News from Centennial Elementary School

Bradley Barnhart, Custodian and Green Team Coordinator for Centennial Elementary School in Springfield, Oregon, sent us this great update of all the fun and activities he and his Green Team have been working on this fall. We’d love to hear from more of our Oregon Green Schools about what you’ve been up to, too, so feel free to send us updates and we’ll share with everyone in our Green School network!

From Bradley:

I wanted to share with you our Green Team activities held at our school on ‘America Recycles Day’ Nov. 15th.  We held the only event registered on that day in the state of Oregon.  We’ve been quite busy this fall….lots going on.

“Centennial Elementary Students/Staff/Parents will have the opportunity to guess the number of plastic bottle caps held in a large clear container.  The nearest guess by a student, staff & a parent will each win a prize.  (note:  Plastic caps are removed in Oregon when returning certain beverage containers for 10 cent deposit – an increase adopted of 5 cents earlier this year.)  Examples of non-recyclable items often found in the school’s recycle bins will be displayed to encourage proper disposal & reduce recycling contamination.  Students will have an opportunity to sign a Recycling Pledge Poster & School Staff a Conservation Pledge.​”

It was the first time Centennial Elementary celebrated the day.  A 5 gallon water jug was donated by a local vendor to use for our ‘Guess the Caps’ activity = 1,427 caps.  Two students tied with the nearest guess of 1,500, so each received a DVD of ‘The Lorax’ or ‘Fern Gully:  The Last Rainforest’ with a refillable water bottles + a shower timer or water saving shower head.  Similar prizes were awarded to a staff member & parent.  Our carton project entry for the ‘Made By Milk’ Carton Construction Contest was also on display.

‘Made By Milk’ Carton Construction Contest

Our entry can be viewed here.

The theme this fall was sports related or olympics.  We have the opportunity to win cash prizes to help fund our future activities.  A People’s Choice of $2,500 prize is available for the project that receives the most online votes.   It starts below: 

  • November 29th – Fri., December 8th– Online voting opens to determine the People’s Choice winner.
    • ​Our 5th grade classes will be having their annual project of making ginger bread houses using empty school cartons for the framework beginning the first part of December.  This gives us another chance to do ‘Carton Crew’ & have student volunteers process milk cartons like they did for the ‘Made By Milk’ contest.
    • Our 4th/5th Green Team will be having their 1st Annual White Elephant ‘REUSE’ Gift Exchange on December 14th.  Since our team was newly formed this year & is relatively small (approx. 10 students), we’ll explore ways other students can participate in the fun.  examples:  Have each green team member invite 1-2 classmates or seek ideas from classroom teachers. 

KAB – Recycle Bowl Competition

This was the first year Centennial participated in the national ‘Keep America Beautiful ‘ Recycle Bowl’ held Oct. 16-Nov. 15.  I’ve attached our weight recordings.  It involved weighing all our school generated recyclables during that time & dividing the total by our student enrollment + full time certified teachers.  In addition, we also competed in two more categories of Waste Reduction & Food Scrap Collection.  All our trash & compost too was weighed during the competition.  Our results = 71.2% of all our school’s discards by weight didn’t go to the landfill.  We won’t know the results of the competition until Feb./March.  Weekly updates were posted on our Green Team bulletin board in the hallway where students line-up for meals.  

Coca-Cola Public Space Recycle Bin Grant

Centennial has submitted an application to receive 4 bins for collection of bottles/cans.  With the expansion of the Bottle Bill in January 2018, we hope to reach out to our neighborhood/community to collect deposits to benefit the school.  This was part of one of our Oregon Green Schools entry level goals.

Sink/Toilet/Drinking Fountain Upgrades

The district approached our school last June with the possibility of replacing classroom sinks/counters, toilets & a couple drinking fountains beginning this last summer.  Nearly all the classroom sinks/faucets have been replaced & have reduced volume water faucet aerators.  Toilets are being replaced over break periods with lower volume toilets & flushers.  Two water fountains have been replaced & include bottle refill stations.  The district hopes to use the cost savings to fund upgrades at the next school. 

Thanks, Bradley! Keep up the great work!

Wanna share your exciting projects with the Oregon Green Schools’ network? Send your update or story to us here!