The Green Action Awards will highlight exemplary work in the sustainability arena in Arlington Public Schools (APS). Specifically, we plan to recognize outstanding projects making Arlington schools more environmentally sustainable. This program is coordinated by members of the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability with the ultimate objective of promoting best practices so that other schools learn what works.
2017 Arlington Public Schools Green Action Award Winners
For the 2nd year, people and projects from APS were recognized with Green Action Awards. These projects showcase outstanding examples of projects that are focused on sustainability in the areas of Water/Stormwater, Schoolyard Habitat, Sustainable Food, Energy, Healthy Schools, Transportation, or Consumption and Waste. This year, five green action awards were presented: three for school-based projects led by teachers or student clubs and two for student science fair projects.
“The Green Action Awards recognize outstanding projects that make APS more energy efficient, cost effective, healthy, and environmentally sustainable,” said Kate Marshall, Chair of the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability (SACS). “The goal of this program is to promote best practices in sustainability so that other schools can learn what works.” The winners were selected by SACS committee members following an open application period. Read more about these fantastic projects below!
Winner: Campbell Elementary for the “Big, Bad Basil Project”
Fourth grade teachers led students in an expedition to grow their own basil, analyze recipes, and create their own vinaigrette recipes. The lessons tied in with science standards as students investigated basil anatomy. During the expedition, the teachers led a fieldwork visit to the Academie de Cuisine and a virtual FaceTime field trip to the Sea Love Sea Salt Farm. The students also engaged other community members by providing fresh basil and the Big Bad Basil vinaigrette to Kenmore Middle School and Carlin Springs Elementary.
Winner: Guston Middle School for an “Invasive Plant Removal Project”
Twice a year, Luz Chamorro, the 6th grade science teacher for the Spanish Immersion program, takes her classes to remove invasive plant species and collect trash from around and behind the school. Ms. Chamorro partners with the Arlington Regional Master Naturalists. This project preserves the watershed and sustains the school environment by promoting growth of native plants which support local wildlife. This project allows students to see “science in action,” making a powerful impression.
Winner: Yorktown High School for “Establishing a Recycling Program”
Led by senior Elizabeth Woolford, a group of students established a recycling program at Yorktown High School. The project included a waste audit to establish baseline data, co-locating recycling and waste bins across the campus, creating signs showing which items should be put in which bin, and a comprehensive education program. Elizabeth collaborated with stakeholders including Arlington’s Solid Waste Division, APS’s Facilities staff, and Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment.
Winner: Student Science Fair Projects
Sachi Cooper, Washington-Lee High School, “The Effect of Water Hyancinth Treatment on the Removal of Heavy Metals from Water and the Effect of Carbonate Solutions on the Extraction of Metal from Water Hyacinth Roots for Reuse.”
Inspired by the Flint water crisis, Sachi investigated how to effectively remove copper and nickel contamination from water. These metals can cause health issues including liver damage and even result in death. Rhizofiltration is the removal of contaminants from water using the live roots of plants. Sachi tested the use of water hyacinth and found that the plants removed two thirds of both metals. Sachi is also exploring a way to re-extract the metals from the roots of the water hyacinth plant so that they can be reused.
Lilin Keicho, Washington Lee High School, “The Effect of Natural Microbead Substitutes on Artemia.”
Micro beads are round particles that are found in cosmetic soaps. These particles float into the waterways like the Chesapeake Bay and can be fatal to water organisms as they cause blockage of the digestion system. Lilin tested natural micro bead substitutes on the activity of brine shrimp to find an environmentally friendly alternative to exfoliate the body without the harmful effects on the environment in its organisms. With the success of the microbead substitutes, she encouraged her peers to avoid buying soaps containing microbeads.