We Future Cycle had the pleasure of taking the 4th grade students of Post Road Elementary School in White Plains on an environmental Scavenger Hunt.
Outside of the lunchroom, We Future Cycle representatives set up a series of colorful “Did you know?” posters which outlined with graphic pictures environmental issues and what can be done by everybody to help.
Students got a detective sheet and searched for clues on the posters, all the while learning many details about how everyday behavior impacts our environment. They stared at the mind boggling number of 500 million straws used every single day in the US alone, while cringing at the picture of a poor loggerhead turtle with a straw in her nose. They expressed shock seeing the mountain of garbage floating in our oceans due to litter on land getting washed into the water ways. And they all learned, that everything we do matters. Small everyday behavior changes can make a big impact.
The students read through all of the information and were able to answer all of the questions. We had quite a few Girl Scout members participate! Math teacher Ms. Schmidt came by and was very interested in how the posters gave the kids a way of understanding math principles such as percentages and other relative values.
Indeed, a very successful day of Scavenger Hunting at Post Road Elementary. Post Road Elementary School is participating in the We Future Cycle recycling program for 3 years now and all students are total pros when it comes to sorting their lunch waste into compostable, recyclable and non recyclable materials, thus reducing their waste by a whopping 97%.
These kind of games help connect their hands to their hearts, making them lifelong agents of change in their communities.
White Plains School district has adopted the We Future Cycle recycling program 4 years ago and most of their elementary school population has now seen only to carefully sort their lunchwaste into compostable, recyclable and non recyclable materials. Achieving everyday a 97% reduction.
Post Rd was particularly successful reducing its garbage from 277 lbs per lunch to a mere 5 lbs. Here is a picture of the proud principal Jessie Ossorio after the first lunch with just one fluffy little bag.
Post Road elementary schools bright and inviting lunchroom welcomes 2 grades at a time to the right and the left of the center aisle. Each grade has their own recycling station and students are invited by the head custodian Rob Dell’Orletta to come up and help at the station, once done with eating.
And boy…. do they take him up on that offer. Every single lunch period, especially the littlest grades are eager to help and shoulder to shoulder they are standing to help their classmates through the process. Mr Dell’Orletta just smiles and confirms that this is an every day event.
It is heartwarming to see these eager faces, their unflinching commitment to the cause, calling Mr Dell’Orletta over when a classmate made a mistake and they cannot reach the offending material to remove. When I asked them what they were doing, they answered “we are saving the world”, and sure thing! that is what these troopers are doing, every single day.
White Plains elementary students know all about recycling. No wonder, all schools are participating for years in the We Future Cycle recycling program, sorting their waste in the lunchroom and thus diverting 97% into recycling and composting streams. Mamaroneck Avenue School is a particularly well oiled machine thanks to the super supportive administration and a head custodian fully on board.
However, even though these youngsters are masters of the sorting, when asked what happens to the material, their answer comes a bit hesitantly….”it is getting recycled…?”, the statement more like a question than an answer.
We Future Cycle had recently the opportunity to share the inner workings of a Material Recovery Facility with grade 3, 4 and 5. Students learned in auditorium presentations how the world of science dominates the sorting process by using friction, gravity, magnetism, anti-current. sensors and motion. They learned that materials can only be recycled if they are sorted so cleanly into just THE ONE type of material. They learned about optical scanners, contamination and wishful recycling and they were stunned into silence while learning what it takes to make some of those everyday materials. Can you imagine an auditorium filled with third graders in unison gasping of disbelieve and then stunned silence?
Learning about the environmental foot print of materials is the key to waste reduction. We Future Cycle empowers students to share that message with their caregivers. Nothing is more frustrating to a child that just learned to embrace sustainability, only to find non-recyclable stuff in their lunchbox every day. MAS students pledged to be agents of change in their community. Way to go!
White Plains Church St students participated in large numbers in a Green Writing Contest. This contest is sponsored by the late Nina Chin’s Family.
Nina Chin was a life long educator who believed that students become better learners and readers through writing and every year she sponsored from her own money a writing contest for her students. Her family is keeping up this lovely tradition in her name and this year White Plains Church St Elementary School was the first White Plains school to be chosen for this prestigious grant.
Over 60 students rose to the challenge and wrote heart warming essays to the topic “How can I make a difference”. The judges had a hard time choosing the top 10 entries.
When the day of the celebration came, the auditorium was filled with excited 3rd, 4th and 5th graders, all anxiously awaiting if their essay made it. Each time Principal Myra Castillo called out a name, loud applause ripped through the room. It was very energizing.
Each winner came up to receive a certificate and an envelope (and of course a hug!) and were all smiles for the picture.
It was a wonderful experience and students learned that it pays to be a writer.
White Plains MAS students are old hands at sorting their lunchroom and classroom waste. White Plains School district joined the We Future Cycle recycling program 4 years ago and now most of their elementary school population has never experienced anything else but stepping up to the recycling station and carefully separating their food waste from the recyclable and non-recyclable packaging material. White Plains schools are diverting 1850 lbs every day into recycling and composting streams. A 97% reduction of garbage through diversion.
Even the littlest ones are now really good at it. They cannot peer over the top of the bin yet, but -boy- do they know which bin is the right one for which material.
Every September and October, We Future Cycle hands-on trains K students, as well as refreshes the older grades on why we are sorting our waste. Keeping the environmental energy up is key for a vibrant and functioning lunchroom recycling system. Your hands can function much better when your heart is guiding them.
Recently, 2nd graders learned about what is bio degradable and what is not. Learning about how organic and inorganic materials interact with environmental factors such as rain and light is crucial to understanding the problems of the longevity of inorganic packaging material in our environment.
Through a scientific experiment students could learn first hand how organic and inorganic materials differ in their reaction to water. It was a messy affair, having 23 students dipping materials into water and rubbing it between their fingers to simulate environmentally induced friction, but they got it! Inorganic material as litter in our environment is a huge problem.
When asked what students could do to address the litter problem, great ideas came bubbling up. Picking up litter, doing trash treasure hunts, showing friends how to be better, bringing snacks in reusable containers to the park….. These students were fired up to save this world. Seriously way to go!
With great pride We Future Cycle is sharing how it is growing. 10 team members are now supporting schools throughout southern Westchester. (3 could unfortunately not join us for this picture)
And what a journey this has been. From the humble beginnings of a single lunchroom to now soon over 40 schools, covering New Rochelle, White Plains, Rye, Blind Brook and soon also Mount Vernon schools. We have also worked in Eastchester, Ossining, Pelham, Tuckahoe and Mamaroneck.
In numbers, that is nearly 33,000 students that are sorting their waste every day. 33,000 students that have learned that there is no away on this earth. 33,000 students who now know about composting and recycling.
It also means that 33,000 Styrofoam trays have been eliminated from the waste stream every single day. Every one of these districts was using foam trays before We Future Cycle advocated for the clean switch to compostable materials. Styrofoam trays contain Styrene, now a classified human carcinogen, are proven to leach chemicals into the food that touches them. We are proud to have been instrumental in eliminating Styrofoam from the menu of 33,000 students.
33,000 students’ food waste is not going any longer to the incinerator to be burnt into our air, instead, it is being composted, creating nutrient rich soil, often sold as potting soil at hardware stores throughout New York State.
And these 33,000 students have families and communities they have changed by bringing the knowledge home and creating change.
We are excited to be saving the world one district at the time and creating a generation of students that care.
Come and join us if you feel strongly about teaching children to become environmentally literate.