Metro awards school earns 'green' certificate
by: Carole Archer, Catherine Spaulding, a fifth-grader at Fairview Elementary School, speaks at an assembly Friday, Jan. 25, to honor the school’s environmental efforts.

If you want to learn about the little things you can do to help save the planet, visit Fairview Elementary School, 225 Main St.

Students and staff members have been turning off lights, recycling shopping bags, reducing the amount of food they waste and biking and walking to school to help lessen their environmental impact.

Metro representatives Freda Sherburne and Hans Van Der Schaaf awarded Fairview a Green School Certificate during an assembly Friday, Jan. 25.

Fairview fifth-graders Warren Goldsby, Maria Jimenez, Lauralee Kindel, Kade Novak, Kelsy Rackham, Catherine Spaulding, Brianna Haner, and Loryn Williams performed a skit and led the students in a recycling song to honor and thank the school's recycling partners: the city of Fairview, Twelve Mile Disposal Service Inc., the school's garbage service and Metro.

The certificate recognized the multiple efforts the school's students and staff members have made over the past several months to make Fairview a more environmentally friendly place.

By earning the certificate, Fairview joins more than a score of East County schools that have earned various levels of recognition for their environmental efforts from Oregon Green Schools, a statewide organization that is sponsored by governmental and private groups.

It all started with an audit last spring, according to Van Der Schaff, Metro's Recycle at School Project Coordinator. The goal was to see where the school could reduce its waste, increase its recycling and decrease its energy and water use, he says.

'I think the green schools process is a really good way to get the kids involved,' he says.

Van Der Schaff worked primarily with Gloria Trabacca, third-grade teacher, as well as Linda Ferris, the school's physical education teacher, on Fairview's program. Efforts included encouraging the students to use both sides of paper in classes, and instituting 'Waste-Less Wednesdays' during which students and teachers were encouraged to reduce their paper and food consumption and turn off lights.

The school's students have apparently taken their environmental lessons to heart. Just talk to Warren Goldsby, 11; Loryn Williams, 10; Kelsy Rackham, 11; and Kade Novak, 11.

'Usually, I would just throw stuff away,' Warren says. 'Thinking about this made me think about saving trees and stuff.'

Warren ponders for a moment why we need trees.

'If we don't have enough trees, we won't be able to breathe.'

Although this comment elicits giggles from his fellow students, they're all serious about saving the planet.

'Whenever I recycle bags, I always look forward to bringing them to school to save the environment,' Loryn says.

She and the other students add that the school earns money from Wal-Mart for the bags it collects, money that Fairview plans to use in order to build a sheltered playground that will allow the children to play outside even when it's raining.

Ally Ekstrom, recycling captain at the Wood Village Wal-Mart, says the store will give Fairview $5 for each 60-gallon bag of plastic bags the school collects as part of Wal-Mart's Kids Recycling Challenge program. As of last week, the students had collected more than $100 worth of bags, Ferris adds.

The students say that they've taken the lessons they've learned at school and applied them at home, and that their families are recycling more and turning off TVs and lights when they're not being used.

'If we leave them off, we won't waste electricity and energy,' Kade says.

Green schools

• For more information on the Wal-Mart Kids Recycling Challenge, visit

Fairview Elementary is asking community members to donate plastic bags to their recycling drive. For more information, call Linda Ferris at 503-667-2954, ext. 4119.

The school is also hosting a plastic bag drive on Saturday, Feb. 23. Call Ferris for time and drop-off area.

• Oregon Green Schools is dedicated to helping schools set up and maintain effective, permanent waste reduction and resource efficiency programs that improve school environments and communities, and recognizing schools for their efforts and achievements.

For more information visit

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