The 12th annual gathering of Oregon Green Schools took place this year at the State Fairgrounds in Salem, on Thursday, March 13th. About 450 attendees came for the day, including 283 students and 80 teachers. They came from 75 private and public schools, some as far away as Ashland and Bend, to share their recycling and sustainability resources, and to learn more about the many ways to help the environment. The summit is free to all certified Green schools, and is made possible solely by the support of individual, foundation and corporate sponsors, including the generosity of 27 schools’ haulers who provided mileage and teacher substitute sponsorships.
During the day, students learned to make solar ovens from pizza boxes, how to make and maintain worm bins, how to filter water to be drinkable, and about river pollution issues. Many students were enthused about the hands-on display and information sessions on green cars, trucks and buses, courtesy of Salem’s mass transit district, Cherriots. Students took home sheets of homemade recycled paper, and armloads of art made from recycled scrap. Teens and adults shared their experiences at round table discussions, and were given an off-site tour of Garten Recycling, which provides large-scale recycling for Willamette Valley communities while providing jobs for people with disabilities.
All schools were encouraged to bring table displays about their programs, so the main hall was full of colorful exhibits. Some of these exhibits were borrowed by the Oregon Green Schools Association for display at the Better Living Expo in Portland later in the month. Attendees could also view the exhibits of a dozen companies or programs, including PGE, Schnitzer Steel Industries, BRING Recycling, and Salem Electric. Six schools described their efforts creatively in the annual Green Schools Showcase, some using videos, plays, or songs.
Students enjoyed their pizza and salad lunch and were careful to recycle the food, plates and utensils, all of which were biodegradable. In the afternoon, they were entertained by Recycleman and the Dumpster Divers, and their message of – well, “Recycle, recycle, recycle!”
A more complete report will come out with our next newsletter.