Students from North Andover and Lawrence were among the award winners for outstanding environmental actions as members of the Green Team, a statewide environmental education program.
State environmental officials Wednesday recognized students from 48 schools across Massachusetts participating in the program sponsored by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Classes receiving prizes were North Andover’s Annie L. Sargent Elementary School, teacher Julie Ambrose; Atkinson Elementary School, teacher Mandi Imasogie; Franklin Elementary School, teachers Rochelle Hardenstine and Hilary Alden; Kittredge Elementary School, teacher Cheryl Means; North Andover Middle School, teacher Erien Gordon; and Pvt. Albert E. Thomson Elementary School, teacher Lucy Frey. In Lawrence, winners were Lawrence Family Development Charter School, teacher George Masterson; Robert Frost Middle School, teacher Paul Flanigan
Students won such prizes as reusable snack bags, straws and utensils; certificates for garden supplies; or paper bookmarks with seeds embedded for planting.
“The Healey-Driscoll Administration is implementing ambitious climate and environmental goals to help build a more sustainable future for the next generation. It is never too early to join with our students and educators to teach sustainability on our way to a healthier Massachusetts,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rebecca Tepper. She added, “They showed outstanding leadership and initiative during the past school year to raise environmental awareness and promote waste reduction, reuse, recycling and composting in their schools, homes, and communities.”
Amesbury Elementary School also won one of three grand prizes for third-grade volunteers rescuing cafeteria food, saving on disposal costs and providing meals at a food pantry. With the student council tracking data, they found they were saving up to 50 pounds of food daily.
“Our administration is committed to reducing waste disposal by 30% by 2030 and 90% by 2050, and one way to meet those goals is to partner with our schools to show that small acts by students can produce amazing results for our communities and our environment,” said MassDEP Commissioner Bonnie Heiple.
Participating teachers received either a digital or hard-copy Green Team Kit containing classroom posters, lesson plans, recycling tips and access to a library of other resources. In addition, 30 schools received recycling and/or composting equipment from the Green Team to initiate or expand school recycling programs, and 15 schools received signs reading “Idle-Free Zone” from the Green Team that serve as a visual reminder to drivers to turn off their engines while waiting in the schoolyard.