St. Dominic School in Kingsport and Notre Dame High School in Chattanooga were recently recognized for their school environmental programs as two of the 10 winners of the 2017 Good Sports Always Recycle™ (GSAR) school challenge. Saint Dominic was awarded $1,000 for its program, and Notre Dame received $1,500 as the Sustainability Steward award winner.
“I am very proud that two of the schools for this award are awarded to our Catholic schools in East Tennessee,” said Sister Mary Marta Abbot, RSM, superintendent of Catholic Schools in the diocese. “Most of our 10 schools in the Diocese of Knoxville have recycling programs, yet to go the extra mile and apply for the grant shows true stewardship.”
Bonnie Saleh and Alicia Davis represented St. Dominic and Becky Light and Valerie Silva represented Notre Dame as the winners were recognized on the field at the University of Tennessee vs. Southern Miss football game.
“Notre Dame High School is both proud and thrilled to be named a recipient of one of this year’s Good Sports Always Recycle awards. This opportunity will provide our students with more opportunities to recycle and greater awareness of the critical need. We salute the University of Tennessee, Eastman, Food City, and Waste Connections for their support and recognition of students everywhere who make such an effort,” said George Valadie, president of Notre Dame.
The recycling program at Notre Dame began in 2005, and each classroom and the common areas have recycling bins. Recycled items include aluminum, cardboard, paper, plastic, toner/inkjet cartridges. Additionally, Notre Dame has an electronics recycling program, and the school has recycled more than 1,100 pounds of electronic waste in two years. Upgrades to the school are also designed with the environment in mind, including a new roof designed to reflect sunlight to cut energy cost and enhance natural light in classrooms, installation of low energy LED lights, reflective window film and timed thermostats. The school is also working to replacing concrete areas with grass and water permeable pavement.
Community service is also important at the school, and students provide more than 15,000 hours of service annually.
Tucker Davis, principal at St. Dominic School said, “At St. Dominic School, we are grateful for the natural gifts provided our world. We appreciate the stewardship of those who have gone before us and hope to pass along even greater examples of stewardship to others.”
St. Dominic School established its environmental program three years ago, and today includes a school garden with a compost bin and rain barrel, water bottle refilling stations, energy efficient lighting and recycling of paper and plastic. The water bottle refilling stations have saved nearly 8,000 plastic bottles.
St. Dominic encourages walking and biking to school, as well as carpooling to reduce vehicle emissions. It has also reduced its paper waste by utilizing electronics.
Sustainability is included in the curriculum at St. Dominic. During the summer, the school offers environmental camps, and in the school year students design and grid the raised beds in the garden. They plan what can be planted and where it can be planted. Plants are started indoors as seeds and cared for during and after the transplanting process. They also monitor the resources needed for a successful harvest.
This is the 24th year for the competition, and the 2017 winning schools included: Saint Dominic Catholic School and John Adams Elementary School, Kingsport; South Lawrence School, Loretto; The Farm School, Summertown; Norris Middle School, Norris; Sewanee Elementary School, Sewanee; Gallatin Senior High School, Gallatin; and Haynesfield Elementary School, Bristol. South Knoxville Elementary School was honored as the Best New Program, and Notre Dame High School in Chattanooga received the Sustainability Steward Award.
“The state of Tennessee is best able to achieve our environmental goals when we all participate in sustainable activities,” said Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau. “TDEC is proud to recognize schools that add value to students’ education and their lives by encouraging programs that teach the importance of waste diversion.”
The GSAR program, which is sponsored by Eastman, Waste Connections and Food City, in cooperation with the University of Tennessee, has awarded more than $160,000 to K-12 schools in Tennessee for their environmental programs.
“Eastman and the Good Sports Always Recycle program have been recognizing schools for over two decades. We are not only educating students about the importance of environmental stewardship, we are assisting schools across the state in making a positive impact in their communities,” said David A. Golden, senior vice president, chief legal & sustainability officer, and corporate secretary at Eastman. “Small changes can make a big difference. I’m proud that this program continues to inspire students and educators to do their part in making a big difference in the world.”
The GSAR program also includes an online educational packet, available at www.Eastman.com/GSAR, which helps teachers with lesson plans as well as gives ideas for schools looking to establish or strengthen their programs.
“School programs come in a variety of forms and include everything from reducing waste, providing environmental education and reducing overall impact through energy and water conservation to general recycling programs, the use of green space or other environmentally-focused programs,” said Kevin Stafford, Food City Vice President of Marketing.
On UT’s campus, the Good Sports Always Recycle Program also includes recycling, composting and donating programs in the UT athletic facilities, including Neyland Stadium.
“The GSAR program recycled 211,120 pounds of material, composted 28,000 pounds and donated 11,305 pounds food during the 2016 football season alone,” said Greg Hee, division vice president of Waste Connections. “That means more than 125 tons of material was diverted from the landfill for the 2016 season.”
Schools interested in learning more about the Good Sports Always Recycle™ program, should visit www.Eastman.com/GSAR.