Live Green and Earn Points


From Aluminum Can Collection To Composting, A Difference That's Easy To See

By Green Schools Program |
Teachers at St. Mary School in Vermilion, OH, tell us a green classroom success:

Teachers and students can build rain barrels and manage compost. Read all about it!
Teachers at St. Mary School in Vermilion, OH, tell us a green classroom success.
WRITTEN BY: Teachers Mrs. Standen, Mrs. Maurer, and Mrs. Dickerhoff

Our recycling idea started in the fall of 1989. The first grade class began collecting aluminum cans to have an environmental club which would also help them raise money for their Mother and Father’s Day gifts. A few years later, the kindergartners joined with the first graders in this successful recycling project. The entire school joined this effort 6 years ago, and added recycling paper.

Now, our whole school is learning the importance of being a steward to the earth. We have gone further by including our parish in recycling aluminum cans and paper. We have an official collection day each month. On this day, the amounts are weighed and graphed for the whole school to see, and we can see the difference our school is making to become a “Green School.”

In the fall of 2010, we expanded our “Green School” efforts. A few staff members attended a workshop to learn how to construct and install a rain barrel on the school site. After barrel completion, our maintenance staff routed a downspout from the storage garage gutter into the barrel. Several watering cans were purchased to allow students easy access for school grounds and classroom watering.

Still, another area of concern was our daily cafeteria waste. We requested the donation of a compost bin. During this time each class was instructed on compost bins and compostable lunchroom waste. We were fortunate to receive a donated bin shortly after our request. Presently, a plastic tub is used in the lunchroom daily to collect the waste. A class is assigned monthly to empty the tub in the compost bin daily and to turn the compost.

We added a rain garden near our school playground to best utilize our compost and rain water. We applied for a grant to receive material to create the rain garden. This incorporates the rain water and the compost. The students were taught the importance of rain gardens and were thrilled when we were able to plant and add painted rocks decorated by all classes. We continue to clean the area of weeds and any other waste left by others. We added the compost and watered the plants using rain water collected in our barrel. We used money from recycling cans and paper to buy additional plants and garden supplies. The students clean the schoolyard in the spring, enrich the soil with compost, and add new plants to our rain garden. We believe this process has enriched our student’s understanding of stewardship and has enabled them to become better stewards of the earth.

What ways do you help to better the earth? Comment below!

Recyclebank Green Schools Program awards grants to schools in order to fund environmental projects that empower youth to green their own communities. For every 100 points donated to an accepted school, Recyclebank donates $10 to that school.

Under the guidance of Mrs. Standen, Mrs. Maurer, and Mrs. Dickerhoff, St. Mary School students are hoping to to add a schoolyard greenhouse. The addition of the greenhouse would complete the cycle of “Green” efforts at St. Mary School. The students will be greatly enriched by taking part in this complex environmental experience.

Learn more about the Green Schools Program!

Share with Your Friends & Family
  • Elaine F. 5 years ago
    I recycle as much as I can.
  • 7 years ago
    we use coffee to lightly shade hair instead of the very toxic coloring
  • 7 years ago
    "The students clean the schoolyard in the spring, enrich the soil with compost, and add new plants to our rain garden" - is thi normal practic? <a href="">freelance writer</a>