Eco Team is Taking Action

Eco Team is Taking Action
Posted on 02/23/2018
This is the image for the news article titled Eco Team is Taking ActionOn this Friday morning, a group of thoughtful, dedicated individuals sit in a circle discussing ideas about how to best get their message out to the community.  They raise their hands, listen intently to each other and think about what the others in the group are saying before they speak.  As the conversation continues, one of the co-presidents goes to the board and begins to chart the group's plans and ideas.  After being reminded by the timekeeper that their meeting will end soon and that they must reach a decision before they leave, they create a plan of action before their next meeting and leave to make progress on their newly agreed upon work.

This scene might describe a high-stakes corporate board room or maybe a brainstorming session at a local service agency. Eco Team 1 In this instance, however, it accurately depicts a group of 20 or so amazing sixth grade students at Arts Middle during their College Preparation Block. 

The meeting is for the Eco Team, one of the many enrichment activities offered to students at our school.  While every student works hard to improve their individual skills during College Prep, this group also dedicates their time to helping the community and the school.  The Eco Team is the creation of sixth grade science teacher Ms. Scapellati.  Since last year, Ms. Scap has been hosting the enrichment club during college prep blocks.  She identifies topics and ideas that the Eco Team can adopt as their projects and then helps them research, analyze and implement plans to help make changes that better the environment and our world at large.  The students are fully responsible for doing all of the actual work and making things happen.

Last year, the Eco Team focused on recycling and their work resulted in Fountainmany positive improvements to our school, including the installation of the new Eco-friendly water fountain near the main office.  To date, this one fountain has refilled over 17,000 water bottles, reducing the amount of waste from plastic bottles that would have otherwise been thrown away.

This year, the Eco Team decided to pursue reducing food waste as their main focus.  The team, led by Co-President's Hayden Hartage and Elena Perez-Toro, has been working hard on this project and is staring to see some meaningful results.  "A lot of people don't care about this topic and it's hurting the planet, " offers Elena. So, the team has dedicated their time to research and analyze the statistics regarding food waste in our school, in our country and around the world.  They compiled their findings in written papers that highlighted the problems that they discovered and then brainstormed ways that they could make a change to help solve the problem.

But they did not stop at talking about the problem - they demanded action.  They created a carefully Eco Team 2designed presentation of their findings and recommendations,  invited our principal, Mr. Ryan, and our cafeteria manager, Mr. Chung, to attend the presentation and asked for their help in reducing the amount of food waste in our school.  They were incredibly persuasive.  Mr. Ryan called their work "powerful student leadership," and was amazed at their, "passionate, focused determination to make a difference."  Both he and Mr. Chung agreed to partner with the Eco Team to make changes in our school to reduce food waste.

Having successfully worked to make change happen, the Eco Team is now busy making preparations to make their changes a reality.  They have created posters and other noticposterses which are going up around the school to help make students and staff aware of the problem and then will offer ways that we, as a school, can address the problem. They are excited about helping make a change in our cafeteria.

When asked about why the team went to all of this trouble to make what seems like a small change in what is a huge problem for the world, Hayden was confident in their abilities: "If you show people how they can adjust little things, we can make the earth better."  Elena added, "A lot of little groups making little changes can add up to a huge difference."

Under the leadership of these great co-presidents and Ms. Scap, the Eco Team is making Arts Middle a better place to be and helping to make a small difference in our community, in hopes of a better future for our world. 

Their work reminds us of the power of having a great idea and how dedication and collaboration can create great results if given a chance.