Balboa Middle School WINNERS of the GREEN SCHOOL AWARD 2011,
From Left to Right: Balboa Students: Aiyana Alvarado, Crystina Ahumada,
Destiny Schwab, Karissa Baucom, Teri Gern (Balboa Principal), Christine Wied
(Environmental Specialist, Environmental Sustainability Division),
Mayor Fulton, Steve Roth (Balboa Teacher) and Jose Duenas (Balboa Teacher).
BALBOA MIDDLE SCHOOL RECEIVES 2011 GREEN SCHOOL AWARD
This year's 2011 GREEN SCHOOL AWARD was presented to Balboa Middle School for their recycling and horticulture practices during a November 14 City Council Meeting in honor of America Recycles Day, (November 15). Mayor Bill Fulton and Agromin Chief Executive Officer, Bill Camarillo, presented the honor to Balboa Principal Teri Gern, Teachers Steve Roth and Jose Duenas, and several of the Balboa students. Balboa Middle School will also receive a $500 check, courtesy of Agromin.
Schools are judged for the Green School Awards by submitting applications that detail their sustainable practices, which are then reviewed by representatives of the City's Environmental Sustainability Division and Agromin.
"Over the years, we've witnessed an increase in schools entering the competition," said Christine Wied, Environmental Specialist for the City. "We look forward to continuing to make it a competition that schools are anxious to win because not only is it a positive step in the student's environmental education, it benefits our planet.
"Balboa was specifically chosen for their impeccable efforts in recycling paper, plastic bottles and cans," continued Wied. "This types of hands on activity, which involves weighing and keeping a recyclables log, also gets students involved with critical-thinking and problem-solving skills that also makes them think about their impact on the environment."
The student's efforts also make the school about $700 a year, which gets recycled into special activities and projects.
Recycling activities began in 1997 at Balboa Middle School. Since then the school has continued to grown their programs. Mr. Jose Duenas is the teacher that supervises the student body recycling efforts while Mr. Steve Roth teaches a 7th and 8th grade elected course on horticulture. Last year, Roth and his students began a California native garden specifically to learn about xeriscaping, composting and growing flowers, vegetables and fruits.
"We grow vegetables and fruits in boxes provided by Food Share, the non-profit organization that provides food and support to Ventura's hungry," said Roth. "We use some of the produce in school, but donate a majority of it to Food Share. So not only are the children learning about how to care for and nurture the environment, they're learning how to grow produce and the importance of helping those in need."
This year special "Environmental Hero" recognition certificates were also presented to Ventura Charter School of Arts and Global Education for their environmental community action at the Earth Day Eco-Fest and Trash-a-thon fundraiser and to Buena High School for "Environmental Leadership" in recycling and other community environmental programs. The "Eco-Hero" certificate was presented to Juananmaria Elementary for developing a culture of environmental awareness in their daily activities.
"It's vital that our youth learn how to care for our precious environment," recently said Mary Haffner, Board Member for the Ventura Unified School District. "Becoming 'environmentally engaged' at a young age engrains positive behaviors and attitudes in students that are so vital for the quality of their future -- and for their children's future."
Previous winners of The Green School Awards have been Portola Elementary School (2010), Lincoln Elementary (2009), Saticoy Elementary (2008) and Pierpont Elementary (2007).
In addition to presenting The Green School Award for environmental practices, the City of Ventura's Environmental Sustainability Divison teaches environmental education. Throughout the year, City of Ventura-based schools and businesses can have a representative from the City come present a stand-alone presentation or talk.
"Curriculum used in the classroom presentations aligns with State curriculum guidelines for all grade levels," said Ray Olson, Manager, Environmental Sustainability Division. "The City's program teaches concepts of recycling, composting, water conservation, and stormwater pollution prevention to more than 4,000 students per year. In addition to working with the schools, we also offer FREE presentations and free business evaluations to local organizations and businesses to get and keep them on the sustainable track."
To find out more about the FREE environmental programs and how you can schedule a presentation, visit cityofventura.net/greenschool and/or call 805-652-4584.
-VC Style's Roving Eye and Sustainable Ventura by Maryann Ridini Spencer