Auburn School District comes up golden by going green

King County program honors schools for resource conservation

  • Wednesday, June 28, 2017 3:32pm
  • News

The Auburn School District and numerous individual schools within the district are reducing waste, increasing recycling, conserving resources and cutting costs with help from the King County Green Schools Program.

The program provides hands-on help and the tools that schools need, such as recycling containers and signs, to make improvements.

The district was recognized as a King County Level One Green School District for completing waste reduction and recycling criteria. The district has expanded and improved recycling in its school facilities, and has implemented waste reduction practices such as using durable, reusable trays and utensils in several school cafeterias and converting Staff Links to a digital publication thus eliminating 1,600 paper copies each quarter.

District resource conservation manager Scott Weide tracks and analyzes the district’s energy, water and solid waste utilities, and supports each school’s efforts to conserve resources.

Of the 20 schools in Auburn School District that participate in the program:

• 19 schools have been recognized as Level One Green Schools.

• Seven schools also have been recognized as Level Two Green Schools.

• Five schools also have been recognized as Level Three Green Schools.

• Two schools also have been recognized as Sustaining Green Schools.

In 2016-17, Auburn School District Superintendent Alan Spicciati issued a waste reduction statement about the district’s commitment to environmental stewardship that asks students, staff members and community to engage in resource conservation actions.

University of Washington students – in partnership with the Auburn School District, the City of Auburn and the King County Green Schools Program – recently completed student lunch and kitchen waste audits at 15 Auburn schools to determine lunchtime and kitchen recycling rates and the extent to which items are sorted correctly. The district and its schools, with help from King County Green Schools Program, will use the data to make improvements in lunchtime waste reduction and recycling practices.

School recognition

Lakeland Hills Elementary School was recognized as a Sustaining Green School for maintaining Level One, Two, and Three practices, and completing an additional conservation action or educational strategy. Lakeland Hills also received “Green School Leader” recognition from the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Arthur Jacobsen Elementary School and Ilalko Elementary School were recognized as Level Three Schools for maintaining Level One and Two practices, and engaging students and employees in water conservation and pollution prevention actions.

The following five Auburn schools were recognized as King County Level One Green Schools for initiating or improving waste reduction and recycling practices:

• Alpac Elementary School

• Cascade Middle School

• Dick Scobee Elementary School

• Evergreen Heights Elementary School

• Rainier Middle School

The program has served a growing number of schools each year – from 70 schools in 2008 to 251 schools this year, which is half of all K-12 schools in King County outside the City of Seattle.

“Schools and school districts initiated or improved sustainable practices, encouraging students and employees to reduce paper use, reduce food waste, recycle, or conserve energy and water, all of which reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change,” said Dale Alekel, Green Schools Program manager.

In addition to Green Schools Program assistance and recognition, King County offers support for student green teams, an elementary school assembly program, and classroom workshops for grades 1–12 that teach students about conservation.

Learn more by contacting Alekel at 206-477-5267 or dale.alekel@kingcounty.gov.

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