Schools host fourth annual Green Apple Day of Service

Students, parents, staff, and community members throughout HISD celebrated the fourth annual Green Apple Day of Service on Saturday by hosting beautification service projects that promote healthy and productive learning environments.

Green Apple Day of Service, sponsored by The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council, is a designated day where school communities throughout the nation come together to work on projects favorable to the environment.

At HISD, Briargrove Elementary School, Garden Oaks Montessori School and Gabriela Mistral Early Childhood Center hosted events at their campuses, ranging from recycling products to cleaning up outdoor space.

With the theme of “Growing our Gardens and Connecting our Community,” a total of 233 Briargrove students, parents, teachers and community members worked together on a number of projects, including weeding the school’s edible and butterfly gardens, cleaning the outdoor track, and planting and harvesting vegetables.

“This year was different from last in that we set the projects up by grade level; encouraging our students and parents to participate in the activity designated for their grade,” said Rebecca Luman, PTO Community Service and Sustainability advisor at Briargrove Elementary School, “This gave them the opportunity to meet and work with people that their children go to school with.”

At Gabriela Mistral, parents and students worked on beautifying their campus by weeding the school’s produce garden, butterfly garden and the pond. Students also created vegetation artwork, homemade bird-feeders and replacing plants in the front of school.

“[Green Apple Day of Service] is a day that has become a part of our school culture,” said Gabriela Mistral teacher Lena Falsone. “This year we are looking forward to actively involving all of the community to beautify our outdoor space so that our students are fully stimulated by their surroundings.”

Gabriela Mistral Early Childhood Center, who recently earned first place in the 2015 Green Schools Challenge as a top green school at HISD, has hosted a Beautification Day for the past five years, according to Falsone.

“We like to make sure that we have a rich environment for our students so that they get to fully appreciate nature and all its beauty,” Falsone said.

About 20 volunteers at Garden Oaks Montessori School also participated in Green Apple Day of Service, cleaning and managing the school’s pond area that is home to local wildlife. Students, community members, and volunteers from management consultant company Accenture pulled overgrown weeds, cleaned up trash, and cleared the walking path around the pond.

Schools are encouraged to participate in a number of service projects and can sign up anytime throughout the school year. To learn more about Green Apple Day of Service, visit greenapple.org.

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