Tag Archives: environment

“It smells just like wet forest” Trinity K students learn how to sort their waste and what compost is.

New Rochelle Trinity Elementary School is entering its 5th year running the We Future Cycle recycling program and students are getting trained on how to sort their lunch waste into compost, recyclables and trash.

Like every year, We Future Cycle presenters swoop upon the school and go from classroom to classroom to playfully introduce the students to the concept of recycling and to the problems attached to garbage. All students start out considering anything empty as garbage. Upon asking if they thought I brought them recycling, they clearly were reconsidering their position and some raised their hands. And they were quite astonished to learn that I just brought them packaging material, and they decided if that became garbage or recycling. It was fascinating to watch how something shifted inside them. THEY decided on something as important as putting something in recycling.

The We Future Cycle Recycling program teaches children to separate recyclable material from food and non recyclable material, and this reduces garbage by a whopping 97%. Trinity is consistently at below 6 lbs of trash from the entire lunch of nearly 1000 students.

Students learned that packaging is similar to Lego. If is put into the correct bin, it can be taken apart again and the same material blocks can be used to build something new. Students totally get that concept!

Learning that left over food can be recycled too was a bit of a stretch for them, but when I showed them what compost looked like and let them smell it, they all agreed that it is much better to make good soil than burn our banana peel.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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New Rochelle Davis International Dinner Goes Green

This is the gym of the New Rochelle Davis Elementary school. Beautifully decorated thanks to the tireless PTA. The entire school was buzzing with the excitement of the International Dinner. Hallways walls were floor to ceiling decorated with the artwork of students depicting traditional things of their homes.

Tables weighed down with delicious foods of all corners of this earth lined the perimeter of the gym and in the middle of this all was one recycling station. Not tons of trash cans as it is often the case for these events.

Davis Elementary school under the leadership of Anthony Brambola and Laurie Marinaro have fully embraced going green and are actively supporting bringing recycling to all school events.

And parents had the chance to sort their waste just like their kids do every day. It was very charming seeing a Kindergarten student pulling mom behind her to explain carefully what item goes in what bin. And then she declared with a smile that mom now saved the world!

Yes, every one can save the world, one every day activity at a time.

Parents needed a bit of encouragement to actually look at the signage, which clearly outlined where recyclables, compostables and trash needed to be placed. But of course, once they got it, they were enthusiastic about it.

Saving the world is really about education and that small changes of every day behavior makes a huge difference. This event would have generated a whopping 20 bags of trash if we had not sorted it. Instead through sorting we had 4 bags of commingled, 3 bags of foodwaste to be composted and only one bag of trash (most of which were bunched up plastic table clothes…..mmmmh, lets switch to fabric table cloths for next year!)

Davis Elementary School is a shining example of how a whole community can be educated to become green..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Rochelle Barnard PTA Makes Field Day Waste Free

Field Day is a really exciting event. Hoards of kids, running, jumping, cheering for each other, screaming in agony over a loss or celebrating loudly for a win. Now imagine this chaos with only the littlest of our students, the Pre-K through 2nd graders at Barnard.

20180524_120355Today was field day at Barnard, and the PTA made this event completely waste free. Usually, the place is littered with ice pop sleeves, plastic cups, wrappers and empty bottles, but not here, not at Barnard. Thanks to the PTA president, who fully embraces what We Future Cycle has started in the school.

Barnard has implemented the We Future Cycle Recycling program 3 years ago and thanks to a fantastic lunchroom custodian, is consistently at less than one pound (!!!) of waste out of a lunchroom with nearly 300 kids. These 3 and 4 year olds may not be able to look over the edge of the recycling bin, but they sure know what material belongs in what bin. And when asked will proudly pipe up that they are recycling and saving the world every day.

The PTA President recently learned about We Future Cycle’s efforts to bring source separating and sustainable purchasing to all school based events so that learned sorting  behavior can be applied in other life situations as well and he immediately ran with it by making field day completely waste free. Way to go!

