For Walsingham Academy's Green Team - the Lower School's dedicated, hard-working third graders - doing right by the environment is a year-round endeavor.
The Green Team is responsible for managing and informing their schoolmates about proper recycling techniques and green initiatives. The emphasis on protecting the environment begins early on at Walsingham to foster enthusiasm about recycling and sustainability.
"Our students help to build a culture of recycling awareness through their presentations and service each week," Mary Johnston, third grade teacher and Green Team co-sponsor, said. "It is a joy to see children supporting the school environment through recycling and knowing our young recyclers will grow up to be responsible caretakers of our world."
The group is being recognized for their efforts, too.
Last year, a grant from Keep Virginia Beautiful allowed the Green Team to purchase sorting bins to separate the paper and plastic. Each classroom has a set of recycling bins and the cafeteria has a much larger bin.
Lower School Science Coordinator Kim Ward says the sorting bins make it easier to recycle a more diverse amount of materials.
"The Green Team is really encouraging everyone to look for the triangle recycling symbol on plastic materials," Ward said. "Not wasting recyclable plastics is a top priority for our third graders."
Other top initiatives this year, according to Ward, include promoting proper recycling techniques during lunchtime as well as collecting and reusing cardboard milk cartons to decrease waste.
The work of the Green Team isn't contained to the indoors, either. As part of the first lunch block, the watchful eyes of Green Team members can be on the lookout for playground and after-school trash that may have accumulated outside.
Students say the work is important, fosters school spirit and brings them closer together.
"We do Green Team because it helps our environment by recycling items in our classroom," third grader Nick Pellei said. "It is fun because we do it with our classmates and it helps the school."
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