More schools going `green'

Effort adopts environmentally friendly content, recycled materials

December 14, 2007|By John-John Williams IV | John-John Williams IV,SUN REPORTER

Amy Milauskas and Carol Tortella want to do more for the environment than hang up public-service announcements and oversee traditional recycling campaigns.

The two Wilde Lake Middle School teachers were among nearly 40 Howard County educators who attended a training session offered this week by the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education on how schools can join its Green School Recognition program.

Ten Howard County schools are members of the program, which encourages schools to adopt more environmentally friendly practices and infuse environmental content into the curriculum.

Milauskas, a sixth-grade teacher, said she wants to build on her school's "green" momentum.

"Our school does a lot of environmental activities," she said. "I'm looking to expand it more so that we can meet `green' school standards."

Tortella, a special-education teacher, seeks to incorporate the `green' school initiatives into student service projects.

"I want them to have a more hands-on approach so that they can help the environment," she explained.

During the two-hour training held at the Howard County Conservancy in Woodstock on Monday, educators were given tips that included incorporating environmentally friendly practices into lessons, hosting events such as flea markets and using recycled materials for art projects.

"This approach provides a doable model," said Jeanne C. Armacost, who led the session. "Every school can find a place in this program. Every school can do this."

Armacost related an anecdote about a Baltimore County school that combined an annual ice cream social with a tree-planting ceremony.

Currently, 163 Maryland schools are members of the program. Schools complete an application process in which they must document two-years' worth of environmentally friendly practices.

"[Educators] are very excited," Armacost said. "I get a lot of calls from teachers, principals, schools."

This program should not be confused with the Green Schools program, which is funded by the Educational Foundation of America, the Maryland Energy Administration and the county school system. Twenty Howard County schools are among more than 200 schools in Maryland, California, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania that are part of that program.

john-john.williams@balt sun.com

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