Recently I had the privilege of serving on the Nominating Committee for the Cool Davis’ annual Eco-Hero award. Among the winners was the “Green Team” at Holmes Junior High. I got the chance to visit the school and talk to the two incredible staff members who have volunteered to lead the team, and meet with junior high students who are working to increase recycling and composting efforts on their campus. Here is a write up I did for the team for the Davis Enterprise.
Holmes Green Team
By Michelle Millet
Science teacher Martha Quenon formed the Green Team at Holmes Junior High School six years ago with the intention to raise awareness of environmental issues among students. Since that time, the group has evolved into one that has taken a hands-on approach to reducing the amount of waste generated on their campus.
Ninth-grader Hailey Shapiro, a Green Team member, is receiving special recognition for, as Quenon describes, her tireless work toward implementing a sustainable composting and recycling system throughout the Holmes campus. Hailey says one of the biggest challenges she faces is getting other kids to care about recycling.
In an effort to do so, she and Green Team members developed a classroom presentation designed to teach fellow students about the recycling and composting programs.
Keri Hawkins, a paraeducator on campus, took over the reins of the Green Team in January. She has designed garden beds that are accessible to students with disabilities, written and received grants that help fund the gardening and recycling program at Holmes, and facilitated the Green Team’s recycling efforts by instigating their participation in the Keep California Beautiful K-12 Recycling Challenge, a statewide school competition promoting waste reduction and recycling.
Hawkins and the Green Team members have taken several steps to improve diversion rates on the Holmes campus. They color-coded collection bins to be consistent with the city of Davis’ and streamlined the bin locations. They also created 3-D posters to help educate students and staff about what items can be recycled in which bins.
Hawkins hopes that recycling and composting programs will at some point be integrated into the school district’s strategic plan and that their efforts at Holmes can serve as model for other schools to follow.