“It Starts With a Ripple”
Place: Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem, Oregon
March 5, 2009
The 2009 Oregon Green Schools Summit was a resounding success! Thanks to the generosity of supporters such as the Juan Young Trust, Oregon waste haulers and government and corporate sponsors, 362 students and 78 adults from 75 certified Oregon Green Schools converged on the State Fairgrounds in Salem on March 5th to participate this year.
In the morning, each student attended three of 19 different sessions presented by volunteers with expertise in the areas of watershed management, energy conservation, recycling, waste reduction and sustainability. The younger students enjoyed interactive sessions where they learned such things as how to create solar ovens from pizza boxes, make and maintain worm bins, measure and track school waste generation, and monitor river pollution.
Middle and high school students and their teachers were treated to an off-site tour of Garten Services. For more than 30 years, this organization has provided large-scale recycling for communities and supported people with disabilities through employment, career, and retirement opportunities. Those who went on the tour reported being very impressed. “Eye-opening,” “Informative” and “The tour of Garten rocked my world!” were some of their enthusiastic comments.
Students enjoyed a continental breakfast, nutritious lunch and afternoon snack. They were careful to gather all of their used plates and utensils (which were composed of either paper or sugar-cane-based plastic) for composting.
After lunch, teens attended the high-school-level Green School Showcase while the younger students were treated to EarthCapades’ “H2O – A Vaudeville Show!” with fact-based conservation, songs and tricks. Useful door prizes like shower timers, bike blinkers, worm bins and reusable grocery bags were then given out. The afternoon roundtable discussions for teens and adults, led by OGSA coordinators, focused on stewardship topics of local and country-wide pertinence and allowed attendees to share their own great ideas. Green School Showcase sessions featured selected schools’ student-created presentations.
All schools were encouraged to bring tabletop displays about their programs, so the main hall was full of colorful exhibits. Attendees could also view the exhibits of companies or programs such as Cherriots, SOLV, Oregon Environmental Council, the Better Living Show, OMSI, and Marion County Public Works.
The annual Summit is the highlight of our statewide program that involves approximately 275 certified Oregon Green Schools with teams of students in active community service and ecological stewardship. Only certified schools can attend the Summit, and this year registration filled up in one week! We had many additional schools ask to be included, attesting to the increasing need for this type of educational, celebratory day.