Photo by Colin Kroh
Baltimore High School Has Built An Accomplished Green Club
Trevon Manning, a freshman at Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts in Baltimore, is part of the school's Green Club that is undertaking several different projects. They are recycling and reusing paper waste, painting storm drains, studying trees across the seasons, and attending educational trips. Read Trevon's account of The Green Club below.
“The Green Club” is an after-school program at Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts. It is a group of high school students and a teacher committed to help out with improving the environment, little by little and in various ways. What we do is we gather after school every day from 3:35 to 6:00 P.M., however mostly on Wednesdays to collect recycled paper throughout the classrooms. Our mission is to help the environment and to get people to live an environmental-friendly lifestyle, to be aware of the local and global environmental issues, and most importantly to protect the environment. We are composed of about 15 members and all of us share the same vision; we want to help out save the environment. We are starting small by focusing in our own school campus but are planning to expand our environmental awareness programs to the neighboring community.
Paper recycling is a big deal for us; we are trying to recover all the used paper in the building for recycling purposes. We know that paper comes from trees; statistics show that on estimate, 1 tree makes 16.67 reams of copy paper or 8,333.3 sheets (conservatree.org). Paper mills also use a considerable amount of energy and at the same time contributes to the pollution problem. Also, recycling a ton of paper would leave you with 7000 gallons of water, 17 trees, and 380 gallons of oil. This is the main reason why we are passionate about recycling paper. At the beginning of the school year we designed and distributed recycling boxes to every classroom in the building. On Wednesdays we empty these boxes and we get them ready for the city to pick up. Some of these collected paper were recycled right here in the school. Through a simple mechanical process, we transform this paper into postcards, and cut out letters for our poster boards. Recycling paper is important because not only does it give something to do, it also benefits you and the earth.
Another project that we are doing is storm drain stenciling. Last autumn we painted four storm drains around the school campus. Our goal for this project is to encourage the community to become aware of the environment. Some of the artwork includes a blue heron, crab, fish, and text like “NO TRASH PLEASE” and “HEALTHY HARBOR STARTS HERE”. We know that storm drains are similar to water funnels that collect rain water and flushes straight to the bay. The problem is that people litter and it impacts our Chesapeake Bay. What happened is that the litter goes to the storm drains and ends up in the Bay where our food comes from. We stencil the storm drains to get people aware of what/where the things that go in, end up. Personally, I enjoy painting storm drains because it’s fun and it benefits me as well as others.
We also conducted research which studies the growing season of trees in our schoolyard. Our long term question was: “How might the length of the growing season relate to the climate?” and the short term question was: “When does the growing season for trees in our schoolyard end this autumn?” Our research was in autumn where we measured and flagged the leaves. As the season grows we recorded the data like the color of the leaves, length/width of the leaves, and the number of leaves that had fallen at a certain time. We plan to return in spring and continue our research. Our reason for doing this is to keep track of the health and changes in the trees around the schoolyard. Doing this project helped me value the consideration of our trees everywhere.
We as an environmental group are also having fun by experiencing nature and participating to different field trip opportunities. The trips that we attended include not only the green club but other students as well. The first trip to the Arthur Sherwood Environmental Center required us to measure the quality of Chesapeake Bay water. The trip also included canoeing and taking a trip on a boat. While on the canoe we observed birds and studied the value of the wetlands. We also conducted seining where we captured shrimp and other little fish. Some of our members also went to Cornell University and attended a two-day workshop on Conservation, Career, and Arts.
Being a member of the club broadens my understanding of the environment. It also gives me opportunities to take necessary actions in helping save the environment. I think that it impacts my academic performance because I learn different things about trees that include: when the trees in our schoolyard change color, stop growing, and tree's identification.
Check out these photos from the Green Club's Instagram account.
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