North Tahoe students push for sustainability
Green Team elementary school students from all across North Lake Tahoe talked to the Truckee Town Council Tuesday night about the importance of sustainability and the efforts their club is taking to combat climate change.
“We are here because we believe that climate change is real,” said Daisy Melen, a Green Team member from Donner Trail Elementary.
One by one a group of 16 students shared a piece of their sustainability efforts at their schools to the council. These included new recycling methods implemented at their schools as well a water and energy conservation efforts.
“Recycling collection is constantly changing,” said Ava Jones, Green Team member from Glenshire Elementary School. She said their club members were working to educate their school sites on how to best manage these changes and implement solutions. “The difference between doing it right and wrong can be costly.”
When analyzing school recycling practices the students found that elementary schools within the Truckee Tahoe School District can throw away as much as 132 pounds of food in one day.
“We now have a goal of eliminating single use packages,” said Ember Dolan, a Green Team student from Glenshire Elementary School. “These are unnecessary and produce extra waste.”
Working with the Sierra Watershed Education Partnership, sustainability club members worked to teach others about water conservation by connecting students to local water issues. Green Team members from Kings Beach elementary worked with their fellow classmates to create drain art and build a demonstration shed with a green roof and habitat wall.
Other efforts included working with the Truckee River Watershed to clean up 114 pounds of trash at McIver Dairy property.
This year the Eco Action Clubs, environmental clubs at the middle schools within the school district, hosted an energy conservation campaign encouraging classrooms to turn off their lights for one hour every Friday. Though students from the Eco Action were scheduled to present with Green Team students, they were receiving an award from the McConkey Foundation for their energy conservation efforts at the same time of the council meeting.
“It makes me so proud to see this flourishing,” said Council Member Anna Klovstad. “It started as a very small green team at Truckee Elementary. Once the other sites started seeing the enthusiasm and the impact of that small Green Team they started asking for it. Now we have one at every single school site in the district.”
This week, environmental club students from North Tahoe and Truckee High School are in Washington D.C. to advocate for more effective climate resolutions.
“You’re not just doing clean-up yourselves, you’re also telling the adults what you want to see them do and that is the biggest power that you have,” Vice Mayor Morgan Goodwin said to the students.
Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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“The issue is the definition of ‘recycling,’” said Jeanette Tillman, the sustainability manager for South Tahoe Refuse and Recycling. “(Recycling) doesn’t always equate to recycled.