Northville School District is Going Green
Many District schools have achieved green certification through Wayne County.
The going green movement is sweeping the nation, and schools are not about to be left behind.
Hillside Middle School first became a Green school during the 2008 – 2009 school year. The school was recertified in 2009 -2010 and is currently reapplying for certification this year for 2010 -2011.
"Basically, what we had to do was document a number of initiatives that we had already been doing around our school improvement goal and also work towards getting more green," Cracraft said. "We are increasing kids' awareness to environmental issues. We have a long history here that focuses on a green school. It was just another reason for us to go ahead and get green certified."
The school has paper, ink cartridge and battery recycling programs and an energy savings program. It also has planted maple trees and recently installed a no idle zone for parents picking up their children.
In addition, Hillside Middle School also has an animal room, something that makes them stands out among other green schools in the area. Inside the room, the school houses endangered species such as two American alligators, macaws, caimans, chinchillas, a yellow anaconda, pythons, an albino corn snake and many more.
All of the animals in the room were either donated or rescued and funding is taken care of through grants or fundraising, according to Cracraft.
In 2003, Hillside Middle School received a grant from Toyota and partnered with the Detroit Zoo to successfully breed and raise the Pipa Pipa Frog, also called the Surinam Toad. The frogs were donated to the zoo in an effort to reduce the number of amphibians taken out of the wild.
Cracraft said the school is one of five places in the country that have successfully bred the endangered species.
Currently, the school has received funding from Michigan International Speedway and the Northville Education Foundation to hatch and raise salmon. The eggs are monitored in the animal room and kept at a certain temperature, below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once they reach a certain size, the school will release the salmon into the Rouge River Watershed.
"I think that as educators, teachers we have a responsibility to model recycling, to model caring about our environment and being a part of the green school concept really puts that up front for kids to recognize," Cracraft said.
Moraine Elementary School first became a green school in April 2009.
The school recycles its Styrofoam lunch trays and has recycle bins for cell phones, batteries and ink cartridges. Parents and neighbors use the school's recycle bins as well, according to Principal Denise Bryan.
"I think it's important for all schools to be green schools," Bryan said. "These children inherit the Earth we leave behind. So they're building their own future with green behaviors."
Bryan remembers when the first laws passed to allow deposits back on pop cans and bottles when she was a child.
"Previous to about 1975 that wasn't common practice," Bryan said. "Most of the time those things were thrown away. I think the realization that we need to be responsible stewards of the Earth has certainly built over the years, and these kids seem to be more attuned to that than what kids were when I was growing up."
Northville schools are given certification through Wayne County's Michigan Green Schools Program. The State of Michigan developed an energy saving and environmental activity plan with 20 different points. Any school that adopts 10 points during a school year receives a Green school designation.
Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties opted to provide an additional 17 environmental points in which schools can receive higher designations in the program.
To reach an Emerald designation a school must successfully achieve 15 points, 10 of which must be the original state points. The additional five points can come from any combination of points. The highest designation is Evergreen, which a school can reach by achieving 20 points. Again, 10 points must be originals and the additional points can be a combination.
In Northville School District, Winchester Elementary is a certified Green school. Moraine Elementary, Silver Springs Elementary and Thornton Creek Elementary all have an Emerald certification. And Amerman Elementary and Hillside Middle School have Evergreen certifications.
"Meads Mill has many recycling efforts underway and is considering moving forward with the application process," Gallagher said. "Northville High School does a great deal of recycling, but has not engaged in the application process."
Ridge Wood Elementary is currently undergoing the certification process according to Mary Kay Gallagher, Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services. Ridge Wood will be audited on Friday.