SC GreenSteps

                           
The S.C. Green Steps program is a wonderful program developed in South Carolina to help guide teachers and students through a process of implementing eco-friendly educational activities throughout their schools and community.  Slater-Marietta Elementary is working towards becoming a certified "Green Steps School". We already have many projects in each of the three project areas; Conserve, Protect, and Restore. 

Tap-N-Stack - Conserve: Reduce



 

We have the Tap-N-Stack program, where students in the entire school stack Styrofoam lunch trays in order to save space in the dumpster/landfill.  We saved three trashcans of space each day these trays were used.  We also reduced the amount of pickups of the large dumpsters, saving gas, time and money!

This is our third year participating in the Tap & Stack program. The students learned—and were amazed by—our ability to reduce the space our Styrofoam trays simply by cleaning and stacking them in an orderly manner.  They learned how this volume reduction has a positive effect on our school’s trash pick-up as well as the land fill.  

Students learned that we saved about three trashcans of space and three trips to the dumpster each day we had Styrofoam trays.  We also saved one trip from the trash truck each week.


Turning Garbage into Art - Conserve: Reuse

Conserve: Reuse

 

Through our school's art club, students completed a project centered around reusing and using found objects to create art. Students will research the amount of garbage that enters the landfill annually on a local, state, national, and worldwide level. We will research artists that reuse material and discuss processes and also explore what we feel the challenges these artists face might be. Students will interpret the works of art and discuss what we feel are the strengths and weaknesses of the works. We will explore options for potential materials, and look at ways of gathering materials from home or school to use. Students will create 2-d or 3-d works of art focusing on the reuse of found materials. 
Sculptures were displayed in the art room for the month of April, and were put on display during the school wide art show which was open to the community.  An explanation of the art was available to the public as they viewed the work.


School-wide Recycling - Conserve: Recycle

School-wide Recycling



 b2 - Breathe Better - Protect Air

B2 - Breathe Better





Our students learned the problems caused by vehicle idling--to the environment, to their health and to their parents’ pocketbooks.  Becki Robinson, one of our volunteers, also helps with this project as well as Marie Johnson (Intervention Teacher) who is on our GreenSteps team. We have been told that we will receive a $400.00 fund support from "Ten at the Top" for our efforts to reduce air pollution/energy.

Students learned so many facts about just how much air pollution is in our area and why.  They also learned how they can affect change in the minds of all the parents sitting in cars in the car line. Standards included; Air characteristics, Air quality, air pollution....  Students learned that through their activism that they can make a change in behavior of others as we saw our idling go down drastically from the beginning of the year till the end.

5th grade patrols, with adult supervision conducted and submitted the results of their passive surveys, counting cars in the pick-up line.

Signs were erected at the entrance to and in the school lanes.  While this was handled by adults, students were on hand to observe.

Notes were sent home with all students explaining the B2 program and asking for compliance and posters were posted by involved students around school. Our student patrols will be wearing blue vests that promote the program as they hand our air quality informative fans and hot/cold drink mugs to all parents and bus drivers who are in the car line.  They also fly flags which show the daily air quality for the area. 


Trout In the Classroom - Protect Water

Trout In the Classroom


    This year we are continuing our work on a "Protect Water" project involving the Trout in the Classroom program.  See video of the final release of the trout we raised in previous years. We had a great release this year as well.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=9p9jXJf0dl4 

Students developed a base of knowledge regarding both the protection of water and habitat.  They developed an understanding of watersheds, local water features, stream ecology and aquatic habitat, including aquatic flora and fauna.  They were exposed to the water’s recreational uses and the chemistry of water.  Through the process of raising trout, they learned about what factors are critical to the survival of trout and what factors are detrimental to their survival.  Through hands-on experience they will learn how to read the temperature of water, conduct tests to measure the level of chemicals in our tank, record data accurately, interpret the data and draw conclusions from this data and adjust the chemistry of the water to provide an acceptable environment for their trout.  Students discovered the uses for water in our community and the interconnections between biotic and abiotic factors in aquatic habitats, which will foster a concern for the environment, and conservation.  Students  also learned about water treatment plants and how they work, as well as the natural filtering of water through the watershed.  Gary and Bob Bishop with the Mountain Bridge Chapter of TU are volunteers who provide assistance and consultation on this project.  We have received a grant from the Greenville County Soil and Water Conservation District to support the trout release field trip. 

