Tuesday, December 4, 2012

TJHS - Recycle Challenge!

To start off the new school year, TJH Green Team has teamed up with Terracycle to help reduce waste as well as raise money for the school. The Junior High has started collecting and recycling cell phones, Capri-suns, and shoes. The team has a collection box for Cell Phones in the main office, Capri Suns in the commons and pairs of shoes outside of the security office.   We are happy to take donations from our community, especially cell phones!  Please stop by the school to drop off your donations!

Thanks to the helpful students and staff of TJH, Green Team just mailed in 32 cell phones that will be kept out of the waste stream!  The team will start collecting pairs of shoes in December and start a classroom challenge after the start of the New Year. The Green Team thanks Megan C. (Secretary) Alyssa T. (Treasurer) Isobel S. (Vice President) and Kathryn O. (President) and most importantly, Ms. McHenry! 

Way to go bears!


Thanks to Megan C., Green Team Leader for this post!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

TSHS - Making a Difference!

On Tuesday, November 19th, the TSHS Sustainability Ambassadors (Green Team) completed their November Adopt-a-Road event on the Summit-Landsburg Road near TJH.  In a 2 hour period, we cleaned up a 1.6 mile stretch and picked up 12 bags of garbage and recycling.  These kids clean up their adopted road twice yearly during  November and May.  This was our 7th event since adopting this stretch of road in 2009.

Participating in the clean-up were:  Anthony R., Jen L., Kylin F., Esmay J., Cassandra Ho, Paige T. and Clare N.  Not pictured is Maddy T.

Thanks to the TSHS Green Team Leader for this post!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

TMS Green Team Gets to Work!

Our Green Team is in action! We've gotten the team together and we're ready to get moving at Tahoma Middle School. So far, we've chosen a t-shirt design, started a school vegetable garden, and we are in the process getting a PowerPoint to help advertise our club into motion. We're getting a great start in kicking off the year and plan to have a big impact. We're very excited about the garden, so the students at our school can have fresh vegetables to eat with their lunch. The PowerPoint will bring attention to the Green Team and maybe even get some sixth graders to join the cause. We all share the planet we live on, so we must take care of it!

Thanks to Green Team Leader Jenessa W. for this post!

Green Teams at TMS
  • Compost Team
  • Education Team
  • Garden Team
  • Recycling Team
  • Yearbook Team

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Curious Rain Garden

Last year students at the Shadow Lake Elementary started to dig a rain garden at the front of the school. They added special plants to help the rain garden filter the water. Then they attached the drain pipe that came off the roof with Mr.  Donaldson’s help and buried it in the soil. When the rain started coming down the water wouldn’t drain {see picture on right}. We waited over the summer to see what happened.

When we returned the next year, the rain garden was dry. About five weeks into school, a Caterpillar came to dig the rain garden deeper because the students couldn’t. Since the rain wouldn’t drain, we suspected that there was a clay vein or a high water table in the ground.

To test those theories, Mrs. White’s class collected some data on October 16th, 2012. First Mrs. White put a yard stick in the deepest part of the rain garden and used rocks to make it stand up. Second, Mrs. White put a hose next to the yard stick and then turned the water on. Our class went out every fifteen minutes to see if the water was draining, we also took 5-7 pictures. Each time we checked on the rain garden the water height was 0 to 1 inches high so the rain garden is draining.
After a rainy week we went outside to see if the rain garden was still draining and it was. There wasn’t a clay vein based on our experiment but there might be a high water table.

Shadow Lake will continue monitoring the rain garden while it is raining to see if it drains. Clearly this rain garden is a curious one!

Thanks to Mrs. White's Class and Green Team for this Post!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Global Academy Students Trip to the Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility in Ellensburg

Students from THS’ Global Academy journeyed over the mountains to Ellensburg and Puget Sound Energy’s Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility last week.

The trip was part of Global Academy’s study of different types of renewable and nonrenewable energy, climate change, and carbon.

Students toured the visitor’s center, listened to a presentation on wind energy and what PSE is doing at Wild Horse, got to get up close and touch a blade from a wind turbine, and had the chance to enter the base of a turbine.

