Hawlemont Regional School was one of 19 statewide Green Team grand-prize winners this school year for its efforts to reduce waste and increase food composting.
“They even integrated this topic into math lessons by calculating the square footage of their dumps,” says a statement by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. The pre-kindergarten through Grade 6 school won a performance of “Garbage is My Bag,” starring performer Jack Golden of Leyden.
Also on the winner’s list was the Greenfield Math and Science Academy on Meridian Street. Led by teacher Laurie Boosahda, this school was one of 10 schools to win the prize of garden supplies for the school.
According to Amy Donovan, program director of the Franklin County Solid Waste Management District, Hawlemont students with teacher Jean Bruffee did a major study on waste reduction this past winter. Lead by fifth-grade leaders, 104 students participated in Green Team activities. This included calculating the square footage of a dumpster and finding new ways to reuse some of the re-usables, such as making bookmarks, seed packets, gift tags and cards out of used paper.
Donovan said she has been working with Greenfield Public Schools with a three-year “compost grant” designed to expand recycling or start a composting program throughout the district. “Four Corners, Math & Science Academy, and Greenfield High School all started off-site compost programs this year, with the remaining four (schools) to start next school year,” she said.
“The solid waste district has always encouraged Franklin County teachers to participate in the Green Team, and many of them have over the years,” she said. “I think this is the first time any local school has won the Jack Golden Show.”
In more good composting news, Donovan said Swift River School in New Salem has now been successfully composting all food and non-recyclable paper waste since 2009 and has just past the 32-ton mark.
Local schools that also got a mention as Green Team prize winners include Swift River, Bernardston Elementary School, Federal Street School, Greenfield High School, the Discovery School at Four Corners and Sheffield Elementary School in Turners Falls.