2006 Summit,”Follow the Rainbow…”

Oregon Green Schools from across the state sent their students, teachers, and recycling educators to the 10th Annual Oregon Green Schools Summit hosted by Willamette High School on March 17th in Eugene. In cars, busses and vans, they “Followed the Rainbow to a Greener World” and learned the many ways to conserve school resources to create a greener school, community and world.

The day started with an inspiring presentation by Jo Rodgers, Recycling Educator from BRING Recycling to a full house of nearly 400 representatives from 68 schools. Students brought school displays showcasing their school programs, and exhibitors were on hand throughout the day to encourage greater resource conservation. Alex Cuyler, Chair of the Association of Oregon Recyclers spoke at lunch about empowering each student to make a difference greening our world.

Students attended educational sessions (see down below) centered on resource conservation themes. Student favorites included the Oregon Green School showcase, paper-making, waste audits, worm bin composting, Recycle Jeopardy, and Watt Watchers. Other sessions focused on maximizing school recycling, creating school gardens and wildlife areas, modernizing Oregon’s bottle bill, sustainable agriculture, electronics recycling, watershed protection, polystyrene recycling, adult and teen roundtables, giant but lovable bugs, and a real favorite… electric car racing by Willamette High’s very own racing team.

The day would not have been possible without the help of all the Oregon Green School Coordinators who planned the event. A special thank you goes to Willamette High’s Ecology Class volunteers for their help before, during and after the Summit. Bethel School District Catering Services provided a delicious and healthy breakfast and lunch on washable service-ware, and all food waste and soiled paper was composted after the event.

Many thanks too, go to our sponsors! School waste and recycling haulers covered the cost of teacher reimbursements and transportation, and other generous sponsors covered the costs of food, materials, entertainment, volunteer t-shirts and more!

The Summit finale was “The Recycling Magic Show” by Washington State Magician Steffan Soule. Students were awed and educated as they “assisted” him in many of his magic tricks, each tied to a recycling message and theme. Door prizes by coordinators, exhibitors and summit sponsors made it possible for everyone to take home a special gift to remember the day.

Many attendees were treated to rainbows in the sky on their way home from the Summit, and left knowing that the real pot of gold at the end of their rainbow was their school, their home, their community and this planet we call home.

Here are some quotes from teachers and students that attended the Summit



“I was pleased to see so many young people informed and involved as presenters!”

“Our school has attended the Green Schools Summit before but this was a first time for me. I was very impressed. Excellent sessions and enthusiasm. Thanks to all for their efforts!”

“A fantastic event which inspired me and the kids to get excited about being a Green School and gave us great ideas about how to become a Merit school.

Wonderful all around, I loved that the kids went to session on their own.

Great, great, great day! Thank you all so much!”

“I love the inspiration, sharing, and positive focus of this event.”

“It is great to be a part of something grand!”


“I thought this was great. I want to come next year.”

“I loved this summit because there were so many fun activities”

“This is one of the best field trip I have ever been to, it was awesome!”

“Thank you for a great day of fun and learning, I hope I get to come back again!”




Session Times: Session 1, 9:30-10:15 – Session 2, 10:30-11:15 – Session 3: 12:15-1:00



Come learn how to entice wildlife to your schoolyard. Learn about the uniqueness of your school’s local ecology. Create a “Habitat Real Estate” ad to convince wildlife to come to your schoolyard habitat. Participants will receive and learn how to grow a native plant/seed to take back to their school.

Presenter: Amy Rowe, 4H Professional Faculty, Lane County OSU Extension Office


Hey, hey, wanna know what’s in the computer you play games on? Wanna know how it comes apart? Join Computer Reuse and Recycling Center for a complete computer and monitor tear down! We’ll show you how to get in the box, how to upgrade it, and talk about what materials make up a computer. We’ll let you know why it is so important to recycle obsolete electronic hardware too!

Presenter, Lorraine Kerwood, Computer Reuse and Recycling Center


Get inspiration, ideas and insights into waste reduction and resource conservation from your peers! Come hear and see students share the unique ways they are contributing to a sustainable future through their Green School projects. Moderator: Eileen Stapp, School Waste Reduction Education Coordinator, Clackamas County Recycling Partnership


Papermaking is an ancient craft and a modern day method of recycling fiber. Learn how easy and fun it is to make your own paper. Already know how? Come experiment with new techniques, different styles and ways to make it easier. Participants will take home several of their own creations.

