In 1997 Kelly Creek Elementary School was the first school in Oregon to be recognized as a “Premier” Oregon Green School, and has recertified at that level six times to date. It has sustained its commitment to waste reduction under the leadership of head custodian Christa Garman and her Aardvark Recycling Teams consisting of 5th grade students who are assisted by cafeteria recycling monitors as well as a student “Light Patrol Team.”
The school’s goal to “Continue Strong Efforts in Support of Conservation” is publicly displayed on its webpage. It has sent representatives to every Oregon Green Schools Summit, presented at three of those summits, and hosted the event in 1999. It has also sponsored a district-wide custodians’ training workshop, received the AOR/DEQ Elementary School WRAP award, and utilized several City of Gresham and Metro grants which have enabled it to continually expand and refine its resource conservation program.
In 2009 Christa received the Association of Oregon Recycler’s Ray Ford Golden Torch Award for initiative, ingenuity, tenacity and longevity of purpose as well as commitment to implementing sustainable practices. The school won a $250,000 “green makeover” from the Ford Company in 2008 which enabled it to install recycled tire matting on its playground, new water saving devices, Marmoleum flooring, and new white boards made of 90% recycled products, and supported its certification as a LEED-EB SILVER school.
Kelly Creek strives to always raise the bar of their green efforts and has recently increased native plants on the school grounds to filter stormwater, started composting their cafeteria food scraps and made a recycling video to share with their school community. Congrats, team – you’re a shining example!