About 150 volunteers and community partners were hard at work with their gardening tools and gloves on Saturday for Briargrove Elementary School’s Green Apple Day of Service event.
Students, parents, staff and community members participated in the second annual event by weeding the edible and butterfly gardens on campus, cleaning the outdoor track and installing a water bottle-filling station for outdoor hydration.
“I think having an opportunity to bring parents, students and the community together to help beautify our school is probably the most important aspect of our event,” said Briargrove Assistant Principal Jeanine Jordan.
During the Green Apple Day of Service, sponsored by the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council, school communities come together to create a healthy and productive school environment through local service projects.
The event at Briargrove featured special appearances by ReUseIt and Lucky the Ladybug, two colorful Houston recycling mascots who are helping to kick off a districtwide recycling education initiative, which is funded by a $235,504 grant from the Houston-Galveston Area Council and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
Over the past week, every HISD campus received a shipment of banners, posters, window clings, stickers for elementaries, magnets for middle and high schools, and a thumb drive full of resources to help begin or improve their recycling programs. This program’s intention is to help raise awareness of the 21,000 recycling bins already in place in schools and facilities, increase recycling education, and create a culture of Earth-consciousness throughout the district.
“This grant is very exciting because it will help us emphasize the importance of recycling among students, who can really make a difference on their campuses,” said Kim Urban, an HISD accounting manager. “They can also take what they learn and apply it in their homes and communities, so the potential impact is much bigger than the schools.”
HISD’s Risk Management department celebrated GADOS last Friday by delivering a rotating compost bin, shiny new garden tools and planters to Rodriguez Elementary School. Gabriela Mistral Early Childhood Education Center and HISD Nutrition Services also hosted projects to help promote greener and healthier campuses.
This year’s successful turnout at Briargrove Elementary helped to raise awareness on the importance of maintaining a healthy, safe, and productive learning environment, according to Jordan.
“We are definitely working very hard to go green and to spread that message across the district,” Jordan said.