Lake Shore Elementary School takes recycling seriously. All along the cafeteria are signs telling the kids what they can recycle and what they can’t. And each day at lunch time, cafeteria aids help the students place their trash in the proper recycling receptacle.
Lunch time recycling is just one of the many environmentally friendly activities Lake Shore Elementary is participating in all in an effort to become certified as a Maryland Green School.
“The Green School Program involves documenting all of things the school is doing to help the environment,” said program chair Lauren Marino. “We show that we are recycling, that teachers are doing lessons in the outdoors to talk about different areas in nature, and that we are doing what we can for the environment.”
Each student at Lake Shore is participating in the school's green program in a variety of ways from turning off lights to planting flowers.
“We are raising awareness and doing things to reduce our carbon footprints,” Marino said. “We have signs about the light switches that say make sure you turn off the light before you leave the room. We also encourage teachers to use both sides of the papers when making copies. It is a schoolwide incentive to go green.”
In order for a school to become Maryland Green School-certified they must show that they are establishing a consistent effort to be environmentally cautious. Marino, a kindergarten teacher, along with school secretary Wina Wood, keep a giant binder full of all of the activities Lake Shore is doing for the environment.
The program requires all Lake Shore teachers to participate in different projects that are centered on the environment. The students just finished a project with the arts and media teacher focused on the Chesapeake Bay.
“The students just finished a poster contest on the Chesapeake Bay,” Marino said. “So the kids did research on what’s in the Chesapeake Bay and why we should save the bay and then made posters.”
Lake Shore hopes to become a Maryland Green School by 2013. The process of obtaining the status is lengthy and requires a lot of paperwork, projects and celebrations. But Marino says it is something the kids really enjoy, too.
“The material really stays with the kids,” she said. “It is definitely making them more aware of the environment and they are excited to be involved in the activities.”