VVS Earth Week Extravaganza
April 19, 2012
Out of more than 100 projects, VVS's Earth Week Extravaganza was selected as a top project in Project Earth's 2012 United States Earth Day Contest.
Winners were announced on Friday, April 20 on www.ProjectEarth.net, and in a national media press release.
The VVS SEED Team (our student environmental group) decided to hold a week’s worth of events to celebrate Earth Day and to educate the school’s community about sustainability issues, most notably, Zero Waste.
The SEED Team collaborated with several VVS science classes and a local non-profit organization in Sedona. The main purpose of the Earth Week Extravaganza was to shrink our school’s environmental footprint by reducing the waste we produce. In February 2012, the environmental systems classes conducted a waste audit with the help of a local organization called Sedona Recycles, Inc.
This waste audit data was used to develop a new composting program and to expand the school’s recycling program. The Earth Week Extravaganza project was designed to fill several needs:
• reduce the school’s waste flow to landfill by diverting compostables and recyclables so that the campus will have only one dumpster rather than three;
• educate all students and staff about turning organic waste into a resource (compost) and about multiple ways to reuse/recycle;
• experience the joys of our natural environment by getting unplugged (no electronics day) and getting outside (variety of outdoor recreational opportunities).
Earth Week Itinerary
Monday, April 16
At our community dinner, students introduced the upcoming events to celebrate Earth Week which included a slide show and videos about composting and recycling. They also explained the class competition kick-off in which the amount of food each class throws in the trash this week will be measured. The class that has thrown away the least amount of food will win the prize.
Tuesday, April 17
During Bug Lunch students and teachers discovered the nutritional value and tastiness of bugs, and were asked to consider the world’s food supply and distribution.
At the Recycled Fashion Show, students demonstrated how beautiful garments can be made from cast-offs and trash.
Wednesday, April 18
Local parents and friends were offered a tour of the VVS experimental garden and chicken flock.
At the vegetarian dinner on Wednesday, the community ate lower on the food chain!
Thursday, April 19
No Electricity/No Electronics Day! We all became more aware of our potential waste of energy when we use lights unnecessarily. Teachers held classes outdoors. Everyone was encouraged to turn off computers and cell phones for 24 hours.
In the afternoon, students organized fun activities on the soccer field to show that they can have fun without electronics.
At night, most of the school camped out on the soccer field and enjoyed a camp fire, star-gazing, and music on the soccer field.
Weekend, April 20-22
Many outdoor recreational opportunities are being offered so everyone can enjoy our environment with a “Leave no Trace” ethic.
Monday, April 23
Monday's community dinner will be made up of all local food and seasonal produce in order to leave a small environmental footprint. The awards for the Sustainability Field Day and the class competitions for reducing food waste will be given on Monday as well.
"The VVS SEED Team hopes that after the Earth Week Extravaganza, many more members of our school will understand how to compost and recycle, will be more conscientious of their waste habits (like food waste and electricity use), and will have had a good time in the learning process. Follow up data will be collected from our recycling bins, dumpsters, and composting center to evaluate quantitatively how well we have changed the community’s behaviors," says Catrien van Assendelft, science teacher and SEED advisor.