Oak Creek Elementary, Lake Oswego

Green level 2009

Merit 1/11/10

Premier 5/17/2012 – 9/4/2018



Lake Oswego, OR

Oak Creek Elementary school is proud to be a Premier Green School and a sustainability leader in the Lake Oswego School District. Since 2008, we have been certified as a Green School and obtained Premier status in 2012! We take pride at Oak Creek for involving all of our students and staff in the 3 R’s of sustainability-Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. We have developed systems that start in the classrooms with students being in charge of their own recycling.  Each classroom has a sustainability student job that is in charge of energy reduction by turning off the lights/ computers, water conservation by being sure the faucets are not dripping and the paper/plastic recycling.  These same themes are used at our building level Green Team meetings where staff and parents plan for continued training and new green projects.

Since 2008, Oak Creek has reduced its lunch waste by almost 50% by changing to reusable trays, reducing pre-packaged fruits/vegetables, putting condiments at a pump station and having an open salad. Since 2012, we have instituted composting at lunch. Again, reducing our trash waste, as over 200 lbs a week of compost are generated for processing. The reusable trays and composting were instigated by a group of 5/6 students who won the Disney Planet Challenge or their actions. From 2012 to 2015, we have reduced our garbage by 6% per person in our building!

We have renovated an outdoor space into a native plant garden with a plant identification booklet that our 3/4 students/teachers will be able to use along with visiting the garden as they study the Oregon Trail.  We used our worm compost material to nourish the plants as students, parents and community members did the planting. We continue to maintain and expand this garden with community work parties. We used a weed barrier of cardboard before adding mulch to create a low maintenance space.

In 2014, we have had our first >95% compostable or recyclable events and were pleased that we were able to announce generating less than 5% trash waster at these events. We continue to plan and brainstorm ways to reuse, reduce, and conserve. We are interested in reducing our waste generated in all areas and work together as a team of staff, parent volunteers, and students to set and accomplish our goals.

While our school has added 150 more students, we still have maintained our sustainability goals and have added new ones. We maintain a weekly electronic newsletter, started an on-line directory for our staff and families, and re-use one-sided paper whenever possible. We compost and recycle all materials that are available to be collected by our waste provider. As well, volunteers collect and/or recycle clothing, shoes, batteries, plastic clamshells, ink cartridges, cell phones, and OR 5 cent containers.

Before 2012, we were a walking school. With the addition of new students from closing schools, we are interested in reducing our carbon footprint, so we have set goals to reduce the cars that travel through our neighborhoods during drop off and pick up times. We participated in the May Walk Bike Challenge for the entire month and had over 43% of students walking or biking to school and another 29% taking the bus. On International Walk to School Day in October, we had over 80% of students walking or biking to school!

Oak Creek is excited to be one of the leaders of sustainability in our District. We understand that there is more work to be accomplished in our school and have plans to strengthen our current sustainable practices and be an innovator of new goals to reduce, reuse, and recycle in our community.