ALPENA - Thunder Bay Junior High has received recognition as a green school by Michigan Green Schools for the work of its students in environmental stewardship projects and recycling practices.
Sixth grade science teacher Cheryl Mack has been involved with the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative, and got the idea to apply for the green status at a GLSI training.
"I noticed that some of the schools that had received the green school status were doing some of the same things we were doing here," Mack said. "We had 10 qualifying factors out of 20."
There are different levels of being a green school; green, emerald and evergreen.
"Being in the green level gives us an opportunity to grow and expand our programs," Mack said. "We're already looking at ways we can expand our recycling program beyond just paper."
Besides recycling, the stewardship programs at the junior high were a large part of achieving the green recognition.
"We do a lot of environmental stewardship projects," Mack said. "Last year we did beach cleanups where we cleaned, monitored and collected data from the beaches around town. We also monitor the phragmities invasive species near the beach and will be working on studying the buckthorn invasive species on the school trail."
Students are involved in various activities that help get them involved in the community and take care of the area.
"It helps make them aware of how our actions can impact the Great Lakes," Mack said. "It's nice to get recognition and helps to make the students conscious that what they are doing is important."
Mack said that by making the students aware of environmentally friendly practices at school, hopefully they will take those practices back home and be more environmentally conscious everywhere they go.
"This year the students need to keep up the good work," Mack said. "We need to find a place where we can rise up and take it one step further. The district has been working to go greener also by installing automatic lights that shut off when the room is empty and rotating in energy efficient bulbs. There are district wide attempts to save energy. It's just nice to get the official recognition and acknowledgment of being considered green and environmentally friendly."
Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.