Recycling is the norm at William B. Wade Elementary School, where students and staff alike take pride in keeping their school clean and welcoming. Being green is embedded in to the culture at Wade. Teachers implement eco-conscious activities into their lessons and students enjoy learning ways they can help keep their environment clean.
For the past several years, Wade staff and students have focused on expanding their green efforts. This included the process for becoming a certified green school by the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE), a title the school is now able to add to its list of accomplishments. Last week, MAEOE announced its list of 2017 Maryland Green Schools and Wade was honored from Charles County.
Wade is one of more than 55 new Maryland Green Schools honored by the program this year. Wade will be honored in a May 18 ceremony. Arthur Middleton Elementary and Piccowaxen Middle schools also will be honored for achieving a second Green School recertification.
Wade Principal Kevin Jackson said he is proud of the work students and staff put forward to help the school achieve Green School certification.
“I am extremely happy and proud as our school has received Green School certification. A key part of being certified as a Green School is total staff participation and having a clear link to instruction. This past school year, we made a concerted effort to have representation from all grade level teams and areas in the building. An at-large green team from these areas met every six days to plan our quest for certification and thankfully the hard work paid off well,” Jackson said.
Green Schools are honored for their commitment to developing stewards of Earth and reducing environmental impacts. The application process takes two years to complete and requires schools to demonstrate efforts to integrate sustainable practices, classroom integration of environmental issues, conservation practices and examples of existing community partnerships to enhance environmental learning.
The Wade Go Green committee was launched in 2010 by the school’s Parent Teacher Organization with the initial goal of creating a recycling program at the school. Students helped to collect recycle containers from classrooms and took on the role of “Go Green Helpers.” Fourth and fifth graders are eligible to serve as helpers and rotate their duties throughout the school year.
In 2013, Wade staff began to oversee the committee with parent volunteers and launched an annual Recycle Day at the school. Recycle Day began as an event for the school community to recycle old and unused electronics, but efforts have expanded to include household items, recyclable items and paper shredding.
Since 2011, Wade has participated in the Keep America Beautiful Recycle Bowl. The school earned a third place state award for three years in a row, and earned the second-place state award in 2015. School staff use the Recycle Bowl to help remind students about conservation efforts and to teach them ways to become involved in the school community.
Last year, second and third graders at Wade launched a Go Green Club for their respective grade levels. The club focuses on sustainability, the importance of recycling and improving habitats for animals. The club also expanded lessons to include water conservation through rain barrel use. Additionally, students and staff have worked to create Earth Day videos for the past two years, which are used to help promote recycling year round.
The Green School designation recognizes schools for using resources to educate students and staff on environmental changes in Maryland, modeling environmental practices in building and landscape design, and demonstrating how to maintain these practices. Additionally, Green Schools are recognized for building and maintaining partnerships within their local communities to enhance environmental learning and to design programs to result in a healthier environment.
Wade’s Green School designation takes the number of Green Schools in Charles County with current certifications to 12. They include Gale-Bailey, Dr. James Craik, Dr. Samuel A. Mudd, J.C. Parks and Arthur Middleton elementary schools, General Smallwood, Piccowaxen and Milton M. Somers middle schools, and North Point, Thomas Stone and Westlake high schools. The Nanjemoy Creek Environmental Education Center is also a certified Maryland Green Center.
All Maryland schools receiving Green School certification will be recognized May 18 at the annual Maryland Green Schools Youth Summit at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis. Each school receives a Green School flag and county citations. The program was founded in 1999 to help foster a student-led integrated approach to learning that incorporates local environmental issue investigation and teacher professional development with environmental best practices and community stewardship.