In February 2011, the Earth Task Force (ETF) put together a team of students and adults to write an application for the National Environmental Education Foundation to help fund sustainability initiatives at their school. Despite the stiff competition nationally, we are thrilled to announce that New Vista High School (NVHS) has been awarded the Green Prize in Public Education, along with a $10,000 prize!
Upon winning the award Kirk Quitter, Principal said, “I am incredibly proud of our community for winning this award. It would not have been possible without the hard work and amazing cooperation between teachers, students, our school and our nonprofit partner, the Cottonwood Institute.”
When two students, inspired after taking the Community Adventure Program (CAP) class, approached us about starting an environmental club at NVHS, we never dreamed where it would go. Those two students grew to three, then four, six, and in fall 2011 about eighteen students!
The ETF has done a number of enormously successful projects from local lunches to solar panel systems to transportation transformation to low flow toilets. The money they received from the Green Prize will be used to continue those efforts to help provide more efficient windows, a green roof, and a drip irrigation for the garden.
CAP and the ETF have been the twin engines powering NVHS towards sustainability. This momentum has been picked up by the community at large, with teachers and students across the curriculum taking actions to green the school, from a student run composting program, to a focus on energy efficient retrofits as the school makes decisions about what to do with their bond money.
Working with the community at NVHS, the support of the Cottonwood Institute and the incredible students and adults of the ETF has shown us through action what Margaret Mead said so well, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
A special thanks goes out to Earth Task Force students Kelly Muller & Seth Blum, New Vista teachers Kate Hartman and Andy Stephens, and the Cottonwood Institute’s Earth Task Force Mentor, Paige Doughty for writing and editing the Green Prize Grant.
This article was written by Paige Doughty, our Earth Task Force Mentor, and edited by Ford Church.