Group prepares for first annual Green Apple Day of Service

Green Apple, an initiative of the U.S. Green Building Council's Center for Green Schools, is urging students, teachers and other community members to take part next week in a worldwide effort to support healthful, sustainable schools.

The first annual Green Apple Day of Service takes place on Sept. 29.

“For one day, advocates from around the world...will come together in support of healthy, sustainable schools by taking action in their communities,” the Center for Green Schools says. “...This event will bring together individuals and communities to make changes in their schools and surrounding areas.”

The Center lists several categories of service projects under which volunteers have registered:

  • Conserve Energy: These projects try to improve energy efficiency and explore alternative energy sources through energy audits, educational signage and more.

  • Educate: Programs such as free workshops and seminars for students and communities and tours of LEED-certified buildings teach about the importance of school and campus improvements.

  • Indoor Improvements. These projects look for ways to improve the indoor environment at a school, including classroom cleanups, painting with low amounts of volatile organic compounds, lighting upgrades, recycling programs and more.

  • Save Water. These projects find ways to use water more efficiently. Project ideas can include replacing fixtures, collecting rainwater or creating signs reminding people about responsible water use.

  • Take It Outside. Planting gardens, painting murals and installing rain barrels help connect volunteers and organizers to the outdoor spaces at their schools and campuses.

  • Waste Not: Some projects can jumpstart long-term best practices. Begin a recycling program, teach students about composting, or encourage the community at large to have a waste-free Saturday.

The center also provides guidance for parents who want to take part in the Day of Service, but feel that they don't have enough time. In a blog post, Center Director Rachel Gutter suggests six possible activities that would take less than 60 minutes:

  • Organize a scavenger hunt. Gather children and parents, and have them take photographs of things around their school that are good for people and the planet, and things that are harmful to people and the planet. Have the group share their photos – perhaps even make a collage to present in school.

  • Host a coffee talk. Invite other parents to your house or the local coffee shop to discuss simple ways you can help schools become more healthy, safer and more efficient places for students to learn and play.

  • Clean up a schoolyard. Grab some trash bags and gather a group of students to pick up trash and other pieces of litter on their school grounds. Set up a competition to see who can find the most trash or clean up their area the fastest.

  • Make a video. Have children make a creative and short video. For examples of other kids doing this, watch this Green Apple video.

  • Collect supplies. Host a book and school supply drive. Invite parents to bring surplus supplies that can be shared with teachers or other families who can put them to good use.

  • Decorate a recycling bin. Help students find a large, sturdy old box or container, and some wrapping paper and glue. Have them make a bold label that explains the materials that can be put in the box to be recycled. Donate it to a classroom or school library.

The Center has created an interactive map with links to sites around the world that are staging Day of Service events. View the map.

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