Newport Schools Go Green

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Materials Management Program has awarded $10,539 to the Lincoln County Solid Waste District who is joining forces with Thompson’s Sanitary Service, LCSD schools, and Sodexo to prevent food waste, create composting programs and provide education about sustainable practices at Sam Case Elementary and Newport Middle School.

Mark Saelens of the Lincoln County Solid Waste Management Company submitted the grant request. Mr. Saelens is an environmental scientist and the Oregon Green Schools Coordinator for the last 8 years. He worked closely with Aimee Thompson, Recycling Coordinator of Thompson’s Sanitary Service, who wrote the grant and who has been a local champion of recycling in the schools.

Ms. Thompson writes, “My husband and I have three kids who have been in the Newport schools for ten years now and we realized we needed to help find a way to consistently bring reduce, reuse, and recycle message to Newport students.  For two years, Thompson’s Sanitary and the Lincoln County Solid Waste District have organized and paid for the entire 7th grade class at Newport Middle to follow the path of Newport’s waste to the Mixed Recycling and Composting facilities, as well as to our hauling landfill.

By becoming an Oregon Green School, it was the perfect way for all of us to send a consistent and accountable message to Newport students that sustainable living is important.  Last year, Aaron Belloni, principal of Newport Middle School, and I met about this idea, he listened to my vision, and we worked together along with Mark Saelens to move this along.  It’s been a great collaboration between Thompson’s, Newport Schools, and the Lincoln County Solid Waste District.”

The Green Team class at Newport Middle School, taught by Josh Beaudry, has 30 students enrolled.  Students attend daily and learn about sustainable living.  Right now, they are currently getting ready. Implementation of food composting in the cafeteria where they will staff breakfast and lunch to assist their peers in recycling and food composting their lunch waste.

Two teachers will be coordinating the efforts of the students; at Sam Case, it is Penny McDermott and at Newport Middle School, it will be Josh Beaudry. Sam Case Principal, Shelley Moore, is excited about being more “green” at the building level, “This is an amazing opportunity for us to collaborate as a school to improve our systems of trash sorting, recycling and reuse of materials at our school.

It also allows our school to work with community stakeholders to gain more knowledge with environmental sustainability and support students to be innovators, and help improve for a healthy environment in which to learn and play.   We see this as a sound mechanism to make a difference, and teach them environmental and health values that will stay with them for life.”

Information and photos provided by LCSD