On October 2, 2017, members from the Greenlove Foundation participated in St. Michael’s Country Day School assembly to celebrate the school’s environmental efforts and successes during the past three years. As a result of the school’s environmental accomplishment, Greenlove has donated a water bottle filling station to SMCDS which was officially unveiled on Monday.
John Zurn, headmaster of St. Michael’s, in his application for a Greenlove water station, outlined three environmental projects that the students were involved with during the past three years:
- During 2014-2015, the third graders determined that the State of Rhode Island did not have a state insect. They identified that the American Burying Beetle used to range across the East Coast but today it is endangered with the principal colony dwelling on Block Island. Throughout that school year, the third graders researched the beetles, spoke to scientists and eventually proposed to the State Senate that this particular beetle becoming the state insect. In the summer of 2015, the American Burying Beetle became the official state insect of Rhode Island due to the hard work of the third graders.
- In the 2015-2016 school year, St. Michael’s received a state grant of $50,000 for solar panels that were placed on the school’s Hill House Gymnasium and Theater Center. The solar panels decrease the reliance on community energy resources and reflects the school’s continuing interest in minimizing its environmental footprint on our island community.
- The Middle School students in the academic year of 2016-2017, studied the marine environment and determined that the significant amount of non-degradable litter found on beaches was plastics. A large amount of this litter were plastic bags distributed by area retailers. The students joined a campaign to ban plastic bags throughout Aquidneck Island. In the spring of 2017, Middletown and Newport councils approved the details of a ban on commercial plastic bags in these two towns thanks in part to these students. The commercial plastic bag ban begins on Nov. 1, 2017.
The assembly celebrated these accomplishments and also kicked off the school’s mission of selecting a yearly environmental project. A special “environmental hall of fame” wall is currently in development at the school in recognition of their environmental stewardship.
The Greenlove Foundation recognized the great effort that the students and faculty of St. Michael’s have done over the past three years to make Aquidneck Island an environmentally cleaner place to enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds us.
The Greenlove Foundation was established in loving memory of Kendra L. Bowers, also a graduate of St. Michael’s Country Day Class of 2008.
The foundation has thus far installed a water bottle station at The Norman Bird Sanctuary, Melville Elementary School, Fort Adams State Park, Rogers High School, and South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston.
For more information on Greenlove, visit www.greenlovefoundation.org.