business seenAllen Montessori Aca...
civic forumFour More "R"S For B...
It’s a Time for Givi...
Run, Run Rudolph!
Texas and Allen Recy...
City hosts annual Ch...
collegeA Nobel Legacy
featureMurray Stein: Living...
financeRetirement concerns ...
helping handsIt’s a Time for Givi...
kids kornerDeck the Halls with ...
libraryBach to Books presen...
parentingSurviving Boomerang ...
people seenPeople Seen
schoolThe Foundation for L...
snippetsSt. Jude Craft Fair
Payal Modi is awarde...
Parents and teachers at Boon Elementary have added a few more "Rs to the traditional three known as reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic. Last year, the school PTA began developing an environmental program for children at Boon, with a focus on the environmental "Rs" of reduce, reuse, recycle, and rebuy.
Mary Thomson, serving as the PTA’s Environmental Program Chair last year, became the "guru of green," as she gathered environmental information to share with students and their parents, planned environmental awareness events, and engaged both students and parents in environmental activities.
Students learned that the most vital environmental strategy is to reduce the amount of refuse that ends up in trash bins. They also learned how important it is for people to reuse what they buy, and as much as possible to maximize its value (i.e. repairing, refurbishing, or refilling). Students also learned that after you’ve used the least amount of stuff and reused as much of it as possible, you should recycle what is left and rebuy recycled materials whenever practical.
"Students were amazed to find out about 80 percent of what normally ends up in the landfill can and should be recycled," said Thomson.
At the end of the year, Thomson held an "If I Could Make Boon More Green I Would..." contest. Response to the contest was overwhelming and Thomson promised to implement many of the ideas submitted. The first place winners were Lori Yessuff and Caitlin Anderson, both currently seventh graders at Ereckson Middle School. Yessuf and Anderson recommended creating a new Boon student club to focus on environmental education and experiences for students.
This year, Thomson passed on her responsibilities as PTA Environmental Chair to Sue Kacines, who took on her new role with enthusiasm. She strives to educate and empower Boon students.
"Even one person in a family can make a difference in helping the environment," said Kacines.
During the first month of school, Kacines and Kris Pond, the school’s interim art teacher, helped students save approximately five thousand milk cartons from the landfill. Over several weeks, the reclaimed milk cartons were collected from students in the cafeteria, taken home to be cleaned and then returned to school for students to use in art projects. The project transformed trash to treasure in the form of multi-dimensional art.
"We hit the ground running with our recycling program thanks to help from parents, teachers, school administration, custodial staff and support from the City of Allen," said Kacines.
A "No Trash Lunch Day" was held, creating an opportunity for parents and students to practice the concept of changing the way lunches are prepared to reduce the amount of trash discarded. Educational materials went out to parents before the event, and volunteers were on hand in the cafeteria to help students figure out which items from their lunches could be recycled. A competition was held between grades to see which grades were most successful at following the "No Trash" concept. The kindergarteners and third graders won the contest, and the efforts of all grades resulted in 75 pounds less garbage than on a normal lunch day.
"A little imagination can save a lot of space in our landfills," according to Kacines. "And, children who can imagine more than one use for an item will likely re-use or re-purpose items, instead of just tossing them into the garbage."
Kacines, with assistance support from Mary Thomson, Clarissa Mitchell and Angie Butler, started the Boon Environmental Club. The official kick-off for the club took place during the PTA’s Environmental Night meeting in early September. Representatives from the City of Allen, Keep Allen Beautiful, Live Green, Heard Museum and Texas Master Naturalists provided hands-on environmental education activities for students at the event. Students enjoyed the chance to touch snakes and learn about their region’s environment and issues and many students joined the club.
The Boon Environmental Club is open to students in grades three through six. In addition to attending several meetings after school throughout the year, students will volunteer at Dayspring Nature Preserve Creek Clean Ups, and will take part in several field trips, including a trip to the CWD Recycling Center.
The club also will promote the many opportunities Boon Elementary School offers for recycling. Boon volunteers coordinate recycling for plastic bags, cell phones, iPods, MP3 players, inkjet cartridges, laser cartridges, DVDs and video games. To help keep parents and students informed about recycling, as well as about the many activities sponsored by the Boon Environmental Club, the PTA includes an environmental section on their Web site.
Boon students are becoming environmentalists in every sense of the word. As more PTAs and schools join the effort, tomorrow is certain to be a brighter and cleaner day for all. To learn more about these exciting activities go to: www.boonelementarypta.org.
Tips for packing a waste-free lunch every day:
Start with a reusable lunchbox —Avoid disposable plastic and paper bags.
Pack your food in reusable containers— Avoid plastic bags, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, and prepackaged foods whenever possible.
Include a drink in a refillable bottle—Avoid single-use juice boxes, drink bottles, cans, and pouches whenever you can.
Add reusable utensils— Eliminate disposable utensils.
Use a cloth napkin— Eliminate paper napkins.
Useful links: laptoplunches.com, happy-sacks.com, reusablebags.com