Adams Elementary School has successfully met the grant requirements for their 2015-2016 Ocean Guardian School project year, and has been officially recognized by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of National Marine Sanctuaries as an Ocean Guardian School.
The primary goal of Adams Elementary School’s 2015-2016 Ocean Guardian School grant was to reduce waste with a focus on the reduction of single use plastic cups in the cafeteria. The student body (grades TK-6) was introduced to marine debris and plastic pollution and how it impacts their local watershed and the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. All students learned about daily conservation measures to reduce their impact on the environment. An existing water fountain at the school was retrofitted with a water refill drinking system. All students had the opportunity to buy a refillable water bottle at a reduced rate of $2 per bottle to use rather than the single use plastic cups that the school provides in the cafeteria.
The project accomplished the following goals:
- educate the entire student body about marine debris and plastic pollution and how it impacts the marine environment;
- educate the entire student body about daily conservation measures they can use to reduce their impact on the environment, including the ocean; and
- reduce the use of plastic cups by nearly 100 percent.
The students switched to using compostable paper cups in the cafeteria, which also helped in the school’s reduction of single-use plastics in the cafeteria. The students promoted the switch during a Zero Waste Week.
Looking ahead, Adams School plans to accomplish the following during the 2016-2017 school year:
Receive another grant for the 2016-2017 school year. The Ocean Guardian School grant will support the school’s initial efforts to reduce waste on campus through increased use of reusable items, composting and recycling, all with the aim of moving towards a zero waste cafeteria and other school-based areas. The upper elementary Montessori students will lead the school-wide project, including periodic waste audits throughout the year.
At the 2015 international Our Ocean Conference, President Obama remarked how “our economies, our livelihoods, and our food all depend on our oceans, and yet we know that our actions are changing them. Because this affects every part of the world, we all have to play our part at home.”
Dr. Amy Alzina, Adams, principal, credits this accomplishment to Adams parents Claire Fackler and Monica Kaderali for writing the grant; Donna Nelson, the school’s 4th-6th grade Montessori teacher; and students for their leadership in implementing the goals of the grant. Dr. Alzina is grateful for the school’s commitment to the preservation of our planet.