This is a guest post from Lindsey Cohen at Riverwood International Charter School.
Located in Sandy Springs, Georgia, Riverwood International Charter school is within minutes of some of the most beautiful parks and rivers in the metro Atlanta area. The Chattahoochee river park is a 5 minute drive away, Chastain park is within district, and many other parks and green areas outside of those are within close proximity. Despite its closeness to these natural resources, Riverwood had never focused on environmentally sustainable practices and green education. That all changed when Lori Leech, an Environmental Studies teacher at Riverwood, brought ecological issues to the forefront as a focus of the Riverwood curriculum. Riverwood International Charter School hosted their very first Green Spirit Week April 23-28.
With Lori’s planning and commitment, the first annual Green Spirit week at Riverwood was a huge success, bringing awareness of environmental issues to the entire student body. With the help of her students, Lori planned an entire week dedicated to spreading awareness of the problems facing the environment occurring on a global scale. With theme days, environmental intitiatives, and a “spirit stick” as a motivational reward, the entire school was able to get involved in environmental initiatives in a fun and creative environment where they could simultaneously dress up as themes of the week and gain spirit points for bringing reusable water bottles to lunch. Spirit days included a Water Wednesday, where students dressed up in creative outfits related to water and received points for using reusable water bottles, a Meatless Monday, where students and faculty dressed up as animals and gained spirit points for bringing a vegetarian meal for lunch to school, and a trash-talk Thursday, where students used their creativity to create outfits out of recyclable materials. At the end of the week, the points gained from dressing up and from participating in activities were added up and the grade with the most environmental spirit was given the “Green Spirit Stick”. The seniors were the victors.
In addition to dress up days, Riverwood also had a brown out, turning off unnecessary lights during the day at school. At the end of the week, the students of Riverwood were left with a positive experience to associate with environmental consciousness and a new appreciation for the impact that they can have with small actions such as meatless meals and reusable water bottles.