Camelot Elementary nominated for environmental award

From staff reports:

Camelot Elementary School in Federal Way is one of four schools in Washington to be nominated for the U.S. Department of Education’s new Green Ribbon Schools Award.

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction announced the nominees March 22. The award recognizes schools that excel in the areas of environmental impact and energy efficiency, healthy school environments, and environmental and sustainability education.

“Our entire school embraces these ideas of conserving and preserving our environment,” said Dani Smith, Camelot’s Green Team advisor. “Our building is focused on reducing, reusing, rethinking and recycling. No one questions what behaviors are expected. The practices easily become habit at school, at home and in our community. Camelot is indeed a green school and we all know that being green is cool.”

Programs at Camelot include:

• Lunchroom recycling and composting increased the school’s recycling rate to 53 percent.

• Student monitors take paper towels from classrooms to the lunchroom for composting.

• Styrofoam is collected and delivered to a recycling facility in Renton.

• Batteries, Capri-Sun containers, energy bar wrappers, plastic bags, film and corks are collected and recycled.

• Students volunteer many hours to make classroom presentations and weekly morning announcements encouraging conservation efforts.

• Students publish a school resource conservation newspaper and monitor students at lunchtime to support students in their recycling and composting efforts.

• A school-wide reusable water bottle fundraiser eliminated the use of plastic water bottles.

• Students raise salmon and release them into streams to spawn. This encourages them to keep water clean from contaminants and make sure wildlife has plenty of clean water.

• The school reduced energy consumption with fluorescent light bulbs, occupancy sensors, energy efficient exit signs and school-wide standards of heating and cooling points.

• Students place labels on computer and light switches as a reminder to turn off when not in use.

• Staff join in the energy conservation movement by removing personal appliances, personal space heaters, refrigerators, coffee pots and other appliances from their classrooms.  By doing so – electricity costs were reduced by 30 percent in one year.

• Green checklists are posted in each classroom and staff and students are continually educated about ways to decrease energy consumption and waste.

• Staff works closely with students to understand how personal health and fitness, as well as healthy food consumption team, together to create a healthier environment for all.

• The Camelot community recently raised $10,000 to build a community garden on the school site. The garden will serve as a platform for learning about sustainability, making a huge impact on the students and the community.

On April 23, the Department of Education will announce the awardees. A total of 33 states, the District of Columbia, and the Bureau of Indian Education were each allowed to nominate up to four schools. Other nominees from Washington are Tahoma Junior High School (Tahoma), Secondary Academy for Success (Northshore) and The Overlake School (a private school in Redmond).


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