You need to avoid eating green apples if green means the fruit is not ripened yet. There are good green apples though, like Granny Smith apples and the Green Apple Day of Service. A ripe apple a day keeps the doctor away, but a Green Apple Day of Service keeps a school environment sustainable. On September 29, 2012, the US Green Building Council (USGBC) Center for Green Schools is sponsoring Green Apple Day of Service. It is a day to celebrate sustainability by bringing together committed green advocates who want to ensure the 700 million children attending school around the globe are learning in sustainable environments and environmentally caring communities.
The Green Apple Day of Service is a massive effort that brings people together for a common cause. Advocates in the U.S., Canada, South Africa, South Korea and many other countries will sponsor events and programs that fit their particular environment. In the U.S. there are approximately 75 million children in school on any given school day, and the planned events are as diverse as the children and their local communities. Teachers, students, parents and local supporters are encouraged to participate in the program in any way they can, including hosting events, starting a green school program or taking any other action that improves the school or the community in which it is located.
The varied planned events include indoor and outdoor activities like cleaning up school grounds to remove dangerous or toxic materials that contribute to respiratory problems. A school group may plant an organic garden, sponsor a show-and-tell in the school auditorium that includes booths and activities that are environmentally connected, go on a scavenger hunt for bits of nature, or hold parent coffee chats. In some schools, volunteers will gather to clean up a local creek or plant trees.
Just to give you a taste of the Green Apple Day of Service, the Barton Hills Elementary School will plant the plants for a rain garden that will be installed this summer. Will C. Wood Middle School in Sacramento, CA has planned a full day in which work groups will garden, clean the running track and field, plant or weed flower beds, and make recycling posters. The Mia Piccolo Montessori School in Miami, FL is hosting the 1st Annual Famers Market which will sell organic fruits and vegetables and green products.
Green Apple Day of Service is a wonderful concept because the children that are participating are the generation that will have to live with the decisions we are making right now as global warming accelerates. Just today there was an alarming report that the Arctic sea ice has reached a new low and has broken a record that was set a mere 3 weeks ago. The rate of decline is so fast the models created to predict the ice conditions are not able to keep up. When the scientists are concerned, we should be concerned.
The charm of Green Apple Day of Service is not just found in its green focus. Getting the community involved in the schools benefits everyone, but convincing people to take action can be difficult. That is probably why so many of the schools are offering activities or sessions that last 60 minutes of less throughout the day. Someone who doesn’t have a lot of time to donate can fit an hour in much easier. It also shows that the school is serious about getting wide participation, instead of just counting on the same people who always show up.
One aspect particularly attractive about the short sessions is that they reinforce the fact that going green doesn’t have to be a major time consuming chore. All the little things that people do really are important to the development of a sustainable environment.
The Green Apple Day of Service could become a standard bearer for other sustainable school and non-school programs. We will have to revisit the program after the schools have had time to evaluate how the day went.
What projects are your local schools completing? Let us know in the comments!