Students blogged about the trip, and their thoughts on energy usage at pugetsoundoff.org/group/tahoma-global-academy

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Troop 459 Makes a Difference for GPES

Mrs. Haws would like to thank Cub Scout troop 459 for their service in the Glacier Park garden.  It was a rainy, cold day but these scouts were hard working and determined to make a difference in their community.  The scouts and their families jumped right in to help winterize and straighten the garden and green house.  They even planted a surprise garden that students at Glacier Park will enjoy in the spring. 

  Thanks so much for your selfless service!

Storm Water Management

BEFORE - Not an Effective Retention Pond

Glacier Park was designed and built with a retention pond to the east of the building behind the portables.  This area is a critical part of the surface water drainage system.  There are underground drains that spill into that area from the parking lot, portables, and other areas of the campus.  When it was inspected by the City this summer we received notice that it needed to be restored to proper standards, which means it needs to be a clear and functional pond.  Since it was not maintained for a number of years due to a misunderstanding of whether this was a school or city responsibility,  the area grew into a rather wild and wooded area.  

P and D Tree Service removed the trees and then a second company came and pulled out the tree stumps and hauled debris  and smoothed the base of the pond with proper fill materials.   The major change in the appearance has given rise to questions and concerns from some of the neighbors and many children who were concerned that we were cutting down trees.  
AFTER - Much More Water Retention Capacity

The retention pond was designed to collect and hold storm water runoff from the impervious surfaces around the school.   The water infiltrates or soaks into the ground slowly to disperse surface water runoff which prevents erosion and flooding, cleans and filter toxins from the water.  This morning after the rain we noticed that the water is starting to collect in the pond.  This project has been a great “real-world” opportunity to talk about storm water, pollution, and management of natural resources.

Post by Cathy Haws - GPES Green Team Leader

GPES - Over 300 lbs Donated!

Students work in the school garden at Glacier Park Elementary
Community Contributors!

Tomatoes, potatoes, corn, squash, cabbage, onions and pumpkin are a few of the vegetables grown in the school garden at Glacier Park Elementary. The garden is planted, tended, and harvested by two student groups, the garden club, and the green team. The garden is an outdoor, hands-on learning area where students can learn about planting seeds and growing plants. In addition, students learn about complex topics like sustainability, conservation, food systems, and life cycles. More importantly, students develop empathy and a greater sense of community awareness as they work collaboratively to contribute the quality garden produce to the Local Maple Valley Food Bank. This fall students have contributed over 300 lbs.of fresh produce to the food bank.

Thanks to GPES Green Team and Garden Club

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Lake Wilderness Students Head to the Arboretum

Sustainability was more than just a big word for second-graders last week, it became something that students could touch and see and even feel with their feet, on a field trip to the Lake Wilderness Arboretum.

Second grade students from Rock Creek and Lake Wilderness visited the arboretum as part of their studies about Pacific Northwest Native Americans. The visit included exploring the Tribal Life Trail, which spotlights plants that the Native Americans used to sustain themselves, a lesson in plant identification and listening to a legend story.

The students from Lake Wilderness were able to have extra practice implementing sustainability, walking from the school to the arboretum.
Students from Rock Creek pose in front of the totem pole, which marks the entrance to the Tribal Life Trail.

Students were encouraged to touch some of the plants and trees and to try to guess what the Native Americans might have used them for.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Magical Moment

Our students and community at Glacier Park are taking advantage of a wonderful new outdoor display case and science tools to support learning.  Right now, the display features information about resident and migratory birds.  In the case is a story for teachers to read to their class, three sets of binoculars, and a book so students can identify birds they see in the garden.  Last week, Cathy Haws class went out to the garden to harvest potatoes, tomatoes, corn, and squash.  After they finished they sat in the garden and read about Rufus the hummingbird.  In the story the hummingbird visits the fields in the foothills of Mount Rainer to store up fat for his long migration to Mexico.  Just then a Rufus hummingbird visited the garden and feasted on the nectar in the feeder.  Then as if they knew the story a second hummingbird arrived and the first defended his territory.  In the words of both teacher and students,  "It was magical!"

The Watershed Report Premiere

A few Tahoma Students and Staff at the Premiere
Last night was the third annual premiere of the Watershed Report, it’s also my third year being a part of the Watershed Report Student Leadership Team. I have been growing with the Watershed Report program for these past few years. Our program has developed a strong template for reporting sustainability trends. We repeat a certain annual rhythm, or process, each year. Each year we refine this rhythm with the ultimate goal of replicating it in other communities. Repeat, refine, replicate.  

