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Green in Action Semi-Finalist

Pembroke Meadows ES Green Club

Virginia Beach, VA

Here at Pembroke Meadows ES, we have a “Green Club” that focuses mainly on recycling, but also does other activities.  We are comprised of twenty-two enthusiastic 4th and 5th graders and 3 dedicated teachers who meet once a month as a whole group and every two weeks in small recycling teams.  

During the all member meetings in the spring and fall our group works on a small garden with 3 raised beds where we grow flowers, vegetables and fruits.  We use rain barrels to water the soil.   

We also recycle 9 different materials in the cafeteria and hallway in beautiful bins.  The entire school of 450 students and 75 staff members makes use of those bins.   We recycle batteries, plastic bottles and chugs, aluminum cans, printer cartridges, old cell phones, crayon pieces, plastic bags, juice pouches and chip bags.   The last two items are sent to Terra Cycle who cleans them and makes them into products they sell.  

The small student groups take turns collecting, counting and boxing recycled items to be reused, recycled or mailed away.  To date we have collected 2995 juice pouches, 2526 chip bags, 676 aluminum cans, 197 printer cartridges, 1248 plastic bags, 906 batteries and 492 crayon pieces.  In the past, we have also made stools and side tables from bowling pins and discarded wood and have made other small items from recycled materials. 

Our students have taken field trips to zoos, arboretums, museum displays and the city dump to see where our trash goes and how our city is recycling.  From time to time we have a guest speaker and we do reports on endangered species and present those reports.   Our school has hosted “Make a Rain Barrel” Workshops and presented a school-wide assembly on recycling.  We also watch and discuss various environmental videos and power points ranging from problems with plastic bottles to eating healthy foods to watching a youth orchestra in Venezuela that plays on recycled instruments.   

Our children have fun making “Green Tip of the Week” videos to play on our morning news.   We have made longer videos that we share with the student body to describe what to put in our beautiful recycle bins.

We have had great experiences with our Green Club.  Our children have expressed how they now recycle at home or have started a garden or eat better.  We hope to continue building better stewards of our planet.