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Networking among neighboring green schools

Veggie-face Theren's nothing I love better than a potluck dinner, and although I'm not sure what side dish I'm bringing to tonight's potluck, we're lucky to be in the abundant harvest season with heaps of local, organic produce coming out our ears. What's especially cool about tonight's potluck is that it's being hosted by one of the moms heading up the Green Team at a neighboring elementary school. We met randomly on a local playground this summer. This mom thought it would be a great idea if we all met and had an opportunity to get to know one another better. Socializing is always a good thing. With the added benefit of sharing knowledge so that each school doesn't have to reinvent the proverbial wheel. I've been frustrated by how long it takes to get things done at school, and often I'll read something cool in the paper about what another school is doing -- and just like one of my kids, I'll be all: 'Hey! I want that! How do we do that? Gimme that NOW!' As you can imagine, that approach is about as productive as when my kids try it. So you save the idea 'til the next meeting, bring it up, hopefully get some others fired up by it, and then do some research, and propose it to the principal or the district, then get some feedback about priorities and tight budgets, and ultimately get fairly depressed so you don't care anymore, and then it's the end of the year. Wow. Just call me Little Miss Sunshine! Gotta work on my attitude...

Couple of things our school's green team is focusing on for next year:

  • Reduce the ridiculous number of catalogs our school office receives. Sure we've all done the Catalog Choice stuff at home. Now it's time to do it for our school. This will be a volunteer-heavy quest. It takes almost forever for the aforementioned service to kick in, so it'd probably be more effective to get a few parents to take stacks of catalogs, call the 800 numbers and get us off the mailing lists. High marks for easy, and if we make the calls, we should get off the lists fairly quickly.
  • Increase usage of durable party kids in the classrooms. Last year, we tested the concept in one of the first grade classrooms. One parent put together a big tub of small durable plates, cups, spoons and cloth napkins. It was a hit. I believe it fell to the volunteer room parent to wash the stuff after a party, but it made a big dent the amount of trash the classroom was producing for celebrations. For next year, we are going to fundraise at our annual auction to provide more classroom durable kits. We are blessed with a generous, green-minded group of parents at our school. Hopefully, the auction will fund more durable kits and the class parents won't mind the added task of some occasional dishes and laundry.

Back to our random playground chat... I shared these initiatives with the potluck hosting mom, and she was excited to try these projects at her school too, and especially if we would share what we learned to save them some work. Likewise, their school has made progress in the styrofoam lunchtray war, by setting up a process to recycle their trays. This continues to be our Waterloo, as our school have different challenges. But maybe we can learn something. Or figure out a more creative approach. They also hosted a styrofoam weekend recycling event. Which we'd love to do. Anyhoo. Tonight's potluck should have parents representing a handful of neighboring schools. I'll let you know how it goes. Can't wait! Now, back to my side dish...

Do you network with neighboring green schools? What's the best green initiative your school has implemented? Send us an email, and we'd be glad to feature it in a post.

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