At the same time I am gaining knowledge and shifting mental models towards sustainability.
As my involvement with the Watershed Report has grown, I have discovered my role and mission in this program. I am the template for future watershed students. Each year that I repeat the annual rhythm of the report I am refining my knowledge and skills. The ultimate goal for me is to replicate my success in this program with other students. I am the first student to be a part of our new internship program on the Watershed Report Internship program through Bellevue College. My internship is an internship on developing internships for our new program. This fall I will create the templates for future internships, and next summer we will repeat the internships with other students. My templates will then be refined and can be replicated for years to come. Repeat, refine replicate.                                                                                            

          Last night’s premiere was my chance to see other students presenting in front of large crowd for the first. As I was watching them introducing this years reports, I could picture myself up their three years ago squeezing the podium with my clammy hands. I think I was more nervous than they look. These days I feel much more confident when speaking, and it’s simply because of the skills I have refined through my work on the Watershed Report team. I’m excited to head into a fourth year on the team as a leader and template for other students.                                                                                                                                            

          At the end of our presentation I met an Environmental Engineer from King County who was really impressed with our work. Even more so, he was personally excited about our work because he was doing the same thing 35 years ago. He was in Jr. High School using a black and white snap shot camera, cassette tapes for sound, and little plastic note cards as a teleprompter. Talking with him was like going back in time a little bit. It was a heartfelt experience to speak with someone who’s lived their life doing the work I am just beginning. I think it was just as great for him to see that the environmental he began in Jr. High has kept momentum in the future generations and the ambassadors of future possibilities.

Blog Post by By Cassandra, Senior at Tahoma High School
President THS Sustainability Ambassadors club
Member of the Watershed Report student leadership team 


Thursday, September 6, 2012

National Wildlife Federation Certifies a New Habitat in Maple Valley

National Wildlife Federation announces Glacier Park Elementary in Maple Valley is an Official Certified Wildlife Habitat.  The garden attracts a variety of birds, butterflies, squirrels, and bees by providing a wildlife friendly landscape. NWF teaches the importance of environmental stewardship by providing guidelines for making landscapes more hospitable to wildlife.  In order to become certified, a property must provide the four basic elements that all wildlife need: food, water, cover, and places to raise young.  In addition, to providing for wildlife, certified habitats conserve our natural resources by reducing or eliminating the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides.  

The Glacier Park Garden has two new educational display boxes that can be filled with activities for teachers to share with their class when they visit the garden.  The display cases were an Eagle Scout Project organized and directed by Billy Wheeler of Troop 945.  Currently, when classes visit the educational displays, students can learn about habitats, identify native and migratory birds, and read a story about a Rufus hummingbird that is migratory in the Puget Sound.

Thanks to Cathy Haws, GPES Green Team Leader

Monday, August 20, 2012

School Garden Bounty!

One of the challenges with a school garden is what happens during the summer months.  At many of our schools, this means teachers come in to take care of things during the summer months and many times they try to enlist the help of students and parents.  At Glacier Park last week they had a work day in the garden.  One of the students who worked that day wrote a few words to share her experience.     

Today on August 8th, my mom, sister and I went to the school garden.  Mrs. Haws and  Mrs. Davidson helped pick food for the Maple Valley Food Bank.  We picked kohlrabi, string beans, read and white onions, cabbage, and potatoes.  We also pulled weeds.   It was a really hot day, so we watered the plants.  We took the food to the Maple Valley Food Bank; the food weighed 35 pounds.

Thanks to Green Team Leader Cathy Haws and student, Maya C. for this post!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Tahoma Green Ribbons - State Awards

Four schools, including Tahoma Junior High, were honored today by State Superintendent Randy Dorn for their commitment to environmental leadership.  The award-winning schools, honored at an award ceremony at Bainbridge Island’s IslandWood, all incorporate health and energy management into academics through connections between science, technology, engineering and math, civic skills and green career pathways.