Kids were treated to water melon in napkins, that they carefully dropped into the compost bin when done. Voila! 20180524_120351

 

New Rochelle 7th Grader …Waking Up A Future Green Giant

Meet New Rochelle Isaac Young MS 7th grader Sophia. She won last years Green Writing Contest hosted at Isaac E Young Middle school.

unnamedOne day, while I was walking toward Isaac Young to teach 7th graders about what happens when they flush….. (yikes), she came up to me to share with me that ever since learning in 5th grade (from me) about where the garbage goes and what effects garbage has on this world, she has completely changed her ways.

She is no longer using single serve plastic bags, she only uses reusable containers for her lunch. She has a large reusable water bottle (that got promptly pulled out of the backpack side pocket as proof) and she re-organized her families waste management system, including starting to compost. Seriously way to go.

But she did not stop there, she learned about the detrimental effects of straws to our environment. 500 Million straws are used every single day in the US alone, little bits of plastic with an average use time of 2 min that end up in our environment. She researched the issue and is now a very vocal opponent of straws, sharing and educating her class mates about this topic.

I was so amazed by all her examples of how she made the switch away from plastic and how she ensures that her parents are also making smart purchasing decisions.

This is a future green giant, woken up. The power of a a middle school student that can truly change the community around her.

Seriously WAY TO GO.

 

New Rochelle High School Students Pitch In……in a big way!

This is Ms Reilly’s class. A bit of inconvenient weather did not distract them from their task of pitching in, doing their part and finding a way to solve a problem.

New Rochelle HS hosted We Future Cycle environmental education workshops across all grades and all subjects and students learned the power of one person. They learned how every solution starts with one person, that sees the problem and decides to do something about it.

And these students decided to be THE ONE, that will tackle a problem. The following Saturday morning, despite a bit of drizzle, 14 high school students fell out of bed early to go and clean up Lincoln Park and Memorial Circle. An hour worth of work that resulted in 6 bulging bags of trash. And these 14 students feel their life has changed. The power of facing a problem, and standing up to it, is truly life changing. It underlines the power of one!

Each of these students has begun to educate their peers, their parents and just people around them through their deeds. It does not go unnoticed when a group of students in green shirts (donated by Macy’s to the cause, thank you very much) are picking up trash in a public park.

Maybelin S.: It was beautiful because we all helped for a good cause, our world!

Lucero B.P.: It was nice because we were together participating in one project that serves us more in the future of our life.
Alberto V.: It was a beautiful experience to gather together to care for our planet.
Gabriela G.C.: It made me feel good because I helped. I helped to clean our public places. Now when I see garbage on the floor, I’m going to feel bad.
Faustino M.C: It seemed like something really great because we were helping our planet. We have to fight contamination.

Students learned about the detrimental effects of garbage in our environment. 23,000 tons of plastic is entering our oceans every single day, all because of human littering. Considering just how light a bottle or a foam cup is, that amount is a volume that is unfathomable.

Watching sobering videos about how marine life is dying because of ingestion of plastics brought home the deadly consequences of our “convenience”.

There was a heart warming moment, when a student raised his hand to share that he used to do contests with his buddies how far they could throw trash into the lake, but he will never do that again because he now knows. A solemn yes came to my question if he’ll stop his friends from continuing this contest.

Can we even solve this problem?

Yes!     Let me say that again.  YES, we can solve our garbage problem, but only together. Every person holds the key to success, everybody makes a difference, every day.

By cleaning up, by not littering, by reducing your own usage of single use materials, by modeling green practices to others and thus winning hearts and heads for the cause.

We can solve our garbage problem, because we MUST, there is no other planet. And these New Rochelle High School students got it, very clearly and it did not take long for them to put into action by organizing a clean up at Lincoln Park and Memorial Circle.

Way to go Ms Reilly’s class!!

New Rochelle Trinity 2nd Grader Study Biodegradable and Photodegradable Materials In Our Environment

Celebrating Earthday is no small matter in New Rochelle Trinity Elementary School. Assistant Principal Michael Hildebrand scheduled presenters from We Future Cycle for all Kindergarten through 3rd grades and the school was positively vibrating with good energy.

