Centre goes green


Anne Collett, Candace Tajchman and Carol Hanschu are filling recycled water bottles with sand to be used in the toilet tank to displace water.


Cindy Riedel sports one of the winning recycled hats. Mrs. Riedel's hat represents her career as a science teacher and includes many environmental embellishments.


Martin Combs fills a recycled water bottle with sand. The bottle will be placed in toilet tank to displace water and save on the amount of water used in the toilet.

About 60 Centre school district staff members participated in back-to-school orientation sessions Aug. 18 to raise awareness about ?going green? as they prepare youth for the future.

?As educators, it is our obligation to be educated about the environment and going green so that we can prepare our children for their future,? Superintendent Jerri Kimble said.

The going-green emphasis was in addition to the traditional staff-orientation activities.

Kimble said her participation at the Kansas Green Conference this summer inspired her to include the environmental emphasis.

?The keynote speaker reported that it is predicted that when the kindergarten class of 2009 graduates from high school, one-third of today?s jobs will not exist,? she said. ?Of the new jobs created, half will be green jobs.?

Teachers attended three stations to learn more about going green.

Station 1 focused on what is believed to be the next environmental crisis: conserving water.

Teachers were given information about water as a resource. Each staff member filled a recycled water bottle with sand to be placed in the toilet tank to displace water and conserve on water use.

They also planted a small bamboo plant and were educated on the uses of bamboo in paper plates and cups.

?Bamboo items are replacing Styrofoam, since Styrofoam is not biodegradable and remains in landfills,? Kimble said. ?Bamboo items are biodegradable.?

The next station illustrated how going green begins in the grocery store by purchasing items that are grown locally, biodegradable and recyclable.

?It also involves saying no to plastic grocery bags and using recycled and reusable bags to bring groceries home,? Kimble said.

The final station was conducted by Little Apple Toyota of Manhattan, which demonstrated a Toyota Prius to the staff. The third-generation Prius is a hybrid and has a solar-panel roof that generates energy to run the air conditioner.

The staff looked at the motor and learned more about hybrid vehicles.

Finally, the staff participated in a vision-building scenario to demonstrate the importance of understanding the vision of the school to work to continue to achieve success.

To kick off the recycling and ?Go Green? project, staff members were asked to create hats that reflected their job or hobbies out of tin foil and recyclable objects.

The winners of the recycled hat project, Cindy Riedel and Marissa Makovec, were awarded a basket of locally grown produce from Jirak Brothers Produce.

Kimble said she intends for the orientation exercise to have a day-to-day impact on the district?s operation.

?We are hoping the inservice and information gives staff the knowledge they need to do small things to go green, such as unplugging items that still pull electricity, recycle and discuss this in the classrooms,? she said.

?The students will be involved in recycling at both buildings,? Kimble added. ?At the elementary, each classroom is taking on a go-green recycling project. We are also encouraging staff to print less on paper.?

Kimble said awareness and education are the first two steps in this project.

?We are looking forward to hearing from the students and getting ideas from them as to how we can go green,? she added.


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