Today’s recognition was an extension of a national competition, open to public and private schools, at the U.S. Department of Education, which named finalists from several states as “Green Ribbon Schools.” Washington had three public-school winners and one private-school winner among 72 schools that won the national award:

Camelot Elementary, Federal Way SD
Secondary Academy for Success, Northshore SD
Tahoma Jr High, Tahoma SD
The Overlake School (private)

 “Their enthusiasm, hard work and creativity demonstrate that we can provide an excellent environment for a well-rounded education with an emphasis on addressing the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century,” Dorn said. “Criteria for this award were rigorous. I applaud the winners for their dedication to making the world a better place.”
State-level awards were given in three categories:

Pillar 1: Environmental Impact and Energy Efficiency
Bryn Mawr Elementary School, Seattle SD
Creekside Elementary School, Sammamish SD
Issaquah Middle School, Issaquah SD
The Jewish Day School, Bellevue SD
Skyridge Middle School, Camas SD
Pillar 2: Healthy School Environments
Bertschi School, Seattle SD
Tahoma Sr. High, Tahoma SD
Pillar 3: Environmental and Sustainability Education
The Evergreen School, Shoreline SD
Glacier Park Elementary, Tahoma SD
Sacajawea Elementary, Vancouver SD
Skyview Jr. High, Bothell SD
The U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honors schools that are exemplary in reducing environmental impact and costs, improving the health and wellness of students and staff and providing effective environmental and sustainability education. The program is part of a broader effort by the Department of Education to identify and disseminate knowledge about practices that are proven to result in improved student engagement, higher academic achievement and graduation rates, and workforce preparedness.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Last Day - Camp Snowball

Today was our last day at Camp Snowball and it started out with a general session live chat on Skype with David Coleman. He talked about the common core standards, and the importance of elementary students building reading skills essential for building vocabulary and reading skills and also about deep reading of text for secondary students. 

Later on in our core modules, we made a skit summarizing some of the things we had learned. This helped us show our learning in a more visual way for others because it was filmed and every member played a role. Before we left we got all of our fellow student's email addresses so we could connect with them later on and discuss some of the actions they plan to take during this new school year.

Overall, camp snowball was a great learning experience and I look forward to applying all that I have learned in our school and community.

Post by Green Team Student Leader, Kathryn

Biosphere 2

Partial view of the Biosphere Ocean
Snowball included a chance to select a learning journey from the many great places to visit in and around Tucson.  Our first choice was going to the Biosphere 2.  This was an attempt to create a completely sustainable system that could support humans and other plant and animal life.  It was an amazing experience.  

Life was was tough for the 8 person crews that inhabited the Biosphere 2.   We learned that they couldn't use pesticides to control any pests that potentially threatened their food supply.   If they had used pesticides they would have polluted their entire world (the biosphere).   At camp, when learning about systems thinking, we learned that there were two types of solutions to problems: often one might be a short quicker one and often a more difficult slower solution. Often times, the solution that you invest time and thought into is planned better and takes into consideration more factors of the system, thus making it more likely to work.   In the example for the biosphere the crew knew that dealing with the bugs manually would be better in the long run, although it was certainly a lot harder for them. 
Standing on the Biosphere beach

We have many choices for attacking the problems we have - do we try for solutions that are good for just today or do we try to attack them for the long term (forever!).  What choices do we make? The biosphere is very similar to our planet. Although each of the 5 ecosystems at the Biosphere 2 were unique, they are all tied together. The water and the air is the same across the world. We treat them like they are infinitely replenishing. Water and air,whether we think about it or not, are finite resources that we easily cause to be severely damaged and even unusable.  

Post by Green Team Student Leader, Jayaram

Friday, July 13, 2012

Camp Snowball Day 4

Today, Tony Wagner appeared at our morning general session. He talked about the problems in our education, and that for 25 years, schools were doing the same things and therefore getting the same end results. He explained what was most important, is to pay attention to the time formulation of the problem rather than the solution, and resist the urge to come to a quick answer. He told us the seven survival skills for school, college, and the future. 
  1. Critical thinking/ problem solving (competitive)
  2. Ability to communicate 
  3. Agility and adaptability 
  4. Initiative in entrepreneurship
  5. Effective in oral and written communication
  6. Accessing and analyzing information 
  7. Curiosity and imagination 
And that play, passion, and purpose, were all the keys for education

Post by Green Team Student Leader, Kathryn

Trash: To Be or Not To Be?

