Green Forest EAST Eco Team first in state to win National Wildlife Federation awards

Tuesday, October 4, 2011
EAST Eco Team members

Green Forest EAST Eco Team is the first school in Arkansas to be awarded the National Wildlife Federation Bronze and Silver Eco School Awards.

Eco-Schools is an internationally acclaimed program that provides a framework to help educators integrate sustainable principles throughout their schools and curriculum.

Eco-Schools is currently being implemented by 46 delegations in 47 countries around the world, involving 30,000 schools, 8 million students, 400,000 teachers and 4,000 local authorities.

In December 2008, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) was granted Eco-School host status for K-12 schools in the United States.

Green Forest EAST students have engaged in a wide range of sustainable and ecological projects that meet the Eco Schools standards for these award levels.

In cooperation with the Carroll County Solid Waste Authority, EAST members and the Middle School student council members have developed a district-wide program to recycle metal, paper and plastic.

Through a $1,500 grant students researched and ordered recycle containers and equipment to aid in collection and processing of materials on a daily basis.

Beginning in January of 2011, the Green Forest School District has recycled 10 tons of material. They thank all who have been participating.

An additional $4,747 grant from Arkansas Game and Fish Commission allowed EAST members to build two outdoor classrooms containing a composter, bird baths, bird feeders, and rain barrels to capture precipitation and water for the schoolyard habitat, reducing the district water bill.

A weather station has also been added to monitor past, current and future weather conditions.

It is hoped they can add software that will allow them to set alarms for various severe weather conditions warnings and distribute the weather information to the National Weather Service. This is a matter of importance since Green Forest has been hit by two devastating tornados in the past.

A $2,500 ADE Healthy school grant allowed EAST members to expand the hydroponic greenhouse that supplies vegetables for the cafeteria salad bar.

EAST members are currently adding solar panels and developing thermal exchange devices to cool and heat the greenhouse for year-round food production.

The EAST Eco team hopes to capture the highest NWF Eco School Green Flag Award in the near future.

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