Tag Archives: Columbuselementaryschool

New Rochelle Columbus lunch monitor adds artistic detail to recycling station

Meet Gloria, a wonderful lunch monitor at New Rochelle Columbus Elementary school. For nearly 3 hours, every day, she smiles at her students, opens endless milk cartons for them, helps with anything and all around eating lunch and then is the driving force to make sure that Columbus students sort their lunch waste according to the We Future Cycle system. She is passionate about saving the environment and found her calling to make sure things run smoothly in that very busy lunchroom.

The lunchroom features two recycling stations, neatly signed with large colorful posters, but Gloria added a wonderful personal and artistic touch to it, by taking the actual materials and creating a cute mobile to be hung right over the opening as yet another visual reminder for correct sorting.

Thank you Gloria for making Columbus’ station special.

Advertisements

New Rochelle Columbus gets new recycling station

New Rochelle Columbus Elementary School has been a front runner in environmental consciousness. This school joined the We Future Cycle recycling program during the early stages and Assistant Principal Shelly Owens has been a steadfast supporter.

Columbus’s lunchroom is teeming with kids during lunch, a well orchestrated bee hive of age matched students. 5th grade with K, 4th with 1st ……all to ensure an oiled machine of a student buddy system for peer help.

Until recently, Columbus was rather low tech when it came to the recycling station. But no more. Since September 2018, all New Rochelle schools are sporting a gleaming stainless steel recycling table with large signage. And students and staff are loving the new look.

20181019_131138 (1)Columbus school treasures its Green Team students that are up and ready to help their fellow classmates at the stations. Donned with reusable gloves they are hard at work to make sure that each material is going into the right bin. And the work is paying off.

Waste Audits consistently show a diversion rate into recycling or composting of 95%.

Can you imagine what our world could look like if EVERY SCHOOL diverted 95% of its waste. Not only would we reduce 95% of our trash, we would also retain 95% of our resources. Food waste makes nutrient rich soil that could replace chemical fertilizer. And recycling our papers, metals and plastics reduces the energy and water consumption during production by over 90%. These numbers are staggering.

And Columbus students totally get it!

 

 

 

New Rochelle Columbus Students Pledging to Make Good Choices

unnamed-3
Principal Michael Galland introduces We Future Cycle

As a sustainability consultants to the largest school districts in Westchester County, We Future Cycle presenters get to talk to many students, personally my favorite part of the job.

I usually bring a full bag of all kinds of packaging material which I theatrically empty onto a table in front of the students and then neatly arrange the empty bottles, empty cups, empty wrappers, empty boxes, empty bags, empty juice pouches. I remain quiet while listening to the students wondering aloud what I was doing with all that garbage. Some positively snare at it.

I then ask the students what I brought them, holding up a random empty packaging item. A kindergarten student would tell me exactly what I held in my hand…a bottle, ….a can…. a fork. By 2nd grade latest,  I get disgusted shout outs of “garbage!”, or “trash”…..with the occasional “recycling” thrown in.

I start by telling them that I did not bring them trash. I pause. They are quiet and bewildered. Then I tell them that I did not bring them recycling. Again I pause. By now, the students are clearly confused, but their interest is very much peaked, there is no sound to be heard, they are anxiously awaiting my answer. And then I tell them, that I brought them material and they decide every time they discard something if it becomes recycling or trash, just by choosing the right bin. Walking them through the example of building with lego brings the concept “many small pieces make something usable, which can be broken down again into small pieces” very much home to them. They got that. When I asked them if they would ever consider throwing their lego in the garbage, they emphatically call out “no” and when I ask them if they ever considered throwing their left over sandwich into the lego box, they paused for a split second and also called out “no”, but in that split second, they got it. They got that everything has its place and mixing it is no good.

Teaching them from here on was a breeze. At the end,  when I asked them if they are going to make good choices now as to where they put their material, I got an enthusiastic positive response. New Rochelle Columbus students are pledging to make every time they have to discard something the right choice! Way to go, Columbus!

 

The Moment That Made These Students Environmental Leaders

Meet Elizabeth Ortiz, Araceli Oseguera, Evelyn Argueta, Sofia Alvarez, Diego Ayala, Malaysia Dias, Alejandra Garcia and Isabella Ceja. These steadfast Green Team members at Columbus Elementary School have put themselves in charge of making sure the recycling system in the lunchroom is well organized and supervised. Every single day, they come up to help.

Today, We Future Cycle’s Executive Director Anna Giordano took some time to interview these future leaders to find out what their personal moment was, when they realized they just had to get up and do something.

Diego Ayala remembered that when he saw on his way home from school a soda can in the street with a small animal stuck in it, it just made click in his head and heart and he became a leading force in Columbus and his family to make a difference.

Other action stirring moments were the observation of a plastic bag in a tree and a bird having gotten entangled in it. Or a powerful documentary on TV about marine mammals entangled in plastic bags, or a pigeon getting stuck in a carelessly thrown away sauce cup.

