Environmental stewards to be recognized today

For the Reporter

Students, parents, teachers and other school employees who have shown a strong commitment to the environment through ongoing actions in and out of the classroom will be honored at King County's annual Earth Heroes at School ceremony today.

The work of these Earth Heroes inspires others to create their own projects that conserve resources, protect the environment, or educate others about how simple, everyday actions can contribute to a healthier planet.

The awards will be presented by King County Solid Waste Division Director Pat McLaughlin at 4:30 p.m. today at Maplewood Greens. This year the program recognizes 10 individual students and the entire student body of one school, plus five programs, nine teachers, one custodian, and three volunteers.

The winners from the Auburn School District are:

Green Team, Lakeland Hills Elementary

Every student participates in the school's Green Team as part of its conservation program. In addition to establishing a lunchroom recycling program, the Green Team practices energy conservation. Green Team members have served as spokespersons for district conservation initiatives and as ambassadors at a community event. They volunteer their recess time to educate their peers in waste reduction.

Alaura Keith, Lakeland Hills Elementary

Keith initiated her school's participation in the King County Green Schools Program. Earning levels one and two of the program in only six months, the school is working toward level three. Alaura has involved students, staff, and parents in reducing waste, collecting compostables, recycling, and energy conservation. The school has a recycling rate of 64 percent and has seen an 11 percent decrease in energy use

Laine Lenihan, Olympic Middle School

Lenihan developed a six-week-long Earth and Human Impact unit aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards. The unit, which covers topics under air, land, water, and energy, will be used in the eighth-grade science curriculum in the Auburn School District. She also is the advisor to the Olympic Middle School Green Team, which volunteers at many city-sponsored environmental events.

Vinnette Lang, Ilalko Elementary

Among the many projects Lang has undertaken over the past six years are co-founding the PTA's Green Team, organizing the school's TerraCycle Brigade, starting the student Green Team, providing environmental education resources to the Ilalko school community, and writing a monthly Green Team article. All of these have contributed to Ilalko becoming a King County Green School.

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