Schools see high marks on countywide green program

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published April 26, 2016

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EASTPOINTE/ROSEVILLE — Macomb County determined that six Roseville schools and four East Detroit schools have earned at least a “green” designation in the county’s annual Green Schools program.

Kaiser Elementary and its Green Team won “evergreen” status for the third year in a row, the highest designation available. Other evergreen-winning schools include Fountain Elementary, Huron Park Elementary and Steenland Elementary, all in Roseville Community Schools.

East Detroit’s Crescentwood Elementary earned “emerald” status, the second-highest designation, while Roseville Middle School, Eastland Middle School, Bellview Elementary, Forest Park Elementary and Pleasantview Elementary all earned “green,” the third and lowest tier of designations. Eastland is in the Roseville Community Schools, while Bellview, Forest Park and Pleasantview are in East Detroit Public Schools.

Pleasantview Elementary also received the “top green school” award from Macomb County this year, according to an East Detroit press release. Part of its efforts, which the award recognized, include adding recycling bins for paper items in the parking lot, the fourth grade participating in DTE Energy and Consumers Energy’s Think! Energy campaign about natural and environmental resources, an eco-reading program in the school library with books on recycling and the environment, and saplings for third-graders.

Fifth-grade teacher James Scott said the student council worked with teachers to make the award happen.

“As the sponsor of the student council, I was excited to hear that we had done so well,” Scott said in a statement. “Thanks to the students and staff that assisted in the process, we are the top green school in the county and we are very proud of our accomplishment.”

Christina Mondro, one of the organizing teachers of Kaiser’s Green Team, said this is the second year in a row they have received the evergreen status. The rankings are all point-based, based on what activities and projects the school works on throughout a year, starting March 1.

Some of these included teaching about alternative energy, recycling materials, doing cleanup projects around the community and along Lake St. Clair, “adopting” endangered animals by raising money for their conservation, and going to see environment-based programs at places like Cranbrook Institute of Science.

“We do worm composting here,” Mondro said. “We make bird feeders every year for our animal habitat. We’ll be going to Eastern Market in May.”

Kaiser has 29 first- through fifth-grade students and some kindergarten volunteers on its green team, which spearheads the activities and extracurricular activities. Mondro said other activities, like assemblies, involve a larger amount of students. None of the adults involved in the green team — two teachers and two parents — get paid for it, and the whole group is volunteer-run, she said.

“We don’t have money, so we try to do things that are free and that we can get families involved in,” Mondro said.

Looking ahead to next year, Mondro said they hope to do water testing.

Crescentwood teacher Traci Whetstone said last year her school was marked as the top green school in Macomb County and that everyone involved there is happy with their emerald rank this time around.

Crescentwood’s green team is made up of 12 students from the first and second grades, Whetstone said, who come up with monthly activities promoting earth and environmental awareness.

These have included planting flowers, making bird feeders out of recycled bottles and creating Halloween decorations with other recyclables, she said.

“Next week we have an assembly with a man from GM talking about alternative energies (for cars), and a woman came in from Rizzo (Environmental Services) named Victoria regarding recycling,” Whetstone said. “We’ve created posters to hang around the building promoting healthy choices and conserving our earth.”

She said they also hope to begin doing a “walkathon” in the near future, where kids would walk around the school grounds for pledges as a fundraising method for endangered animals. There would be music and activities at this proposed event, Whetstone added.

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