Our Data Chart
What people see as trash is not actually trash. We collected some trash bags from the hotel, weighed them, and had 40 pounds of trash.  Then we sorted the trash into compost, recycle, liquids, and garbage. During the process I learned a lot more then I expected "digging in the trash cans." Across the nation recycling varies a lot. From what is recycled, to how recyclable materials are separated. I would not like to mess up your minds by telling you what everyone else is doing, but rest assured, we are more advanced in the Pacific Northwest than many places. 

You can't mix trash into your compost!
We got to check out the trash at the hotel and it was surprising for me to find out that a majority of the trash at the Marriott  was compostable. Recyclable materials and trash were about the same, and liquids were fairly small.  If the hotel trash is similar to homes and everyone were to be compost what they could, according to our calculations using this 40 pound sample, our landfills could be about 20% their current size. 

  • You can compost organic and biodegradable materials. 
  • Recycle correctly and often. 
  • Pour your unwanted liquids down the drain, where it can be treated. 
Save our world by using materials that can be recycled, reused, or composted and try not to use those that have their end of life in a landfill. This is Sustainability 101!

Post by Green Team Student Leader, Jayaram

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Crickets are Cool!

Jumping, hopping, dancing in the sun. The life of a solar cricket is the life to have, these little plastic toys use what we call a solar panel to jump and dance in the sun. A solar panel is a panel that takes in the suns light energy and converts it into electricity, it does this by transferring light through a glass sheet, then it gets converted into energy by traveling through a crystal called silicon. This energy then can power a home, a city, or even a cricket! Enough about the science let's talk about the fun and games, when we were introduced to these little toys in our core module we had a cricket race, there were a few tricks that helped you win the race, when the cricket would start to fall off the track you could cover it with your hand and it would stop then when you would let it go it would magically get back on track to the finish. The thing is, that we were not only introduced to a toy but to something much larger than that, we were introduced to our future, the future of renewable energy! We need to jump off the fossil fuel bandwagon and walk the line of renewable energy sources, wind, hydro, solar, and much much more. Fossil fuel won't last us much longer and the resources we need are in front of us, we just need to use them.

Post by Green Team Student Leader, Jon

Camp Snowball Day 3!

Today the team started right off in our core modules. Today in "Greening Your School, Home and Community," we dove deeper into where our electricity actually comes from and we compared renewable vs. non-renewable resources. In the United States, we get our electricity through a flawed system known as "The grid", where the 
Facilities and lines criss-cross and connect inefficiently across the country. Having individual neighborhoods develop their own power through renewable resources would be much more sufficient. Not only that, but if there was a power outage, not everyone would be at a loss. 
Going back to comparing renewable vs. non-renewable resources, some examples of renewable would be wind mills, hydroelectric plants, geothermal energy, and solar energy.  While some examples of non-renewable energy would be nuclear energy, natural gas, petroleum, and many more that we need to use less of in the U.S. Places like Denmark are committed to becoming 50% renewable, and have committed to becoming 100% renewable by the year 2015. 
But the learning didn't stop there, we also learned about a program called the "Power Down project" from Massachusetts, which was a student led program where they encouraged staff members to not turn on all of their lights at a time, open their windows, and shut down and unplug all of their devices while gone for the weekend or school breaks and are not being used. Mrs. Nance and all of the student leaders gained many ideas from this program and hope to bring them back and maybe implement them into our district. 
Overall, the day was very insightful and all of the student leaders continued to make connections with all of the other students at the camp from around the country and I look forward to attending my core module again tomorrow. 

Post by Green Team Student Leader, Kathryn

Which Would You Choose?

Renewable or nonrenewable???  Our class was first for the day. Greening your School Home and Community. We learned about HVAC systems and their impact on the world. We also learned about different types of sources of energy. Did you know? Countries all over the world are selling us our own power, especially wind power, and making investments off of our country's power usage. Many will buy wind mills and selected pieces of land from us, then over time, selling us our own electricity. Also, Germany has abandoned their nuclear power in favor of renewables. This is a big step that the US may try to learn from. 

Post by Green Team Student Leader, Destiny

Snowballing Engagement

From a meeting at McKinstry Tahoma realized there was a common problem shared by the green teams across the school district, student participation. A major focus for our school district at this camp will to be find out what other school districts are doing for more student engagement. When the core modules begin, I plan to focus on leadership and how I can apply it in our community. "Leadership is action, not position." Gannon McDonald once said. To solve our problem it will take a lot of leadership and action, students get more engaged because they see others. I plan on starting the snowballing effect in my community through the leadership skills and ideas I learn today.

Post by Green Team Student Leader, Jayaram

Hidden Energy Use

My eyes were opened to a new door in sustainability. We never think of the subtle uses of energy or the more hidden truths behind our unsustainable energy derivations. I learned about vampire appliances, but honestly where does the energy come from. I have heard that we need to conserve it, but how much do we really have? The resource that we consume the most is petroleum, but it is primarily used for transportation; what do we power our school with? The average American school burns coal for power. Coal releases so many pollutants, but it is so abundant thus making it very cheap that people are too reluctant to abandon the use of coal. I also learned that the way America gets power is unsustainable, the way we arrange grids are so redundant it is pointless, and we have large power plants based of finite resources, but very few local, renewable power plants. Although we might not be able to rearrange grids, we could try to purchase or implement more green power. The ideas and solutions are so plentiful, that any problem can be solved. I am focusing on thinking positive because sustainability can be made a reality.

Post by Green Team Student Leader, Jayaram

Natural Balance

On Wednesday morning I happened to stumble across a Native American speaker at the hotel. T. Even though it was early in the morning the temperature was blazing, but just watching his intriguing ceremony and his amazing integration of sustainability and culture kept me occupied. And with a lot of water, I was able to stay outside and continue an interview with him about the Native American perception of sustainability and Mother Earth. The smell of burning sage also was very soothing. He went into detail about how we were connected to Mother Earth, and how we needed to protect her. He talked a lot about balance, we don't have to rip apart our cities, we just have to balance the natural world and our build world.

Post by Green Team Student Leader, Jayaram

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Snowball 2

Our day started of at 7:00 am.  When breakfast was finished, our group headed to the opening, a meeting where we got to meet everyone who made this wonderful camp possible. We saw the animals of the state of sunny Arizona, who were poisonous, or mistaken as being poisonous. Remember: the coral snake is incredibly poisonous, but it's cousin, the king snake, who looks very similar, is not poisonous. Don't approach any animal without knowing for sure that is a non-venomous species.   

Testing Devices for Energy Usage in the Hotel Kitchen
Kathryn and I got in a group to discuss recognizing the impact of time delays when exploring cause and effect relationships. We met two people from Milwaukee and one from here in Arizona. We came to the conclusion that you need to think about your actions before actually going ahead and doing it- making a plan. 

Now, we are participating in a World Cafe. Focus. Contribute. Speak. Listen. Link. Connect. Listen together. You talk about things that you care about and spread it throughout your group.

After the group meeting, we broke up into our classes. I was with Kathryn, Jayaram, Jon, Clare Nance, and some new people that I met at Camp. The class was called Greening your school, home, and community. We did a few activities to get to know everyone, then took a "backstage" tour of the hotel and tested the wattage that certain appliances used with a KILL-A-WATT tester. I can already tell that it will be a great class to be  a part of. 

Finally, at the end of the day, we loaded onto the bus at Starr Circle and went down to Tucson Rocks and Ropes for a special rock climbing event just for students. It was amazing!!!!!!! Stef, one of the instructors showed us all the "ropes" of rock climbing and everything needed to know.

Post by Green Team Student Leader, Destiny

Camp Snowball Day 2

Today began with another general session where all of the members of Camp Snowball joined together in the Conference room here at the JW Marriott Star Pass Resort. Something new I tried was the World Cafe. During the World Cafe, we were required to sit with new people and discuss our answers to a couple of given questions such as, "What did you see during the project marketplace?" and "What are somethings you now think are possible for the future?" 
Some of the key World Cafe etiquette Included:
·        Focus on what matters
·        Contribute your thinking
·        Speak your mind and heart
·        Listen to understand
·        Link and Connect
·        Listen together for insights and deeper questions 
(small groups of people coming together and then taking action) 

Our Team is Learning Lots!
Something my group agreed on that we noticed was that a lot of the different groups, had some of the same challenges, but there were a few that have overcome the challenges that we are having, and we can learn from them. 
After lunch, the team split up into our core modules. Mrs. Nance, Destiny, Jon, Jayaram, and I are all in the same module called "Greening your School, Home, and Community." And during today's session, we looked into monitoring the amount of watts used by average appliances around the hotel, and some things we could monitor back at our own schools. And then taking these results and finding out which electronics used electricity even when they weren't turned on so that we could make sure to unplug them, there for reducing our energy usage. Overall, I am looking forward to tomorrows session of core modules to hopefully learn how to overcome some of the challenges that we have encountered along the way towards sustainability.

