New Rochelle Trinity Elementary School is a shining example on how teaching students young creates life long behavior changes. Two years ago, We Future Cycle introduced the Waste Free Snack program to the school. All students went through class by class presentations about how to reduce packaging waste from snack in the classrooms in addition to making healthier snack choices.
Part of the program is that the healthy snack waste like the banana peel or the apple core will NOT go in the trash, but will be brought by the students down to the lunchroom to be combined with the lunch compost.
On my recent visits to Trinity I was reminded again that learning young is the basis for life long learning.
Check out this student very carefully transporting and combining her classrooms healthy snack waste with the compost from the lunchroom.
Last night was one of those moments that will stay with me for life.
At the Beczak Environmental Education Center, a Satellite Campus for Sarah Lawrence College We Future Cycle was honored with not just one award but with four !
County Executive Rob Astorino took time out of his busy schedule to present a Westchester County Proclamations to Anna Giordano. What an honor to have June 8th proclaimed the official We Future Cycle Recognition day. Thank you!
MaryJane Shimpsky, County Legislator District 12, on behalf of Senator George Latimer awarded We Future Cycle the New York State Senate Proclamation and gave a heartfelt speech on how she has followed the progress the organisation made. We Future Cycle presented in the past twice to the Board of Legislators and Ms Shimpsky has always been a big supporter in word and deed. Thank you!
NY State Assemblyman Tom Abinanti presented the NYS Assembly Citation to We Future Cycle on behalf of Assemblyman Steve Otis and Assemblywoman Amy Paulin. Thank you
And to top it all off, We Future Cycle was awarded the Green Seal Award from the Federated Conservationists of Westchester County.
We are humbled and honored by the recognition and are excited to continue our work to make Westchester County school lunchrooms a nearly waste free environment by diverting 97% of the waste into recycling and composting all the while teaching students about how they are making a difference.
The annual process of locker clean out entailed until today a line of garbage cans in each hallway, and students just taking armful over armful of stuff out of their lockers to dump. A school of 1500 kids would easily generate 7500 lbs of material, all in over 100 plastic bags. A tremendous cost to the school in terms of man power, bags and carting cost.
New Rochelle’s Isaac E. Middle School tackled this challenge with the help of We Future Cycle. The school has adopted the We Future Cycle recycling program last year and has since diverted 97% of its waste into recycling or composting streams. Students are sorting at breakfast, lunch and in their classroom.
So extending that “new normal” behavior into the hallways during locker clean out was no problem at all. All it took was 3 bins, clearly marked, some directions to the students and some supervision, and voila! 98% of the materials from the lockers were sorted into paper recycling or commingled.
Just. Like. That !
100 bags of trash transformed into 9 brimming full paper recycling toters, 2 toters of commingled and maybe a total of 15 lbs of non recyclables.
We Future Cycle has been hired by the New Rochelle School District to bring sustainability education to the students. Our favorite activity is to do a Worm composting workshop with elementary students. Recently all Webster 1st graders got to meet their new friends, the Eisenia Fetida worms.
Students learned how important worms are for our environment, they cringed a bit when told how worms eat all kinds of stuff that falls on the ground and they openly gasped when learning just HOW much worms can eat on a daily basis and that the brown stuff they saw were actually worm castings (the correct word for worm poop 🙂
Making connections between muscle movements and its affect on how something can propel itself forward made them laugh, but all of them continued to flex their muscles to try it out.
All students got down and dirty, armed with a magnifying glass to examine the sample of worms they received on a moistened paper towel in front of them. They observed size differences, looked for coloring differences to identify what is the mouth and what is the anus of the worm, checked out the movements and searched for baby worms. Loud cheers followed by droves of kids swarming to the neighboring table when news came that a cocoon was found.
All in all, the basic information that all life matters and that worms have important jobs to do by taking our waste and turning it into something fantastic will stick with these young learners. That is the Webster Way.
When we launch the We Future Cycle program at schools, we work with administrators, custodians, aides, and food service to get the mechanics of the program implemented and humming. However, ultimately the goal is to give program ownership to the students. They are the ones who must learn to separate their lunch leftovers into the appropriate bins, and they are the ones who bring the recycling message home to their families and extended communities.
Fortunately, this is not hard to do! Students absolutely love sorting their lunch leftovers…it’s fun! As well, they thoroughly understand that their actions have a direct benefit on the environment, and they know that what they do makes a difference.
This said, even enthusiastic students need to know that their principals, school lunch aides, and parents support the program to foster sustained compliance, and students also need a refresher from time to time about how the lunchroom sorting works. Fortunately at the BMP Ridge Street School in the Blind Brook District, a 5th grader took it upon himself to spearhead that refresher!
Jackson Welde, 5th grade student, noticed that his peers were becoming a bit sloppy in the lunchroom, so he asked his principal if he could create a presentation to show at the monthly school-wide student assembly. (Click on the image to view a segment of the presentation.) The principal enthusiastically said “Yes!” and within a couple months, this presentation happened. The K-5 students were attentive listeners, and they learned compelling facts about plastic and paper waste as well as about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The presentation reminded students that properly sorting their leftovers in the lunchroom has ramifications to the health of their own environment, as well as to the environment around the world.
We Future Cycle encourages students to lead the environmental initiatives in their schools by making presentations such as these, as well as through Green Writing Contests, environmental education, and many other projects. Giving students ownership of environmental programs promotes the values and responsibility necessary to instill a lifetime of environmental stewardship.
We Future Cycle is exceedingly proud that the White Plains and New Rochelle Schools are honored at the upcoming Westchester County Earth Day for their participation in the We Future Cycle Recycling Program that diverts 95% of their waste into recycling and composting streams.
Ridgeway Elementary School Principal Tashia Brown will be receiving the award in the name of the White Plains School District and New Rochelle Jefferson Assistant Principal LeAnn Bruno will be receiving it for the New Rochelle School District.
Both are well deserved, both are champion supporters of the We Future Cycle Sustainability Programs and have gone out of their way to personally support the efforts of their students.
We Future Cycle is so proud of White Plains MAS students. The school adopted the WFC recycling program in February of 2017 and under the energetic leadership of Assistant Principal Rob Janowitz the school transformed the way it dealt with garbage in record time, catching the hearts and souls of the students. Empowering them to be the change agent and to run the program.
We Future Cycle presented to all students the detriments of garbage and how simple changes in behavior can make a huge difference. MAS students got it immediately.
“Sorting is easy and fun”
“I help every day with the younger grades and I love it”
Within a week this school was a well oiled sorting machine. Students signed up to supervise the lunchroom stations, teachers created the classroom job of Recycling Ranger and overall garbage dropped by 98% through sorting and diversion into recycling and composting streams.
This change even caught the attention of the White Plains Board of Education. Click on the image or link below to hear the BOE member and Superintendent gushing about how proud they are of their students. It is truly heartwarming.