Sustainability Initiatives in Fayetteville Public Schools
- School Gardens
- Wildlife Habitat Certification
- Energy Conservation
- Indoor Environmental Quality
- Waste Reduction
- Green Teams
- Building Sustainably & LEED Certification
Seven schools in the district have vegetable gardens used for teaching gardening skills and healthy eating habits through classes and after school garden clubs. Schools with gardens: Asbell Elementary, Butterfield Trail Elementary, Leverett Elementary, Holt Middle School, Owl Creek School, Washington Elementary, and Happy Hollow Elementary. Some schools rely primarily on teachers and staff and others rely on parental involvement. In three of the schools (Leverett, Butterfield, and Owl Creek), Apple Seeds, Inc, a community nonprofit, organizes afterschool programs and provides nutritional education. If you are interested in starting a school garden in your child's school, contact Sustainability Coordinator Dana Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested in volunteering with one of the extant school gardens, talk to your child's principal.
Eight schools in the district are National Wildlife Federation Certified: Butterfield Trail Elementary, Happy Hollow Elementary, Leverett Elementary, Owl Creek School, Root Elementary, Washington Elementary, Holcomb Elementary, and Holt Middle School. Certified schools provide food, water, shelter, and places to raise young for native Arkansas wildlife. Each certified school has received a "habitat kit" with resources for teaching students about habitat. For more information about NWF Certification, visit http://www.nwf.org.
Facilities management uses an energy management system and closely monitors utility consumption throughout the district. Facilities upgrades have included energy efficient heating and air conditioning units in many buildings and more efficient lighting. Green Teams play an important role educating building occupants about energy conservation behaviors.
FPS strives to ensure all students and staff have a healthy indoor environment free of pollutants and potential contaminants. The custodial department has transitioned to using many Green Seal environmentally friendly cleaning products in recent years. We can all help ensure ventilation systems are unobstructed and working properly.
Each school has City of Fayetteville dumpsters for paper and cardboard recycling. Green Teams at many schools also collect plastic bottles and aluminum cans for weekly recycling. Green Teams have also handed out Habitote bags to replace disposable plastic bags and are working to reduce waste in cafeterias.
Five elementary schools in the district are certified Litter Free Zones: Happy Hollow, Leverett, Holcomb, Root, and Washington. The Keep Arkansas Beautiful Foundation's Litter-Free Zone program, designed for elementary and middle school ages, encourages students to apply the program's service-learning principles in class, on campus, in the school's neighborhood and eventually throughout the community. For more information: www.kabfoundation.org/programs/litter-free-zone.
Each school has an individual Green Team of students, teachers, parents, and community volunteers working toward greater environmental sustainability both inside and outside the classroom. Each school's green team chooses its own projects. Some teams choose to focus on recycling, others on cutting down cafeteria waste, and still others have worked on a variety of different projects from adopting a stream to having their school certified as Wildlife Habitat. Representatives from each team form the larger FPS Green Team and meet throughout the year to share ideas and resources and support district wide initiatives. The District Green Team also acknowledges school projects and outstanding community involvement at an annual celebration.
All new building in the district is being undertaken in an environmentally responsible way. Butterfield Trail Elementary is LEED certified and Happy Hollow Elementary is in the process of being LEED certified. Fayetteville High School is being built to achieve Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) status, and is currently tracking at LEED Silver. LEED status is determined by points which are given for everything from installing bike racks to diverting waste from landfills.
Dana Smith works with students, teachers, and staff across the district to coordinate environmental sustainability efforts. Primary focus areas include energy efficiency, waste reduction, indoor environmental quality, school yard habitats, and garden areas.
Energy Corps Member
Sammi Jones is an Energy Corps member who works for the district, primarily collaborating with Child Nutrition Director Adam Simmons on the Farm to Schools program. Sammi is also very involved in several of the school garden efforts within the district. The Energy Corps AmeriCorps project is an initiative of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) in cooperation with The Corporation for National and Community Service.
Farm to School (F2S) initiatives support local economies, reduce food miles traveled from farm to plate, and provide students fresh, healthy meals. FPS started F2S efforts in 2005 at Washington, Leverett and Asbell Elementary Schools with limited local purchasing. Between 2005 and 2011, F2S efforts included some local purchasing and educational programming in partnership with Apple Seeds, Inc. During the 2011-2012 academic year the F2S program expanded when each elementary school had one fully locally-produced lunch accompanied by an educational program about the benefits of local foods. For the 2012 summer lunch program at Owl Creek School FPS committed to buying as much local produce and meat as possible as part of a Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education grant written by the University of Arkansas (UA) Horticulture Department. This program was a collaborative effort between FPS, UA, Apple Seeds, Inc., Feed Fayetteville, and KUAF. FPS and community partners will continue to work together to identify opportunities for local purchasing and educational programming for students.
Fayetteville NPR affiliate, KUAF, ran three radio clips about the summer 2012 Farm to School initiative on the Ozarks at Large program. Listen to the stories here: