More than 50 participants, including representatives from 18 schools in Madison County and 20 local sustainability organizations, took part in the annual Green Schools Resource Fair in preparation for the 2015-16 school year.
The event at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville provided resources for sustainability education programs for public, private and parochial schools in the county.
“We must prepare our students for the future they will inherit, preparing them to be good stewards of the environment,” Madison County Chairman Alan J. Dunstan said. “The youth represent the future in more than one way. As a result of these programs, our students are making recycling a daily habit and are doing their part in helping educate parents and others about the benefits of recycling and reducing the carbon footprint we leave on the planet.”
The event also included a “Share Fair,” where teachers could bring school or classroom supplies that they, or their school, no longer utilize to share with other attendees for use in their schools. Any leftover materials were donated to charitable organizations.
Amy Funk of the University of Illinois Extension’s Illinois Nutrition Education Program and Jeanette Marerro of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave “sustainability snapshot” presentations on the importance of good nutrition in schools and environmental health. Local organizations representing solar, gardening and composting, science and other STEM initiatives; nature centers, transit, food, senior services and community services, discussed programs available to schools.
Promoting best management practices of sustainability is one of the goals of the Madison County Green Schools Program. In addition, it is anticipated that these activities will help students, faculty and staff understand and make more sustainable choices in their school, home and community.
“In addition to implementing a number of green initiatives at every county facility, the county’s extensive, very successful recycling projects are offered to every public and private school in the county,” said Matt Brandmeyer, administrator of the Planning and Development department.
The program works with faculty, staff and students at more than 80 schools within the county, impacting more than 20,000 students in addition to their friends, family and members of the community.
The program is funded by landfill fees charged to waste haulers for disposing waste at landfills in Madison County.