By Celis Brisbin, Programs Manager
On October 13, 2015 the Roosevelt Elementary School in Melrose, MA launched their first celebration of the Green Apple Day of Service. On belhalf of National Grid, the program was funded through a USGBC MA Green Apple Mini-Grant. The special events of the day included unveiling a Green Apple Tree of Ideas, initiating Energy Supervisors in the classrooms and hosting the first monthly lunchtime trivia game on topics of sustainability.
The Green Apple Tree of Ideas provided a process for connecting the whole family with efforts to reduce energy at the school. We conducted a school-wide idea share in which students and their parents talked together at home about ways to save energy and then submitted their ideas on a green paper apple. The green paper apples were collected and hung all together on a bulletin board next to the cafeteria in the main lobby of our school. When the students go to lunch every day, they can read another energy saving idea.
Next to the Green Apple Tree of Ideas is a section of the bulletin board devoted to showcasing an energy saving tip of the month. The tip posted will change monthly and serve as the focus for what behavior we want students to work on adopting that month. Examples of tips include powering down all electronic machines at the end of the day and closing doors in areas where heat needs to be contained.
This day also marked the start of each classroom installing an “Energy Supervisor” to monitor energy usage in the classroom. The role will rotate among students so that all students get a chance during the year to be the person in charge of monitoring. This person, whose name will be posted by the light switches, will be the one to make sure lights are turned off whenever the group leaves the room and that all electronics are powered down at the end of the day. They will also report any discrepancies or failures noticed in the automatic power down system for the computers.
The monthly trivia games held in the cafeteria during student lunch times are a further opportunity to share information with the children and for them to learn about the realities of how energy is used. Prizes purchased from proceeds of our recycling program are an inspiring reward for their participation and serve as reminders down the road for the ideas discussed. Two students per grade level play each month with a different student chosen every time.
The Green Apple Day of Service grant provided by the USGBC and National Grid is very supportive of our school. It encourages our efforts at greater energy use reduction and builds awareness and knowledge of this issue in our students.