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by Michael Jafari / Buffalo Sabres
Local schools are starting to take action with helping the environment.

The Park School is an independent school that has operated for over 90 years in Snyder, New York.  The school’s campus covers 34-acres, which includes a pond and wooded area.  Students from Pre-K through high school are educated through a progressive philosophy.

One thing that differentiates The Park School from others is their participation in making a difference in the local environment.  The school has a Green Team that meets monthly to brainstorm ideas to educate the students on how they can be more involved in helping the environment.

“We have two goals.  We want to do a sustainability project every year that makes the campus better and will educate the student body on how to make the community more eco-friendly,”  said  Green Team advisor and science teacher, Adrienne DeGroat. 

The group’s slogan is “To make better choices.”  The Green Team is made up of students, faculty, parent volunteers, and administration.  When the group meets, they discuss issues on how to raise awareness within the school.  The school puts together a letter blitz that sends out a regular factoid to inform students on how they can make their life greener.

Additionally, the Green Team puts together an annual event that involves the entire school to help the environment.  Recently, The Park School organized “Garbage Week,” an event that had students weighing their lunch trash to observe the amount of waste the school generates in a week.

“We will do another Garbage Week later in the year, after we educate students on how to reduce our garbage,” said DeGroat.  “Our students have responded well, and they have been very helpful in our projects.”

Aside from the Green Team, The Park School has another group called the Ecology Club.  The Ecology Club is made up of students who are in charge of recycling the school’s paper and ink cartridges.  Last year, they worked with the Green Team to convince the students to drink more tap water through understanding the harmful effects of plastic to the environment. 

“The Ecology Club is a student driven club that has a shared vision with the Green Team.  The Ecology Club stopped the sale of bottled water in the school and conducted a taste test between bottled and tap water.  The middle school preferred the tap water over bottled water,” recalled Ecology Club Advisor and math teacher, Tammy Giancola. 

The Green Team’s success has impressed the school, which makes them hopeful that they can make a difference in the environment.  The lower school teachers are starting develop ways for incorporating the Green Team’s information into their classrooms, while the upper school has started participating more in their events. As a result of the response, The Green Team hopes to start offering incentives for students working hard to make better choices. 

“One of the things we are trying to implement is to start an environmental stewardship program for the upper school.  The program would be for students who take a step further to lead a particular project in helping the environment.  We are talking about having it on their transcript starting next year,” said Giancola.

This year, the Green Team and the Ecology Club will team up with another student-run organization, UNITIA, to organize the Park School Fashion Show.  Since the theme is “To Make Better Choices,” the clothes modeled will be either pre-worn or made completely out of cotton and other natural fibers.  The event is scheduled for March 25th.

For more information on The Park School, you can visit their website:
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