Across Macomb County, 101 schools have qualified as Michigan Green Schools by participating in projects that conserve energy, save landfill space, protect air and water and more.
The projects often come with the side benefit of exposing students to charity. In Warren, Carter Middle School's denim recycling project helps to clothe homeless people. The projects also expose students to life and potential career skills, such as the engineering of power-generating wind spires at the Macomb Math, Science, & Technology Center in Warren.
Those that achieved Green School status will be recognized at a countywide ceremony before the Macomb County Board of Commissioners on April 22, Earth Day.
"Just because they apply for it doesn't mean they necessarily get it," says Patti Dib, co-coordinator of the Macomb County Green Schools
initiative. "They have to adhere to the criteria and provide documentation" of the goals that were achieved and the projects either completed or those to be executed.
This is the third year that Macomb County schools have participated in the project, with more schools joining in each year, says Dib.
Projects are big and small, from across the board energy conservation policies, electricity-saving motion-detecting lights, and kids wiping clean refrigerator coils for more efficient operation, to designing wind power experiments and the recycling of nearly 29 tons of phone books through AT&T's ReDirectory Challenge. Three schools shared $1,200 for collecting the most unwanted phone books.
The L'Anse Creuse district, for example, with 20 schools, has set a goal to cut energy consumption by 25 percent across the district, Dib says.
Some projects received grants and donations from DTE Energy and Waste Management.
This was the first year that Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties are working together on Green Schools certification so requirements, qualifications and meaningfulness are the same across county lines, Dib says.
"So many people cross the county lines every day," she says. "If you see an official green school over in Oakland or Wayne County you're going to know what they've done because we operate the same way."
In Oakland County, 185 schools are certified green. Wayne County has about just over 100, she says. The three counties make up 80 percent of all green schools in Michigan.Source: Patti Dib, Green Schools Coordinator, Macomb County
Writer: Kim North Shine