Post by Green Team Student Leader, Kathryn

I want to suck your energy!

Snowball Day 2:  A vampire appliance would do just this, let's break it  down now, a vampire appliance is an appliance that when off, still uses energy! This not only hurts the environment but also empties your wallet at the end of every month. During core module today, "greening your school and community" we learned how you can kill these "vampires" with simple steps; first of all you want to do is measure ALL your appliances with a measuring tool called a Kill-a-watt meter, this tool is self explanatory, it measures the amount of watts that the appliance uses. Once you find out how many watts your appliance is using while on you can shut it off and also determine if that appliance is a vampire or not. If the Kill-A-Watt meter reads energy flowing then it is a vampire but if the meter reads zero then you are perfectly fine. A way you can get rid of these nasty energy suckers isn't to stab them with a stake, it's to simply unplug them, this makes it so no energy can flow into these inefficient products. Power strips can be your best friend because it is easy to shut off multiple outlets at once rather than unplugging each individual appliance.   

Post by Green Team Student Leader, Jon

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

We're at Camp!

Tahoma school district is at Camp Snowball in Tucson, AZ. Their are four of us students, and seven adults ready to learn more about sustainable ways to live life. By the way that everyone is acting I feel like this will be a very successful conference, but more importantly everyone is eager to see what this trip has in store for the future of the district and our growing community!  My picture today is of the hotel that we are staying at, the Marriott Starr Pass. This place is amazing they have a pesticide FREE garden on the property, and the organic veggies and cactus that they grow in the garden are served to ALL their guests in their amazing restaurant. I'm excited to see what else this trip and this hotel has in store for me over these next few days!

Post by Green Team Student Leader, Jon

Snowball 1

Today began with a perfect mix of nervousness and excitement.  When Camp Snowball began, Peter Senge explained to me why the camp was called Snowball. It wasn't to be ironic, but rather to symbolize the basis of change. The idea was not to hear about sustainable solutions and ideas and just keep these ideas in the back burner, but comprehend them and educate our community. Camp Snowball is about systems thinking and strong integration, but snowballing is about taking this snowball in Arizona and letting it diffuse to every community. We are here to create an avalanche of change! You could just feel the excitement of everyone there even after this long day. Just before dinner we even got to spent sometime just relaxing at the pool.

Post by Green Team Student Leader, Jayaram 

Snowball Day 1

First, I will start off with the key ideas of this wonderful trip, called Camp Snowball. Hopefully, I will be able to build a snowball of ideas and tips to share with Tahoma Junior High school's next year's eager Green Team members. Camp Snowball is all about sustaining our future, since, our generation, IS the future. I am learning the definition of Systems Thinking, and came up with a definition, so far.  Systems thinking Is one big cycle, as if everything were connected, like a giant puzzle that fits together absolutely perfectly.

Since arriving today in lovely Tucson, AZ, I have had a great time. After taking a quick dip in the grand pool, all of us met for our first faculty/student meeting. We participated in a few incredibly fun activities. Two of the speakers of the evening were, Mayor Rothschild, and author, Peter Senge. After the welcoming, we all gathered for a three course salad, entree, and dessert. Since I am a vegetarian, they specially made me quinoa and corn, tightly wrapped in grape leaves. It was such an awesome day!!!!! 
Arizona is pretty hot, but since we got here, Arizona in July just got WAAAAYYY cooler.

Post by Green Team Student Leader, Destiny 

Camp Snowball Day 1


Today our team of student leaders and faculty members involved with the many projects currently going on in Tahoma School district, arrived in Tucson Arizona to attend the five day long camp on Systems Thinking and Sustainability. Upon arrival at the airport, we were greeted with a warm welcome, not only from the sign shown above, but literally, because it was 104 degrees Fahrenheit.  After a quick dip in the pool, the team attended the opening session with special appearances from the mayor of Tucson, Mayor Rothschild, and author Peter Senge. But the session didn't end there, during dinner we were required to engage in an activity that allowed us to meet many more of the people also attending the camp and talk about what work that is happening in their districts and teach them a little about our own. There were a lot of familiar faces from last years Camp session, but also many new faces as well. Overall, the first session was really "cool", and I am looking forward to the first day of our core modules tomorrow. 

