Sustainability Meets K-12 Education

The sustainability movement is underway in school systems across North America and around the world. The Green Apple Day of Service gives parents, teachers, students, companies and local organizations the opportunity to transform all schools into healthy, safe and productive learning environments through local service projects. The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is the organization behind the Green Apple movement, working to ensure that every student has the opportunity to attend a green school within this generation supporting their mission “where we learn matters.”

As part of the green movement, the James River Green Building Council started the Connect the Dots Green School Challenge to introduce K -12 schools to sustainability concepts and promote environmental stewardship that complements curriculum. The Challenge pairs schools with mentors from the community with expertise in sustainable practices to assist in planning and implement projects at the classroom or club level. Through these activities students gain hands on experience in project planning and execution and contribute to the development of healthy green schools.

BCWH Architects, Bo Fairlamb and Allison Powell both serve on the Green Schools Committee and mentor in the Connect the Dots program along with Erin Richardson, Kelley White, Anca Lipan and Shannon Dowling. The BCWH mentors are teamed with various local schools including Varina High School, St. Catherine’s School, Brookland Middle School, Gordon Elementary School, and Mary Mumford Elementary School. This year’s projects include everything from Learning Gardens to Bike-to-School Days to Living Plant Walls.

During this year’s Green Apple Day of Service, which took place this past Saturday, Bo mentored students at St. Catherine’s School in helping spruce up the school’s community garden beds in preparation for the fall growing season. Bo and students spent the day weeding beds, pruning trees, amending the soil and building cold frames for the garden beds to help prolong the growing season. The garden allows students to have a place to plant, grow, and harvest vegetables to be donated to local food banks.

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