Each student recalled this pivotal moment in their lives with great sincerity and it is that sincerity that shows each time they get up to help and go out of their way to make a difference. I am sure we will see many more great things from these exceptional students.

857 plastic bags per minute used in Westchester alone

DSCN2265This it what 857 plastic bags look like, strung up on a clothes line, and spread out to make a powerful statement. It is truly a mind boggling amount. It took 7 children two lunch periods to string them all up.

DSCN2284New Rochelle Columbus students are learning just HOW bad plastic bags are for our environment and how the small effort of bringing your own bag to the grocery store can make a huge difference.

In powerful essays, these students laid out just how easy it is to solve this problem, just bring your own bags.

 

Cash for New Rochelle Columbus Students Essay Contest Winners

New Rochelle Columbus Students are diving deeper and deeper into sustainability education and they are loving it.

We Future Cycle in collaboration with the St. John’s Episcopal Church on Wilmot Rd in New Rochelle sponsored a “How Do Plastic Bags Affect Our Environment” Research Essay Contest, open to 4th and 5th grade students.

Science Teacher Elizabeth Zahn taught in Science Lab the life cycle of plastic. Students learned that it took millions of years for minerals to be compressed to become oil, which is the basis for plastic production, whereas it only takes 3 seconds to make a plastic bottle. And this plastic bottle will take 1000 years before it goes away.

Ms Zahn skillfully walked the students through the realization, that saying it takes 1000 years to go away is really  a way to say forever. And that is truly what it is, plastic will NEVER biodegrade, it only photo degrades into smaller pieces of plastic that make it  into our food chain and are impossible to clean up.

Students researched the topic, wrote an essay about their findings and the judges Irene Schindler and Jennie Talley had a hard time choosing the top 8 entries among the record breaking 90+ participants. Nearly all 4th and 5th graders took the opportunity to enter. They knew from last years writing contest that Cash could be won!

DSCN2262Ms Nunez, Principal shared nuggets of wisdom from each winner’s essay with the applauding crowd and the students were very proud to receive their certificate and envelope, get a hug from Ms Owens, AP, and have their picture taken.

Here is a profound observation by Valeria Mendez  5th Paradiso.
“Did you know that only 5% of plastic is actually recycled, the other 95% is in the streets or the sea. Plastic bags are not the best choice to go shopping. THey end up in the sea, harming marine animals. And this is happening because of us!”
DSCN2271Naydelin Garcia Alonso, (5th Paradiso) understands that it takes all of us to solve this problem.
“Have you ever seen plastic bags stuck in trees or polluting oceans, lakes and rivers? Well, they got there by people throwing them out in the garbage or littering. How are we ever going to help the Earth? We all need to do our share to help”
Evelyn Madrid (5th Paradiso) understands the basic underlying reason for this problem is within us and how we value money.
” People and companies have been putting profit, laziness and convenience ahead of public safety. Companies don’t care about public safety and what’s good or bad for the environment, they just care about making money”
Jason Zheng (5th Paradiso) knows that nobody is too little to make a difference.
“Even though the world is already polluted as it is, we can still make a difference. Recycling correctly instead of mixing up trash and being lazy. Volunteer for shore cleanups. Don’t think your help doesn’t make a difference, because if everyone thinks that, nobody will decide to make a difference. Even the littlest thing, like using a reusable bag instead of a plastic bag will make a difference”
DSCN2274Valerie Schellenbach (4th Watkins) was blown away by the sheer number of plastic bags every year, and she shares :
“We Americans use between 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags per year. Did you know it takes 1000 years for plastic brake down, and only 1% of bags are recycled? All this misuse of plastic is causing severe pollution to the environment”
DSCN2275Darien Chen  (4th Guadanini) understands that every little bit helps, and what might look small for us, is a big thing if everybody does it.
“There are many negative impacts in the environment by plastic bags. Plastic bags harm the world and the living things. It is very important that we reduce, reuse and recycle. This may be a small thing, but it benefits the world that we live in”
DSCN2276Mia Torres (4th) has done some research on the long term effects of our current consumption projectory and she encourages all her classmates to let their voices be heard. You go, girl!
“Scientists predict that if we don’t start caring for our oceans that by 2050 there will be more plastic then fish in it? But you can make a difference by instead of plastic bags use reusable one. Make your family well aware of the issues and see if you can help out in any way by reducing, reusing and recycling.”
Arianna North (5th Pomerantz) is realizing that littering is not just bad for the environment but it also costs us all a lot of money. Money we could find much better uses for.
“All over the world we are having problems. The entire eco system is at risk. All because of plastic bags, that are thrown away. Thrown away but never gone. Did you know that each time you litter, you throw away money? “

 

 

 

 

WFC Documentary “Columbus Makes a Huge Difference”

This short documentary features the journey of a school from 22 bags weighing 400 lbs , to fully sorting its waste, reducing overall garbage by a whopping 98% while diverting valuable resources into recycling and composting, and sending 55 lbs of untouched food to the soup kitchen, that would have gone into the garbage otherwise.

Oscar-worthy performances by all grades at New Rochelle Columbus Elementary Students.