Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Cultivating Pathways to Sustainability @ PAML

Some of the PAML Sustainability team members
just before their presentation at the
May 12th conference.
From Kate Toland: 
On Friday, May 12 four groups of students got together at Peoples Academy Middle Level to celebrate and share their work related to sustainability. The day was inspiring and left me feeling incredibly hopeful about our future. We designed the meeting to reconvene the students and teachers who attended the Cultivating Pathways to Sustainability Conference at Shelburne Farms last September so they could share their projects with one another. The teachers asked the students to identify what worked well and what they would like to see added to next year's Cultivating Pathways work. They sat and talked in groups for about 10 minutes; they chatted easily together and produced some helpful and exciting lists. Here they are:

Things we have enjoyed/things that went well: 
-working well with people
-going to Shelburne Farms
-helping around the school
-cleaning out compost bins
-hearing other people
-creating a better world
-sharing what we have done
-excited and enthusiastic about projects which made it go well
-communication with the different schools
-communication and how everyone worked well together
-different ideas from different schools coming together and the ability to build off of each other
-schools being helpful and building off the other to create better ideas
-good--stayed focused
-student passion and freedom
-self determined (not driven by teachers)
-Everything was connected and went together
-we were all engaged and comfortable
-presenters got good feedback
-projects seemed successful
-everyone was a respectful audience
-we learned it is not hard to make a change
-we learned many more things need to be fixed than we realized
-we learned that sustainability can mean a lot
-we learned if you see a problem, act on it

What we want to do next year:
-more sustainable milk consumption (recyclable cartons)
-expanding more into community
-solar panels
-create a better world and help people
-greenhouse (actually use it)
-involve more goals
-try to expand and involve more schools
-during presentations to groups try to add even more hands on like the Kahoot
-have a bigger group discussion and have the different schools try to suggest more things for the other schools to do or improve on
-sustainability class?
-set aside time (whole school would participate, more work would get done)
-meet in January? Google Hangouts?
-more funding
-more icebreakers (games)
-organized schedule
-invite more students
-show projects not just in a powerpoint
-meeting space that's closer to everyone
-better space
-more hands-on activities
Our hopes for future of this work: 
-more schools will come
-more schools will be sustainable
-the projects we talked about will be accomplished
-bigger goals, better ideas or what can be done/accomplished

From Leah Bronner - our PAML Sustainability Team Leader:
The Sustainability Team was thrilled with the support they got from other participants at the conference. This is the first year of working as the Sustainability Team and they were feeling that they had not accomplished much.  Other schools were very impressed with their work especially since they don't have a specific class to complete projects.
Here is what they highlighted from their work this year:
  • Working with Chef Jeff on reducing milk carton waste
  • Educating 5/6 graders in AT about recycling and composting
  • Developing and leading the 5-8 grade community gathering
  • Taking care of the compost and recycling in all the middle school classrooms
We were excited to participate in the conference and energized by the ideas and inspired by the accomplishments of other schools. At the end of the conference each participant made a flag and they are now displayed in the hallway. It was a wonderful opportunity.