5R'sReduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot & Rethink!
While we are continually working to improve all of our program components, we feel
that it is important to embark on the next stage in our evolution as a farm-to-school program by taking a holistic look at the health of our schools. Working in close partnership with the Ojai Unified School District and other community groups, we are developing and implementing a plan to minimize the ecological footprint of the entire
Ojai Unified School District, integrating the lessons of environmental stewardship into school curricula and daily operations. To this end, we drafted a Green and Healthy Schools Resolution that was unanimously passed by the OUSD Board of Education
on June 24, 2008. This resolution will help guide the way to developing a Green
Schools Committee, and a plan and policies for energy conservation, minimization
of waste and consumption, and use of green cleaning products, among other actions.
In this way, our schools will model the “5Rs”—Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot, and Rethink—to promote the kind of behaviors and actions needed for our children and families to live healthy and sustainable lives on this planet Earth that sustains us all.
During the next two years, the overarching goals of the project are to:
Expand the Waste stream pilot projects to reduce waste, from three pilot schools to
all eight schools in OUSD. Replicating the success of the pilot projects district-wide
will entail establishing the 5Rs curricula in each school (with the appropriate grades, courses, and teachers), creating the uniform separation and collection system for
each campus, collaborating with custodians, working with a local artist to build eye-catching waste collection stations to raise the visibility of the waste reduction and recycling program, and engaging students in ongoing waste measurement and monitoring activities.
We will also develop curricula and train teachers from all schools in the 5Rs and
broader sustainability curricula and service learning projects aimed at engaging
students in reducing each school’s environmental footprint.
Provide technical advice and training to OUSD in order to:
- Assess current purchasing, operation and maintenance practices and costs
to identify potential for environmentally preferable choices and cost savings.
- Train district office and facility staff in environmentally preferable purchasing
and operations,including green cleaning programs, office, school and food service purchases, local farm-to-school produce, lighting, computer and equipment purchases.
- Expand environmental and sustainability curricula and service learning
activities tied to California state standards across OUSD, requiring
professional development and training of the Green Team Curriculum Coordinator, who will in turn train OUSD teachers, as well as purchase
of some curricula materials.
- Advocate for policies on environmentally preferable purchasing, and green building practices and guidelines (such as the Collaborative for High Performance Schools or LEED) for adoption by OUSD School Board.
- Develop programs for energy and water conservation, “safe routes to
schools” to encourage walking and biking to school, and reducing carbon emissions.
- Educate and engaging the school community about the Green Plan and its implementation, including outreach to parents with the Parent Teacher Association.
- Initiate activities for long-term exploration of renewable energy resources, commercial-scale local and county-wide composting, and other
capital-intensive technology solutions.
- Identify OUSD matching funds, cost savings from resource conservation
efforts, and other funding sources to make the Green Plan self-sustaining.
- Disseminate the OUSD Model Green Plan to broader school audiences.
Sharing the OUSD model with other schools will be important to help
replicate the effort at more schools. Dissemination will entail documenting
the OUSD program process and methods and sharing with school
stakeholders at relevant conferences, such as the California Green Schools Summit (an annual statewide gathering of more than 2,000 school administrators, teachers, and facility managers).
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