One of Grades of Green’s Youth Corps student, Maddie
Barkate and her school’s Green Team received a Certificate of Recognition
from San Juan Capistrano Mayor Larry Kramer for their composting efforts.
Maddie, a 5th grader who is the Green Team leader at St. Margaret’s Lower
School, and the Green Team approached their assistant principal with various
ideas on how they could green their school.  They decided to pursue a
composting program.  With the help of CR&R Waste and Recycling
Services and education programs put on by the Green Team, the composting
program has been a huge success, leading to the recognition.
Congratulations Maddie and the St. Margaret’s Green Team!  To read
the full article, click here


Grades of Green’s first two Eco Salons were a resounding success in gathering people from those communities to learn all about the work Grades of Green is doing to inspire and empower kids and the broader school community to care for the environment.  The events also highlighted how the Palos Verdes and Pacific Palisades school communities can get involved in greening their schools.  The Palos Verdes Eco Salon, hosted at the Swanton’s home, included Terry Tamminen signing his latest book, JJ The Whale, and the Grades of Green Youth Corps sharing their latest projects.   The Pacific Palisades EcoSalon, hosted by the Cortese family, highlighted the work of one Youth Corps member in particular, whose Grades of Green work led her all the way to the White House to meet President Obama!

Santa had some green elf helpers this year: Jenna and Sierra, two Grades of Green Youth Corps students, who helped inspire and empower over fifty people to shop for the holidays without plastic or paper bags by handing out reusable bags.  Their efforts were part of a a Los Angeles County wide promotion called “Day Without a Bag”, to encourage holiday shoppers to go without all the extra paper and plastics bags.  In all, over 25,000 reusable bags where handed out in an attempt to reduce the 6 billion disposable plastic bags that are used in the Los Angeles County every year.  This is an important message, since less than 5% of the disposable bags are recycled each in year in Los Angeles, the rest ending up in landfills or as litter in public places or our oceans where they can harm marine animals.  To read more about this event click here.


This past fall, one of Grades of Green’s Youth Corps students, Grace Cortese, received the Champions of Change award from the White House.  Because of that award, she was invited to go to the White House this December, where she got to meet President Obama himself.  We at Grades of Green couldn’t be prouder of Grace.  Grace has continued to green her school by posting “Green Tips” in bathrooms around her school and church campus and participating in the November Hunger Walk for the Westside Food Bank, raising $1,325! Her most recent project is adding worm composters at the school and looking into ways to reduce electricity use on campus.  She embodies Grades of Green’s mission to inspire and empower kids to care for the environment by encouraging fellow students to “do the little things, because it all adds up to one big thing.”  Way to go Grace!


Grades of Green Youth Corps student Maddie Barkate is a fifth grader at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School. She is also the Green Team Recycling Chair.  This October, Maddie and the other seven Green Team members recently set up a Lower School education session day where they taught the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders who will then be paired with a buddy from the 1st and 2nd grades.  This day was filled with discussions, demonstrations and games focusing on topics including water conservation and how to compost.  The Green Team’s mission is to make their school a better, greener place through education and the passing on of knowledge to the lower grades.  Read more about what Maddie and her Green Team did by clicking here.


Grades of Green is excited to announce that we are launching our Youth Board of Advisors!  As the future environmental leaders of the world, we believe a Youth Board will provide insight and opinions from the very generation we are trying to inspire.  Not only will it be great for Grades of Green, it will be an excellent opportunity for the students to build leadership skills, participate in public appearances, and learn how to protect the environment.  And we need your help finding them…
Kids who are chosen for the Board will participate in two to four conference calls annually to discuss the direction of Grades of Green, give feedback on the activities, and most importantly, give their passion and insight.
We are looking for a diverse group of outstanding students, any age assuming they are old enough to handle the responsibilities of the job, who have shown a passion for helping the environment.  No experience is necessary, but we do require that they implement, or help implement, at least one Grades of Green activity at their school.
The students will serve a one-year term with the potential for a renewed term and we are looking for 5 – 10 kids nationwide to sit on the Board.  The Board members will be chosen based on the answers to the attached application.  Applications are due by the end of April, 2011.
If you know of anyone who might be interested, please encourage them to apply by forwarding this e-mail to them via the e-mail share link above.  You can also share on Facebook or Twitter.  As you know, our mission is to inspire and empower students to protect the Earth today so their actions will have a positive effect on future generations.
We hope you help us in our search for the environmental leaders of tomorrow.
Don’t let what you can’t do stop you from doing what you can do.  -John Wooden

Suzanne Kretschmer, co-founder of Grades of Green along with some outstanding students from the Manhattan Beach Unified School District were asked to lead a session at the Adventures in Sustainability Conference on how to get students involved in environmental education. The group did an amazing job speaking to a large audience of educators and others invested in helping the planet. They spoke about Trash Free Tuesdays, Walk to School Wednesdays, beach clean-ups and other fun ways they have worked with their school to change habits and increase sustainability efforts.