The AMAZING students at Grand View Elementary made it on Spectrum 1 News! The Grand View campaign team was featured as was the school’s incredible trash sorting efforts that were set up a decade ago by Grades of Green students. We’re so proud to show off these Eco-Leaders’ dedication to the environment. Thank you, Spectrum 1!

We’d like to thank Grand View Elementary for letting us film and the Grand View PTA for its continued support of our vision to empower and inspire the next generation of Eco-Leaders. Grades of Green was founded at Grand View more than 10 years and we continue to work closely with their incredible students to keep Manhattan Beach and California at the forefront of environmental action!

Two Grades of Green students featured in Spectrum 1 News’ coverage.

We’re so excited to share with you the winners of our 2019 Water Campaign! These amazing student teams worked so hard on behalf of their environment and their communities.

Grand Prize Eco-Grant Winner – $1,000

Fisher Middle School – Los Gatos, California

The Fisher Green Team was able to accomplish its goals, and then some! Not only did they convince their classmates to reduce the use of single-use plastics, but they also got their school’s leadership to:

• Stop selling single-use plastic water bottles!
• Switch to reusable aluminum bottles
• Eliminate sales of Capri Sun, due to the attached straw and single-use container
• Support the new use of all compostable and sustainable serving trays in the cafeteria
• Switch from single-use plastic water bottle sales at after school events, to cardboard cartons of water
• Allow the Green Team to plan and implement new trash sorting stations campus-wide to help make sure their recyclables can be recycled

How did the Fisher team do all this? They put together a powerful campus-wide advocacy campaign to convince their fellow students, their administrators, and their school’s community to support their green initiatives.

Student Leadership Award

Beatrice O. at Whitney High School – Cerritos, California

Beatrice has always gone above and beyond to help her fellow students take environmental action! Here are just a few of the qualities that her Grades of Green Advisor, Cathy, shared with us: she has great organizational and planning skills, she’s very responsive, very sophisticated and exhibits the most excellent leadership! Congratulations to Beatrice for not only receiving this award but also for leading her team to a third season in the finals.

Help us to Provide Next Campaign’s Eco-Grants

We need your help to continue to provide these transformative Eco-Grants to our students. These grants encourage students to complete their projects, and are one of the most powerful ways for us to expand our students’ impact!

Best Community Changemaker – $500

Mary Bragg Elementary School – Cerritos, California
We knew we had a very special team on our hands when the elementary students from Mary Bragg called out their school board for using single-use plastic bottles while the team pitched to them their plastic-reduction plan. These young students changed how their school community approached single-use plastics and convinced their school to reduce single-use plastics on campus and do a better job of recycling.

Runner Up: El Rancho Charter School – Anaheim, California

Best Innovative Idea – $500

Irvine SEVA Group – Irvine, California
The SEVA Group found a plastic problem that many green-leaning people overlook: plastic produce bags in the grocery store, which can easily be replaced with reusable versions. They met with their PTA and other members of their school community to convince them to go reusable and also did something unique! The SEVA group got their own reusable produce bags and went to a local store to hand them out and raise awareness of the issue. They’re currently in the middle of setting up another give-away event at another local grocery.

Runner Up: Magruder Middle School – Torrance, California

Best Impact by an Elementary School – $500

Seven Generations Charter School – Emmaus, Pennsylvania
These fourth graders worked hard to reduce the amount of single-use plastic, especially sandwich baggies, packed in their school’s lunches. They wanted to educate people in their school and community in an entertaining way, so they went above and beyond to make an extra “Family Feud” themed video to share their project. They also worked to provide easy access to sustainable alternatives to sandwich baggies by coming up with a proposal to the PTO to sell school-branded reusable snack pouches.

Runner Up: Innovation Academy – Oro Valley, Arizona

Best Grades of Green Alumni Team – $500

Airbender Team at Hughes Middle School – Long Beach, California
The Hughes Airbenders have been working with Grades of Green for a few years, and we’ve always been very impressed with their work. This year, their team did an excellent job of picking a specific target audience for their advocacy campaign. Their school’s physical education department had been a major place where students were using single-use plastic bottles. Among other tactics, they set up a competition to encourage students, coaches and teachers to use fewer plastic bottles and the change stuck!

Runner Up: Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School – Bayside, New York

International Changemaker Award – $500

The Parallel Projects
We developed this new award as a means to recognize the teams that work to tackle the unique environmental challenges facing communities across the globe. For the Water Campaign, we wanted to specifically feature those who struggle with plastic pollution and access to clean water. The inaugural awardee was obvious: the Parallel Projects which is a collaboration between Justin S. and his mom, Sheri, and all of their friends in Africa – Perise, Maulid, Hudu, Rashid and others.