Presenter: Jo Rodgers, Education Coordinator, BRING Recycling


A school garden gives you the chance to have class outside and work together to grow food while learning science, math, ecology, and agricultural skills. Make it happen at your school! Learn how to make your school grounds greener by creating vibrant and sustainable school gardens and habitats. If your school is already making compost, learn how to put it to use in a school garden. With adults, we will discuss forming a garden committee, selecting and preparing a site, planning systems for irrigation, weed control, storage, and compost, choosing plants, and caring for the garden. Kids will get to draw a design for a garden at your school and then get your hands dirty as you identify different types of soil and some bad weeds to watch out for. Plant a seed to take home! Presenter: Sharon Blick, Executive Director, The School Garden Project of Lane County


Come see, touch, and hold huge live bugs from all over the world! Learn about their life cycles, adaptations, and importance in nature. Even if you don’t learn to love bugs in this session, you will learn to appreciate and understand them better and fear them less. By learning to feel more comfortable with bugs today, you will be less likely to kill them with poison tomorrow, and the result will be a much more healthy and sustainable world.

Presenter: Sharon Blick, “The Bug Lady”


Start your engines! The Eugene Water & Electric Board’s Solar Challenge is a classroom-based competition of solar powered model cars for 6th, 7th and 8th grade students. The selected vehicles from each classroom compete in a district wide competition. All participatnt work with identical solar panels and motors. Cars are judged on the basis of design and craftsmanship as well as performance. You’ll work with solar panels to see first hand how they work and you’ll perform aerodynamic tests showing how design alters speed. A good time will be had by all.

Presenters: John Bezelj and Allen Hughes, Eugene School District 4J


Hands on activities to learn about healthy watersheds. Students will create and use a watershed model to see how land use may lead to pollution in streams and learn why it is important to keep streams clean. Students will discuss and learn steps they can take to prevent water pollution. Claudia Chinook, the 29foot salmon with an internal landscape mural and the lifecycle of Pacific salmon will also visit students depending on rental availability.

Presenter: Deborah Topp, Natural Resources Outreach Specialist, City of Salem

WATT WATCHERS: Attract – To – Zap 

Learn Hair raising facts about electricity and generations. This powerful presentation teaches how using electricity affects our environment. It’s shocking! Lots of hands-on electricity demos.

Presenter: Kat Hill, Utilities Conservation Specialist, Salem-Keizer Public Schools

WATT WATCHERS: Now We’re Cooking! 

Learn how to make your own solar oven—great for camping and saving energy. We’ll make solar S’Mores if there’s sunshine.

Presenter: Kat Hill, Utilities Conservation Specialist, Salem-Keizer Public Schools


With this fun reuse project we’ll brainstorm recycle slogans, images and fun ideas that make recycling at your school not only fun but fashionable! Make buttons or decals to identify recycling team members, or make bumper stickers that promote the program in general: “My kid recycles at XXX Middle School” Lots of materials available to work with.

Presenters: Nancy Zimmerman, Materials Exchange Center for Community Arts (MECCA)



Learn how to turn garbage into gold! Discover the deep dark secrets of the earth and the magic that sustains old growth forests as well as your school garden. Get hands on and learn to make a worm bin for your classroom! We’ll combine shredded paper, leaves, red wigglers and our very own recipe for “yucky food waste salad”. Maybe YOU will win a worm bin to take back to your classroom!

Presenter: Cindy Wise, Volunteer Coordinator Compost Specialists, OSU Lane County Extension


Do you ever dream about being a private investigator? Are you fascinated with the things that others choose to throw away? Do you look for any excuse you can find to wear plastic gloves? If so, this session was created just for you! We’ll sort out and weigh a collection of school garbage to expand our knowledge of waste reduction and resource use. When we’ve finished, you’ll know how to conduct waste audits at your own school or home and use them to track your waste reduction efforts. This session has been rated “two thumbs way up” by Oscar the Grouch. Don’t miss it!

Presenter: Heidi Liedtke, Environmental Education Specialist/Americorps, Marion Co. Public Works


“ I’ll take Landfill Legacy for 200 points, Alex” may not be something you’d hear on the “Jeopardy” TV show, but in our version you’ll play and test your knowledge of waste reduction, composting, energy and trash. Prizes will be awarded based on total score…and everybody wins!

