In recognition and support of local environmental efforts, on Monday, December 15, 2014, Ventura Mayor Cheryl Hetimann, on behalf of the City of Ventura’s Environmental Sustainability Division, Ventura Water, E.J. Harrison & Sons, and Agromin Premium Soil Products (Agromin), presented the 2014 Green School Award to Lincoln Elementary School, and the 2014 Watershed Hero Award to Loma Vista Elementary School.
For the past eight years, the Green School Award has been presented to a deserving Ventura school that has demonstrated exemplary efforts in helping to preserve the sustainability of our environment.
“Both Lincoln Elementary and Loma Vista Elementary show commitment to our city, community and school district by continuing to preserve and enhance Ventura’s beautiful and natural environment,” said Mayor Heitmann. “We’re extremely grateful to our award sponsors, E.J. Harrison & Sons and Agromin Premium Soil Products as well as Ventura Water for supplying both schools with a $500 cash prize, and the beautifully crafted recycled glass awards to display at their schools.”
2014 Green School Award Winner: Lincoln Elementary School
This year, Lincoln Elementary School was chosen for their active recycling efforts, which include a thriving CRVBeverage Container recycling collection program that raises funds for their school. Additionally, they started composting food waste and a recycling program that helps keep waste out of the landfill. Other eco-friendly programs at Lincoln include a garden program, which, produces fruits, and vegetables that the students may take home.
“The recycling program at our school is definitely having a resurgence,” said Karen Senesac, Principal, Lincoln Elementary School. “Just before I came to the school, about 5 years ago, a conscientious parent felt that instituting a recycling program would be a great way for the school to make money for special projects. It was met with great enthusiasm and has since been responsible for a stream of income to support arts, physical education and music programs for our students.”
The school recycles glass, plastic and aluminum containers, which are paid a CRV or California Refund Value. Students and their families are encouraged to bring in their recyclables from home and place it in the appropriate school bins. Then, once the recyclables are picked up from a local hauler, the money earned goes to the school programs.
“We even offer various incentives to encourage recycling,” continued Senesac. “For example, the children get tickets for the bags they bring in that they can use in our mini-store. Once they use the ticket to purchase an item, the tickets go into another jar and once every 3-4 weeks, we pick tickets for prizes.”
Senesac believes that keeping the community sustainable is all about educating children and their parents and just ‘getting folks into the habit of thinking green.’
In addition to their recycling program, Lincoln is involved along with several other schools in the district in the Food Waste, Composting & Recycling program working with E.J. Harrison & Sons.
“It’s a great program where our children, after eating lunch, can sort the recyclables off their lunch tray into recyclables, trash and/or compost material. Now, we can also recycle milk and juice cartons. All this reduces the amount of waste going to the landfill, and helps our community environment.”
In Lincoln’s fourth and fifth grade classes, students plant in barrel gardens with the help of teachers and parent volunteers. This allows them to learn about produce and what grows in what season as well as how to use and/or serve the produce.
“It’s great because when children help to grow produce that they then learn about how to use, prepare and serve as well as why it’s nutritious and healthy, they are more apt to continue to enjoy the food.”
Currently, Lincoln also has a fruit or veggie of the month through the District’s Child Nutrition Services, which gives students an opportunity to taste-test a variety of fruits and vegetables, encouraging them to develop healthy eating habits. Children are also given a recipe each month to make with the chosen fruit or vegetable at home.
“Winning the Green School Award is a boost to all the volunteers, children, teachers and parents who have made a difference.”
Lincoln Elementary School was also the recipient of the 2009 Green School Award for recycling.
–Maryann Ridini Spencer for SustainableVentura.TV