2010 Summit: “Saving Little Pieces…”

Oregon Green Schools Summit, March 5, 2010

“Saving Little Pieces of our Earth…One at a Time”

 Teams of representatives from Oregon Green Schools across the state were greeted by a beautiful, sunny day  as they arrived at the 14th annual Oregon Green Schools Summit at Portland Lutheran School inGresham.  TheSummit theme, “Saving Little Pieces of Our Earth…One at a Time,” stressed that one person at a time, doing one thing at a time, making one difference at a time really adds up.  As event organizer Jan Rankin told the crowd of nearly 400 during the opening ceremony, “Taking many little steps can get you a very long way.”

 Students, teachers, custodians, parent volunteers, school administrators, GreenSchool coordinators and special guests spent the fun-filled and educational day participating in school displays, networking, performing arts and hands-on activities. 

 Elementary and middle school students attended four separate educational sessions during which times a wide variety of hands-on workshops were offered.  These workshops focused on topics such as watershed management, energy conservation, recycling, waste reduction, creative reuse, sustainable agriculture, air and water quality, vermicomposting, and schoolyard gardens.  The Green School Showcase, which featured student presentations from Kelly Creek Elementary, Hammond Elementary, Pleasant Valley Elementary, Hollydale Elementary, Cesar Chavez Elementary and International School of Beaverton, was extremely popular.

 Sessions specifically designed for high school students examined sustainable food systems and considered implications of ecological footprints on a local, national and global level.  Following these, the high school representatives were treated to a field trip toGresham’s Wastewater Treatment Plant and adjacent natural stormwater filtration site as well as a stop atCentennialLearningCenter.  At CLC, they toured the school gardens, and students presented about their on-site food classes and daily preparation of school lunches which often incorporate produce from their garden.

 And let’s not forget the adults!  Adults were free to attend any workshops of their choice, but those designed with the adults in mind (OGS 101 – Stepping Up Your Program, and the Adult Roundtable) were packed to capacity with teachers, custodians, administrators and others involved with their schools’ environmental efforts.

 In the morning, all were treated to a waste-free breakfast.  Food was provided in bulk, leftovers were collected for composting, coffee was served in ceramic cups, and milk cartons and juice bottles were gathered for recycling.   To continue to produce as little waste as possible throughout the day, all school participants brought a waste-free lunch and observed a “Pack it in, Pack it out” policy whereby they took home any garbage that they had brought with them.  As a result of these combined efforts, only one small bag of compostable garbage was created during the entire event!

 TheSummit finale was provided by the Mad Science troop who treated the crowd to an active, engaging performance of “What Do You Know About H2O?”  It was a wonderful closure to a beautiful day.

 THANK YOU to all of our sponsors who made this day possible and to ourSummit volunteers, workshop presenters and OGS supporting partners.

 And a personal shout-out to the student volunteers and staff atPortlandLutheranSchoolwho showed us what hospitality is all about.