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Maryknoll School is ‘Living Green!’

June 07, 2016
By: Stephanie Conching, Teacher at Maryknoll School

Maryknoll School is "Living Green!" by incorporating sustainability and care for the environment into all of its grade levels.  Maryknoll has a team of middle school students, grades 6-8, who are dedicated advocates on the Green Team.

The purpose of the Maryknoll School Green Team is to reinforce the importance of each person’s impact on the earth.  Through activities in school and in the community, the Green Team shares and informs about topics including the 3R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle as well as conservation.

During weekly meetings, the Green Team weeds the aquaponics system and does a thorough check on the tilapia.  Chives are the best crop, and the team hasn’t been able to eat the fish yet – they love them too much!  Our system has been in place for several years now but we still remember our teacher’s words, “The fish help the plants and the plants help the fish.”

Maryknoll Third Graders start off their year with composting!  Lunch leftovers get sorted into a green waste bin for worms and an ‘everything else’ bin for bokashi composting.  As the school year progresses, the end products of compost are used to enrich the soil in Maryknoll’s school garden. The students learn about composting, including the fact that compost worms can eat their weight in waste every day!

This fall, the Maryknoll Green Team held a Denim Round Up and collected 100 denim items.  They were sent off to a company called Blue Jeans Go Green to be recycled into insulation for homes. It takes between 500 and 1,000 pieces  of denim to insulate a home!

4th graders and kindergarteners at Maryknoll went to see the Green Team mural on display at the Honolulu Theatre for Youth production of H2O.  Maryknoll School’s mural was a finalist in the 2015-2016 Plastic Free Hawaiʻi School Mural Contest.  As part of the school’s Plastic Free Hawaiʻi engagement, 3rd graders visited the Plastic Fantastic? exhibit at the Spalding House Museum and watched Sort It Out, a production of the Honolulu Theatre for Youth. 

In the last week of school, Maryknoll hosted an Aloha ʻĀina Recycling Drive with the support of Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation’s 3R’s School Recycling Program. This large community event assisted hundreds of people in the community to drop off various recyclables including batteries, computers, washers, clothing, bottles, televisions, shoes and more!  Our drive was able to keep 1,760 pounds of metal out of the landfill!

Maryknoll School hopes to continue all of it’s current programs.  It intends to add a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, encourage more re-use lunch options, and join Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation at an upcoming beach clean up.  As the Lorax said, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.”  Maryknoll School is doing its best to “care a whole awful lot.”