6th graders Maxine and Elise started the 2016-2017 school year with a vision to create a drought tolerant garden at their middle school. The girls joined the Grades of Green Youth Corps Eco-Leadership program, and made their dream come to life! The power team worked with their administration for approval and to select a location on campus for the garden. After months of fundraising, creating a plan, meeting with district maintenance members to get the garden up and running, and researching the best plants to include in their garden, the M.E. Garden was born! The M.E. Garden stands for mindfulness and education. The drought tolerant garden was created to compliment the science teacher’s curriculum, and includes a variety of drought resistant plants that serve as pollinators, while being native to the area. Maxine and Elise followed the National Wildlife guidelines on creating a drought tolerant garden, and received a National Wildlife Certification for the garden! Interested in leading an environmental activity at your school like Elise and Maxine? Applications are now open for the 2017-2018 Youth Corps Eco-Leadership Program – click here to learn more!

Volunteers are an integral part of Grades of Green. One volunteer group in particular, the Manhattan-Hermosa Chapter of the National Charity League (NCL), has supported Grades of Green in carrying out its mission for years by assisting with outreach events, annual fundraisers, and so much more. On Thursday, Grades of Green had the pleasure of giving a little bit back to the amazing organization by giving a presentation on how NCL members can be more green at home. From recycling resources in Manhattan Beach to tips on how to save water and energy, Grades of Green covered a plethora of steps that will help the organization improve all areas of the environment! Youth Corps Eco-Leadership students Elise and Emily, who are also members of NCL, spoke about their Grades of Green Activities. Their work on creating drought tolerant gardens and hosting recycling competitions truly inspired the group to care for the environment. Interested in becoming a Grades of Green Youth Corps Eco-Leadership student like Emily and Elise? Click to learn more about the program. Want to implement these activities and more at your school? Click here to register and unlock our 40+ Grades of Green Activities!

After being awarded as a finalist in the 2015-2016 Trash Free Lunch Challenge, Rogers Middle School in Long Beach, California has become more motivated to keep focusing on reducing, reusing and recycling whenever possible. Grades of Green visited the school to give an assembly to the students the first day back from winter break, and our team was thrilled to see a variety of sustainable, effective waste reduction practices in place. Rogers has an awesome student Grades of Green Team, who manage the lunchtime sorting stations and promote trash free lunches daily. Campus composting is a regular occurrence, and the Green Team even created a beautiful native and drought tolerant garden this winter! The Rogers Grades of Green Team is continuously thinking of new and exciting ways to engage students in eco-efforts on campus, and this year they are focusing on reducing straws used. Keep up the great work Rogers! Interested in following in Rogers’ footsteps and launching some of these Grades of Green Activities at your school? Register your school at gradesofgreen.org today to receive your very own Grades of Green Advisor!

Check out this video for some fun tips on how your school can save water by planting a Drought Tolerant Garden! Choosing to plant drought tolerant plants at your school can save tons of water and can make your garden look even better! Tips from the video include collecting rainwater, using mulch, and researching plants that are adapted to your climate! Check it out below!

Interested in learning more about how you can reduce the amount of water you use? Register here and check out Grades of Green’s Water Activities!