Presenter: Chris McCullough, Waste Reduction Manager, Douglas County Public Works


This session will discuss and demonstrate several alternative energy transportation and solar projects that students of Willamette High’s industry and engineering Course design and construct. You’ll hear of the designing, building, and racing, of Electrathon vehicles– one-person ultra efficient electric vehicles raced to test efficiency as well as handling ability. We will also discuss the conversion of a Chevy S-10 pickup to a 144-volt electric (that we are hoping to finish this year), two full sized solar PV systems, and model alternative energy/transportation projects. We will discuss how the class is taught and the educational value of these various “green” projects. Several of the smaller “model” projects that students constructed like solar and magnetic levitation vehicles will also be demonstrated and discussed. This is an excellent opportunity for educators and others interested in electric vehicles and PV solar to get a general

Presenter: Mike Hodgert, Willamette High Physics/Engineering Teacher



Alex Cuyler, Chair of the Association of Oregon Recyclers, will provide students with an overview of the United State’s first bottle bill and the effect that it had and continues to have on the state of Oregon. He’ll provide students with an update of how the Association of Oregon Recyclers and others have approached making changes to the bill in order to reflect societal changes that have occurred since its inception in 1971. This presentation will give students a first hand look at how laws are passed in Oregon and the steps required to change or update state laws. If you’ve ever wondered why water bottles don’t have a nickel deposit, this is a presentation you shouldn’t miss. Changes are in the wind for beverage container recycling in Oregon, and Oregon’s students may have a key role to play during the upcoming legislative session.

Presenter: Alex Cuyler, Recycling Analyst, City of Eugene


In this session we will look at and discuss in depth the designing, building, and racing, of Electrathon vehicles. These are one-person, ultra-light, ultra-efficient electric vehicles that are raced to see who can travel the farthest in one hour with just 67 pounds of standard lead acid batteries. Often these travel near 50 miles in the one-hour race. This project is the cornerstone of an engineering course offered at Willamette High School. We will briefly discuss how the class is taught and the educational value of these cars as a high school project. There will be several of these cars in various stages of construction as well as completed that participants will have the opportunity to climb into and study. Several students will be in the lab working on their vehicles preparing them for a race the following day in Portland and available for questions. The students that designed and built them will demonstrate their Electrathon vehicles in the parking lot. This is an excellent opportunity for educators and others interested in electric vehicles to learn more about them. These races are open to anyone that has a valid drivers license and it is a very fast growing motor sport that promotes “green” transportation. Several handouts and other information will be distributed.

Presenter: Mike Hodgert, Willamette High Physics/Engineering Teacher


Have you ever checked out the garbage cans in your school cafeteria to see what is being thrown away? Students at Churchill High School did and were very upset by the amount of ‘garbage’ and the large number of recyclable items being thrown away daily. Learn how a group of students reduced waste in the school cafeteria by implementing a recycling program for the polystyrene (#6 plastic) school meals are served on as well as other recyclable products. Learn the step-by-step process we found successful in reducing the amount of garbage we produced in our cafeteria by 50%.

Presenter: Tim Whitley, Teacher, Rachel Carson Center, Churchill High


Come join other “green” teens from around the state to talk about the issues, challenges and successes you’ve experienced with promoting sustainability at your school. Don’t miss this popular session!

Facilitator: Amy Wilson, Waste Reduction Educator, Metro Regional Services


In this interactive workshop, Food for Lane County, The Lane County Food Coalition, and students from BITE Hunger (Be Involved To End Hunger) share experiences and lessons learned from their efforts to increase local healthy food in schools–and inspire students to improve their community through school food and gardening projects.

Presenter: Jen Anonia, Gardens Program Manager, Food for Lane County


Learn about Willamette High’s recycling improvements and share your own. This student-lead presentation will reveal winning techniques for becoming a Merit school and what it takes to aim for Premier.

Presenter: David Novak, Science Teacher, and students, Willamette High School


TEACHERS, ADVISORS AND OTHER NON-STUDENT ADULTS! Please come participate in this lively discussion! We’ll network, learn about other schools’ projects, share resource conservation strategies, talk about getting help from peers, and address other relevant topics of your choice.

Facilitator: Jan Rankin, Schools Recycling Coordinator, City of Gresham, Paul Seitz, Senior Program Educator, Washington County