Most Impactful Adult Supporter

Pamela Weinstein
Will Rogers Middle School – Long Beach, California
Pam is a superstar! In addition to being an incredible educator, she’s dedicated to the environment and making sure her students develop powerful leadership skills. She makes sure that every semester her students have numerous opportunities to advocate for environmental change, both on campus and in the larger community. 

Just on the north side of the Santa Clarita River sits an elementary school that has found a way to turn a disciplinary situation into a teachable moment. When students on recess began a food fight with their unwanted healthy snacks, much to the chagrin of the parents who had thoughtfully packed them, their amazing teachers decided to educate their students about food waste. As the remorseful students of Bridgeport Elementary School cleaned up their mess, they quickly grew concerned about the sustainability issue right before their very eyes. Since 2016, the students from Bridgeport have become Grades of Green all-stars, by learning to reuse and reduce, as they’ve diverted waste, conserved water, and raised awareness about pollution in the Santa Clarita River.

Want to help teams like Bridgeport expand their impact?

We need your support to continue to help student leaders like the ones at Bridgeport Elementary become the environmental leaders of the future.

Shortly after the infamous food fight of 2016, Bridgeport Elementary students joined the Grades of Green Trash Free Lunch Challenge. They began to implement waste sorting stations in their cafeteria and educated their peers about the importance of using reusables. Their efforts resulted in 70% less lunchtime waste, and almost 90% of this lunchtime waste was recycled. Students groups from participating schools were taught how to eliminate waste by packing trash-free lunches (such as lunch containers, reusable water bottles and utensils, and cloth napkins). All students, including those who buy their lunch, were taught how to sort lunchtime waste for recycling and composting. In their first year as part of the Trash Free Lunch Challenge, Bridgeport Elementary finished among the four finalist schools that received Eco-Grants of $750.

Then, in the spring of 2019…

Having tasted success, the student leaders at Bridgeport Elementary set their sights higher! After several years of continuing to spread environmental education and participate in community service, Bridgeport’s student took our Waste Campaign by storm. Their project was so impressive, that Bridgeport’s team was selected by our judges to receive Grades of Green’s grand prize Eco-Grant of $1,000!

Bridgeport’s Winning Project

While implementing waste sorting in their school cafeteria, The Bridgeport Elementary Green Team was concerned by the large amount of perfectly edible food items that were being thrown into the landfill bin. They wanted that food to go somewhere that it would be eaten. The team decided they wanted to donate the food to local food pantries and homeless shelters, and their Grades of Green advisor provided resources and guidance to help them turn their ideas into action. In order to raise awareness and encourage other schools in their community to start a food rescue program, Bridgeport shared their video and set-up with all the families at their school and with all the schools in their district. You can see their awareness campaign video here.

I can’t be more proud of the change they’ve made on our campus!

Karen Harvey, Assistant Principal – Bridgeport Elementary

Your Support helps schools like Bridgeport change their world for the greener

Bridgeport Elementary is a perfect example of how Grades of Green’s students can fundamentally change the environmental impact of their school community. Without these incredible students and their passion for the Earth and the people on it, just think of all the food that would be wasted!

We’re so proud to provide these inspiring students with Eco-Grants to help them take their Grades of Green projects to the next level, but it wouldn’t be possible without our donors’ generous support. We need your help to continue to provide these important Eco-Grants and grow the number of students that we work with.

We would be so appreciative if you’d show your support by donating today! You’ll be helping student teams, like the ones at Bridgeport, make their green dreams for our world become a reality!

What does Family Feud and Grades of Green have in Common?

The Seven Generations Charter School of Emmaus, Pennsylvania

The intrepid students of Seven Generations made their very own Family Feud episode as part of their Grades of Green Water Campaign project!

The team used what could be the cutest video ever made to convince their schoolmates and parents to pack less plastic baggies in their lunches.

The Seven Generations team is currently finishing up the Water Campaign which is due this Friday! Once completed, the team will be in the running for one of Grades of Green’s coveted Eco-Grants of $1,000 or $500, which allows the winning teams to expand their project!

Help Eco-Leaders like these change their world for the greener!

This Giving Tuesday, please consider supporting Grades of Green’s mission to empower students in order to develop the next generation of environmental leaders.

As you can tell from the team at Seven Generations, the young people we work with are creative, driven and passionate about addressing the dangers facing the planet they will inherit.

Grades of Green’s Executive Director, Kim Siehl, made it on prime time television to talk about Grades of Green’s student successes! We were featured on the Hallmark Channel’s Home and Family show on October 18, 2019. Kim met hosts Debbie Matenopoulos and Cameron Mathison to talk about how Grades of Green helps passionate students turn their passion for the environment into powerful action!

Grades of Green Featured on Hallmark’s Home & Family from Grades of Green on Vimeo.

Check out the segment above!

Tag along and stay updated on Grades of Green’s activities and accomplishments by following us on Instagram at @gradesofgreen!