Highland Elementary - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Going Green Mississippi Champion : 3rd Place Winner

Highland Elementary Environmental Initiative

Highland Elementary Environmental Initiative

List Expenses:

    • $1000 Recycle containers and recycle signage for cafeteria-Weyerhauser Grants
    • $22,000 Outdoor Amphitheater of which $5000 was Lowe's Grant and $1000 was Sam's Club grant
    • Remainder was student fundraising.
    • Fruit Trees: Donated by Mississippi Urban Forest Council
    • MDOT anti-litter materials: Donated by MDOT
    • $24,000 Blue Cross Blue Shield grant for walking trail.
    • "Coach" Dock Daniel-Grant Administrator.

Type of Project (Air, Land, Water, waste or energy efficiency):

Land, Water, Waste

Description of Project:

- Grant from Weyerhauser supported purchase of recycle containers for all classrooms, offices and cafeteria signage.  Hundreds of milk chubs are recycled each day.  City of Ridgeland recycle services picks up recyclables.  All students and staff participate.

- Highland was chosen as the launch site for MDOT's newest anti-litter mascot, Alfred the Monkey during a school assembly.

- Our students can submit a "green tip of the week" for publication on our website.

- Volunteers built an outdoor stone amphitheater into the hillside that seats approx. 250 people.  Designed by architect Scott Morgan, the classroom was funded by grants from Lowes, Sam's Club and student fundraising.

- 1/4 mile walking trail built on wooded plot on school grounds through a grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Name of Group:

Jan Richardson

Number of Persons in Group:

655

List the Goals of the Group Project:

Several years ago, Highland Elementary, (Ridgeland, MS,  grades 3-5) set goals to integrate guardianship of the environment into the curriculum and daily activities on campus.  By pairing the outstanding academic environment  (Highland is a level 5 school) with activities that teach students to care for their environment and their community,  Highland  sought to create in its students, positive behaviors  and a feeling  of pride in their school and their state, with the objective that the student body carries these ideals into the future.  Highland set out to seek grants and partnerships to support the following goals:

- Establish school wide recycle program inclusive of cafeteria, offices and classrooms, for plastic, paper and aluminum.

- Educate children about littering and care of the environment.

- Include green tip of the week on the website to encourage student's interest.

- Build outdoor amphitheater.  School does not have an auditorium, so we sought to create space large enough for presentations for one grade level, and space for outdoor activities.

- Build walking trail on campus to encourage fitness and engage children in enjoyment of the outdoors.

What are the benefits of your Project:

1. Highland Elementary recycles an estimated at 500 gallons of recyclables a week. Recycling has become second nature to students and staff.

2. Students have been educated about keeping Mississippi litter free.  Students spontaneously formed litter patrols and pick up litter on campus grounds.  These patrols were initiated by students.

3. Green tip of the week is on website http://www.hestitans.com

4. Outdoor classroom used for presentations, student gatherings, receptions.  This project fostered volunteerism in the school community and saved thousands of dollars in labor costs.

5. Teachers take classes out for walks daily.  Walking trail gets heavy daily use, developing healthy habits in students.  Trail is also used for PE classes and is open to the community after school hours.

6. Highland Elem was chosen by the Mississippi Urban Forest Council to be site of the first fruit orchard on a school campus in Mississippi.  18 fruit trees were planted in April, 2009 near the outdoor classroom.

7. Highland Elementary won first place in the school division from Keep Mississippi Beautiful, for our recycling and environmental activities.

8.  Teachers received grants from BankPlus and Nissan for seasonal flower gardens and mini-weather station.

What have you learned from your Project:

Students have been instilled with the a sense that each of us holds an obligation to preserve and protect our environment. Through our everyday choices and actions, together we have a huge impact on our world. It's really a simple idea, but one with far reaching results.  Healthy environment and a healthy lifestyle are closely correlated.  We were able to tie the environmental programs into the schools new fitness program, Project Fit America.  Students and staff have walked thousands of miles this year.  At any time during the day, classes are spending a few minutes walking.   While outdoors, students become conscious of the world around them, picking up litter to recycle.

List Materials Used:

    • 100 Recycle Containers
    • 2 Large Vinyl Signs
    • 18 Fruit Trees
    • Approx. 2800 Castle Wall Blocks for Outdoor Amphitheater
    • MDOT Anti-Litter Educational Materials
    • 1/4 Mile Walking Trail
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