Post by Green Team Student Leader, Kathryn 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Green Team Field Day Booth @TJH

The TJH Green Team ran a “Skee-Ball” booth during the annual Field Day on Tuesday, June 20th. Students who wanted to play the game were required to either answer an environmental question or fill out a feedback survey based on their own habits that affect the environment. Along with the game, the Green Team put their accomplishments and goals for next year on a trifold board. Plus, they had a clipboard to encourage students to sign up for the club next year. In the spirit of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”, members sought donations of gently used stuffed toys from staff to give out as “prizes” for high point winners. Thankfully, we received over 75 toys. The game was a big hit! The junior high students enjoyed the chance to fill out a survey or answer a green practice question, and the fact that they could win a prize motivated more students to participate and learn about their work.

Guest Blog by Student Green Team Leader, Kathryn

A Day at the Market - GPES Green Team

GPES Green Team shows off their work at the Maple Valley Farmer's Market

On Saturday, June 23 the Glacier Park green team and garden club set up a booth to spotlight this years accomplishments and to share bottle cap art.  Children and parents could screw recycled bottle caps onto a beautiful sunflower pattern.  Our local farmer's market is located at Rock Creek Elementary and operates every Saturday from June 16th to October 6th.  Check out the wonderful displays and selection of products from our local/regional family farmers, vendors, and local business owners.  The Farmers' Market is a great community gathering place.  As the Green Teams found out this last Saturday - it's the place to be!

Thanks to Cathy Haws, GPES Green Team Leader

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Green Team Leaders Reflect and Plan

Student and Staff Leaders from Tahoma, Cle Elum, and Seattle share sustainability practices and collaborate across districts with support from E3 Washington, work sponsored from a grant from the Boeing Company.   

“Sustainability is not a proposal for the future, not a problem from the past, but a solution created by the present,” Paul Hawken once said. This was the conclusion many drew from a Green Team Lead gathering held in McKinstry. District Officials, students, and Green Team Advisors from every campus attended this day of reflection held at McKinstry on June 21, 2012. Kim McHenry said “I’m excited that the Green Teams throughout the district are getting this opportunity to network today and talk about success as well as challenges.” Although it was held right after school was over there was a certain excitement and energy in the air, because everyone that attended was passionate about their cause. Many Green Team Advisors were happy to finally see their counterparts in other schools. With the new proposal to have Voice over Internet Protocol communication systems within the district, Dawn Wakeley states “Folks [Green Teams] work hard because they are in isolation, collaboration will help solve larger problems.” After hearing from all 8 campuses, Tahoma was able to see what steps they could take to promote their sustainability education and stewardship. Integration was the largest step in the process. With the addition of guest speakers the students were able to see the importance of sustainability education in their futures. Also helping the staff analyze the success of Tahoma’s current curriculum as well as future initiatives to pursue. The meeting gave an amazing insight to see what other school districts are doing, and also to reflect on better strategies that Tahoma could take. While analyzing our current practices we also brainstormed ideas to pursue. The realization that we create the future today hit everyone that attended and the compelling sense of action drove future talks.

Guest Post by Student Green Team Leader, Jayaram

Thursday, June 14, 2012

THS Students Bring Sustainability Lessons to RCES

The seniors at THS got to apply their knowledge of sustainability by designing and planning a lesson that would engage our elementary students in a cross-age teaching experience that was fun for seniors and elementary students alike!

Seniors worked in teams to create a lesson focusing on one aspect of sustainability – everything from protecting coral reefs to water quality to living sustainably through growing a vegetable garden and using energy-efficient and energy-saving products around students’ homes.  When the seniors got to the classroom they setup stations and the elementary kids rotated through each lesson.

“I think this is a really impactful experience for seniors,” Lydia, a THS senior, said. “We’re going to be going out into the real world, we need to think about how we will be using this.”

THS senior, Lydia, teaches RCES 4th graders about products they can use to reduce energy usage at home. 

RCES 4th graders learn about endangered coral reefs and paint their own reefs, ‘back to life.

Gabe, a RCES 4th grader takes a break from painting his reef to smile for the camera!

The cross-age teaching experience is a great chance for students of different ages to interact and learn from each other! 

Those seniors are tall!