It’s Not Easy Going Green
Last year, in an effort to be more environmentally aware and friendly, NDP began and completed the process of becoming a Green School. In order to maintain Green School status, NDP must meet specific requirements issued by the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education or the MAEOE. These requirements to become a Green School include changing the curriculum to teach environmental awareness, conserving water and energy on school grounds and servicing the environmental needs of the community. All of this was accomplished last year by the Green School Committee that was formed in early September of last year. Last year’s Green School Committee consisted of teachers from each department, who were dedicated to helping Notre Dame become a more environmentally conscious, less wasteful school. The committee accomplished many objectives last year and continues to make strides this year in maintaining Green School status. Notre Dame’s Green School Committee met for the first time this year on October 12th to discuss the issues that must be addressed in order for the Green School status to be maintained. The acting head of the Green School Committee, Mrs. Bulavinetz, stated that the committee had already made great strides in the Green School process. Such strides include the instillation of light switch covers in order to conserve energy and the placement of recycling bins throughout the school to encourage environmental awareness. In addition, a school wide day of environmental service took place last year in October. During this day of service, the students went to learn about the environment and help to restore it. The students accomplished this by planting trees, visiting the Chesapeake Bay and helping to ready the outdoor area of a local Women’s Trafficking shelter that was preparing to open. The middle school has also helped the Green School initiative by planting a Middle Level Garden. The Middle Level Garden also helped to accomplish the objective of outdoor learning by the placement of benches throughout the garden. Another Green School marker was reached with the formation and continual meeting of the Environmental Awareness Club. Although the Green School incentive has already been completed, NDP continues to make the community a more environmentally friendly and conscious place. Examples of this include the new school paper, which is an entirely digital publication. The committee hopes to get students involved in environmental service projects in the NDP community. In addition, they hope to update lesson plans in each department to include some kind of project or chapter that helps to make students more environmentally conscious. The issue of becoming a Green School is especially important to the Notre Dame community because of Catholic Social Teaching. Catholic Social Teaching teaches to respect the community and to do service when and where it is needed; these values were a driving factor behind the Green School initiative. The main goal of the current Green School Committee is to maintain Green School status, while continuing to find new ways to make Notre Dame environmentally friendly. Hopefully, the entire school will get involved!