three- mile environmental trail with retention ponds that our Conservation Club has taken student/ adult groups on hikes. They have planted hundreds of trees, flowers and bushes and placed blue birdhouses around.

Last year a move was made to start recycling more in the building. Paper was being thrown in the trash alongside garbage and as of today over 200 pounds of paper and plastic are recycled weekly.  All teachers and students are responsible for using their blue recycle trashcans for paper and plastic water bottles. The fifth grade students utilize large trashcans to collect the paper and plastic each day.

Recycling paper and plastic was a step in the right direction but we needed more.  The third grades started a compost bin in the classroom and are throwing healthy snack leftovers in the bins for Red Wiggler worms to break down. The students are composting several pounds of leftovers and newspaper a day. The composting became so popular that the ENTIRE school will now begin composting leftovers at lunch to save landfill land. By the end of the year there will be trashcans in the cafeteria for students to separate their food into for trash and compost.  Four large compost bins will accommodate the leftovers to be broken down by worms. The compost will be placed around our flowers, trees and garden.

We also had an energy saving push. Teachers were asked to remove coffee pots, refrigerators and other energy wasters from their classroom. This was not mandatory but most teachers complied with the request. The custodian also removed over 1000 fluorescent light bulbs around the building from classrooms and our hallways. Teachers are also turning off lights when they leave the room and during the day while teaching.  They gym lights were being turned on first thing in the morning and now are not turned on until students arrive at school. The cafeteria has also reduced their lighting until students arrive inside. These small steps have reduced the electricity usage by over 15,000 kilowatts in a month. This summer the custodians have agreed to leave the air conditioner off until the building is over 76 degrees. They will open the windows first thing in the morning to allow the air to cool the building naturally.

There is also a summer garden club, which teaches a group of students how to plant a successful garden using the least amount of chemicals. The garden club plants enough produce to have a salsa party, which demonstrates how they can reduce their carbon footprint. Club members also get a chance to visit a local farmer’s market and spend money to purchase produce.
Rolling Prairie Elementary has definitely moved with the times to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Going Green comes naturally to us now!