In class by class presentations, second graders learned concepts of what materials can bio-degrade and what that means in terms of this material entering our environment. They learned about decomposition, seed germination and a touch of the chemical processes behind that.

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Exploring if water changes the structure of plastic

Students had the opportunity to be hands-on scientists and explored how different materials interacted with water. quite messy in fact, but also eye opening  to learn and  experience that plastics are not changed by water, other than broken into smaller plastic pieces over time, until they are small enough to enter the food chain.

Watching a heart wrenching short movie about how wild life is affected by plastic in our environment started a spirited discussion on what each and every one of them can do to solve this problem.  Students decided to become vocal to educate other about the problem. Check out these fabulous posters as the result. These are mini-environmentalists on their way to become agents of change. Way to go!

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Earth Day 2018…Who is with me? Transforming a Science Teacher to Become Green.

We Future Cycle is very proud to have inspired Mrs McCue to not only become green but also to share with all of us her story.

“Mrs. McCue, are you going to stop buying bottled water?” asked one of my students gathered around me at the door, waiting for the bell to ring. Forty eyes were on me. We had just heard a We Future Cycle guest speaker teach us about water treatment and the perils of too much plastic in our world. I looked over at my desk and spied one small water bottle I had gotten that day at a school event, and two half-filled water bottles I had brought from home. “Yes – I should, shouldn’t I?”   I thought to myself, “I have no excuse. Our tap water is fine! I have several reusable beverage containers taking up space in my kitchen cabinet. Why don’t I fill those daily, like I bring my lunch to school every day? If I am going to teach these students to be responsible caretakers of the earth, I should begin by modeling responsible earth-friendly behavior!

Of course I should! Aside from hearing this message loud and clear from Anna Giordano, I had been prompted as well by a few recent news stories. The visual of the Great Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean haunted me, as did the horrific photo of the sea turtle with a plastic straw being extracted from its nose. The focus on this year’s Earth Day 2018 is: End Plastic Pollution. It’s time for me to practice what I preach.

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Several days after this “no-more-bottled-water-epiphany”, at the start of spring break, I found myself on a beach out in Long Island. It was a sunny, windy, 45 degree day, so there was not another person on this long stretch of beach. Two seagulls eyed me as I walked by, snapping their photo. I was noticing the beach erosion from several recent nor’easters and began to think about some other results of these storms. An entire tree lay on the sand. “What else may have washed in during these storms?” I thought.  As I walked along, I admired the rocks and shells, my reverie interrupted by an occasional plastic straw. I noticed a pink plastic wrist coil keychain. Then I saw remnants of a purple balloon. It looked like a piece of seaweed – this could easily be mistaken for seaweed by a hungry creature! I thought of the sea turtle as I placed the balloon remnant alongside some seaweed and snapped a photo. “I can’t just leave it there now”, I thought. If I am going to show my class this picture to illustrate the dangers of plastic in a sea creature’s diet, they will certainly ask if I removed that plastic from the beach!  So I grabbed a stick and picked up the purple balloon remnant and carried it off the beach to the nearest trash receptacle. The two gulls watched, fluffing their feathers in the wind. That got me thinking…….

Back at the house, I started to research – what can I do as Earth Day approaches to make a difference in the environment? I found an app on the Ocean Conservancy website called Clean Swell which allows you to keep track of trash collected during a clean-up. This is perfect! After spending a good ten minutes coming up with a group name (McQs for the Deep Blue), I downloaded the app onto my phone and recruited my daughter to return with me to the beach. We retrieved some of the items I had passed by earlier – the pink coil keychain, the deteriorated pocket knife, the orange disposable razor, five straws and ten bottlecaps.  All of these items were collected from a half-mile stretch of seemingly pristine beach in a period of 45 minutes. Imagine the  amount of plastic that might be lurking beneath the sand at a much more traveled beach? Imagine the impact a larger group of volunteers could have?

As Earth Day 2018 approaches, I WILL use less plastic by not purchasing water bottles.  I would also like to organize or join a beach clean-up. This clean-up may be “a drop in the ocean”, but if more of us take this idea and run, it will be a much cleaner ocean when we’re done. (no rhyme intended).  Who’s with me?