Houston Independent School District students will be planting and weeding gardens, and participating in other environmentally friendly activities on Sept. 28 as part of a global movement to transform schools into healthy and sustainable learning environments.
The Green Apple Day of Service is sponsored by the Center for Green School at the U.S. Green Building Council. The goal of the second annual event is to help raise awareness among parents, teachers and students about the importance of improving the school environment.
Two HISD schools – Herod Elementary and Gabriela Mistral Early Childhood Education Center – have already signed up with projects designed to help their own facilities create greener and healthier campuses.
District officials hope more schools will take part in Green Apple Day to help highlight HISD’s commitment to building green schools. Under the 2012 bond program, which will renovate or build 40 schools, HISD is moving forward with the goal of creating sustainable 21st century learning environments.
Specifically, the schools will be built to meet standards for LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The goal will be to achieve the second highest level of certification, LEED Silver Certification.
“We know that where students learn matters,” said Dan Bankhead, HISD’s general manager of Facilities Design. “These new campuses should be conducive to learning for our students and also manage resources efficiently.”
At Herod Elementary, students will be busy pulling weeds, prepping beds for planting, cleaning up the fish pond and making repairs to an outdoor classroom. Students will also add native plants to the school’s historic courtyard.
At Gabriela Mistral, students will also participate in landscaping efforts and create crafts using green educational elements.
Matisia Hollingsworth, an HISD project manager, says there is still more time for Houston schools to participate. To date, a total of 674 projects have been registered from around the world.
“It’s a great opportunity for students and families to make a difference in their communities,” she said. “We hope more campuses will sign up and take part in this global event.”