We have had a very successful year with the TIC program.  We released 62 fingerling trout into Carrak Creek at Table Rock State Park on April 9, 2017. 

Prior to the arrival of the trout eggs, students were tested to determine their familiarity with aquatic species and environments.  Once the eggs arrived, students were actively involved in monitoring the health of the eggs (and ultimately the fry) and the tank.  Working in teams they are responsible for feeding the fish, testing the water (chemistry and temperature) and removing dead eggs or fry.  They also add/change the water and record all of their data and observations on a daily basis.  Students are responsible for filtering the water for use in the tank and recycling the water removed from the tank by using it to water the school’s trees/gardens. Students test the water quality each day and test for pH, temperature, and ammonia.  They also participated in the quilt tapestry project.

We expanded the water chemistry testing to add Dissolved Oxygen monitoring.  We will take our chemistry test kit to TRSP and test the stream water where we release the trout and compare it to what they are used to in our tank environment.  One of the most exciting parts of the TIC "protect water" project is our Quit Tapestry.  We made quilt squares to mail off to other TIC school across the country as they mailed their squares to us.  We mapped where they all came from and read all the student created letters, poems and songs attached.  We will now put together a quilt tapestry to display with the others we have at school.  

Vermiculture Worm Bin & Compost Tumbler - Restore: Soil

Compost Tumbler



We feed the worms in our worm bin from our lunch and breakfast leftovers. The worms use our leftovers to create soil. We use that super rich soil in our garden! Our students learn about the important job that worms do by transforming green and brown scraps into soil.  They learn to properly care for our red worms/worm bin, including the feeding of appropriate materials, the maintenance of appropriate moisture levels, the harvesting of the soil that our worm population has produced and the use of this soil in our Carolina Fence Garden (another Green Steps project) that we are revitalizing.  Our vermiculture bin periodically resides in other classrooms throughout our elementary school, where its care and purpose will be explained to other students, who will be responsible for it, under the supervision of our Science Club members.  As the worm population increases, we will give each grade level with their own container to start restoring their own soil to use to grow plants in their own classrooms.



Carolina Fence Garden -  Restore: Habitat 

Carolina Fence Garden

 
    Our Science Club students have been doing most of the work in the garden this year and what a huge difference it has made.  Our garden is thriving and supporting wildlife such as blue birds, butterflies, lizards, insects, and many others.  We have observed the most brilliant Male Blue Bird we have ever seen.  The pair are feeding their young in their home which is covered in the Native Honeysuckle we planted. Our native plants and all the state symbols represented have been a source of good teaching and conversation. 
  During the 2015-2016 school year we are undertaking a revitalization of this garden. Science Club started by discussing what a Carolina Fence Garden/Native Garden is, what it contains (state symbols, etc.)  and the importance of native habitats and species and their interconnectedness. They then learned about the reasons for and importance of soil sampling.  The students collected soil samples and sent them out for analysis, the results of which were discussed.  Based on those results, the soil in the garden will be amended to provide the nutrients our plantings need to thrive and mulch to protect our plantings and reduce weed growth.  As weather permited this fall/winter, we discussed and worked at pruning overgrown/damaged shrubs and trees and incorporating new perennials/shrubs/bulbs into our garden. Students monitored the moisture in the garden, maintain and monitor other elements of our garden (water for the birds, bird houses, etc.).  In the spring, we continued our revitalization program.  Ultimately, this is a very rich, broad-reaching project that touches on a wide variety of disciplines.  Becki Robinson and Polly Powell are actively involved with this project who volunteer and are Master Gardeners who helped write the grant we have received for $1,300.00 to work with this project. 
          
 
    
Rick Huffman (Native Plant Society) returned this year to teach about the native plants former students planted in the garden.

View a map of our Garden here
SMES garden map.pptx 

View a plant list/location to use with the map here: SMES garden plant list web.docx   

Sponsors and Supporters include:  Payne's Landscaping; A and R Fence Company; Schneider Tree Care Co.; Travelers Rest Feed and Seed; Garden Club of Greenville; Cliffs Community Outreach; Native Plant Society; Environmental Education Association of SC; the SC Wildlife Federation; Sonoco Recycling



Community volunteers help with the Green Steps Projects throughout the school year.




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