Mercer Island School District Green Teams
Mercer Island School District is one of 14 school districts that partners with King County Green Schools to:
- Initiate and expand waste reduction and recycling practices and other conservation actions.
- Involve the whole school community in environmental stewardship.
- Operate environmentally efficient and responsible facilities.
The King County Green Schools Program Vision is that “all schools and school district in King County will practice resource conservation and engage their students and staff in environmental stewardship.”
Five Mercer Island schools have been recognized as Sustaining Green Schools by King County: Island Park Elementary, Lakeridge Elementary, Mercer Island High School, Northwood Elementary and West Mercer Elementary.
King County has previously recognized Islander Middle School as a Level Three Green School for maintaining its Level One waste reduction and recycling practices and its Level Two energy conservation practices while meeting criteria in Level Three water conservation and pollution prevention.
Mercer Island School District was previously recognized as a Level One King County Green School District for its waste reduction and recycling policies and practices.
This program helps schools and school districts engage students and employees in learning about and practicing resource conservation. It provides hands-on help, guidance for Green Teams, and the tools schools need, such as information, indoor recycling bins, and a variety of conservation signs, to make improvements.
To earn the Sustaining Green School/School District recognition, schools and districts must have met criteria in three levels – Level One waste reduction and recycling; Level Two energy conservation; and Level Three water conservation and pollution prevention -- and completed an additional conservation action or educational strategy. Schools and districts that meet the criteria are recognized each year as Sustaining Green Schools.
The program helps teach students and staff to only recycle materials they know can be recycled. To reduce contamination in recycling bins and ensure markets for the collected recyclable materials, important messages such as “no liquids or food in recycling bins” are emphasized. Students in turn bring these lessons home.
“The schools we’re recognizing this spring have initiated or improved sustainable practices such as reducing paper use, reducing food waste, recycling, and conserving energy and water, all of which reduce carbon emissions that contribute to climate change,” said Dale Alekel, King County Green Schools Program manager.
Student Green Teams participate in activities such as monitoring energy use in classrooms, promoting walking, biking and carpooling to school, encouraging their peers to use durable water bottles, and creating videos about a variety of conservation practices.
Lakeridge Elementary was previously honored with the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award in 2017. Lakeridge was selected for its innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education. The 64 districts and schools honored nationwide were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 28 states. Only two Washington state schools were selected that year.