Many communities and institutions worldwide use the April 22nd celebration of Earth Day to demonstrate support for environmental protection efforts. Grier, too, took part in celebrating Earth Day through a campus clean-up community service event. A group of students joined science teacher Mrs. Kallie Brubaker in picking up litter from campus.
Picking up litter around campus helps keep Grier grounds thriving and beautiful, but it also has effects that are even farther-reaching. Reducing litter reduces the chances of wildlife ingesting plastics and other materials that can be dangerous to their systems. While Grier is situated in the mountains, rainwater runoff collects in rivers like the Little Juniata and makes its way to the ocean; so cleaning up locally can help protect oceans, too!
Mrs. Brubaker also coordinates the massive weekly recycling efforts at Grier. Each classroom and school space has a blue recycling bin where everyone at Grier can deposit papers, bottles, and cans. Each week, a team of students volunteer to collect the recycling throughout the campus and deposit it in special recycling dumpsters on the Grier property. It is a huge job, but the efforts of our recycling team significantly reduce the amount of garbage that heads to landfills.
Mrs. Kelly Forest is looking into developing a composting program as one component of her Advanced Ecosystems Design course, where 10th-12th grade students will explore topics involving ecosystems within the Grier greenhouse and Earth. Topics will include the energy balance of the earth, greenhouse gases, carbon capturing, carbon footprint, composting, soils and growing our own food. Classes will be held in the greenhouse and in the classroom throughout the year.
Another way in which Grier goes green is by encouraging students to reduce and re-use. Seniors who are departing from Grier are invited to sell items they no longer need. Younger students and even staff members shop the senior sale, giving items a second life and sparing them from the dumpster. At the end of the school year, a group of volunteer students, math teacher Mrs. Danielle Kelley, and Mrs. Brubaker collect the remaining discarded items throughout the student cottages and dorms. These items are donated to a local charity, the Blair County Association for the Blind, where they are sold in a fund-raising yard sale. Mrs. Brubaker also heads an end-of-the-year effort to collect discarded textbooks. Grier donates textbooks that are usable to schools in need and sends any unuasable textbooks to be recycled.
Going green takes some effort, but there are some ways in which we can easily help preserve the environment. Grier students who advocate environmental protection have some suggestions for basic ways each of us can do our part:
Use re-usable shopping bags instead of plastic bags from stores
Use refillable water bottles instead of plastic ones
Avoid Styrofoam cups and dishes, which can take 500 years to decompose
Use only one paper towel to dry your hands instead of many
Don’t litter and pick up litter when you see it
Conserve water when you brush your teeth, take a shower, or do laundry
Recycle! Put eligible recyclables in the correct container. Do not contaminate the container with non-recyclable trash.
These easy, small things can have a big effect when everyone does their part.