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‘golden Apples’ for School Sanitation Projects

Local Students Get Environmental Education

Schools in Corona, Bushwick, Forest Hills and Long Island City were among the winners of the Department of Sanitation’s 2012 Golden Apple Awards, which recognize schools for completing educational projects on recycling, waste prevention, composting, and neighborhood beautification.

As announced by Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty, the annual competition (open to public and private elementary, middle and high schools in New York City) includes three main contests: Trash- Masters! Super Recyclers, showcasing model school recycling programs; TrashMasters! Reduce and Reuse Challenge, honoring innovative waste prevention practices; and TrashMasters! Team Up to Clean Up, which for more than three decades has encouraged NYC students to clean up and beautify their schools and neighborhoods.

Winning schools receive substantial cash prizes. This year, Citywide Winners are awarded $6,000; Borough Winners $3,000; Borough Runners Up $1,500; and Honorable Mention $750. Golden Shovel Award winners receive $1,000 and compostrelated prizes. The six Citywide Winners are also honored with an engraved Golden Apple trophy, and the three Golden Shovel Award winners receive an engraved shovel in a golden compost pile.

Award ceremonies will be presented early in the 2012-2013 school year. All participating schools will receive an official DSNY certificate recognizing their efforts.

In each of the Golden Apple Awards contests, coordinated by the DSNY Bureau of Waste Prevention, Reuse and Recycling (BWPRR), schools competed within their elementary, intermediate, or high school grade divisions for borough and citywide honors by conceiving and completing cross-curriculum projects that meet educational standards.

Teachers documented students’ efforts in these sustainability projects, including lesson plans and educational standards met, as well as student essays, photos, drawings, and other classroom work. To receive an award, entries must exceed minimum score requirements (some categories did not produce a winner).

Each contest entry was assessed by a panel of BWPRR experts, as well as outside judges from government and environmental organiza tural tions: the city Department of Education Sustainability Initiative assessed Super Recyclers contestants; in addition, these schools are inspected by DSNY Recycling Specialists to appraise compliance with NYC’s recycling regulations. The United States Environmental Protection Agency and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation evaluated Reduce and Reuse Challenge entries; and DSNY Community Affairs reviewed Team Up to Clean Up.

The Department’s NYC Compost Project sites each selected a Master School Composter from entries in their respective boroughs to receive the Golden Shovel Award for outstanding indoor or outdoor composting efforts.

In addition, the New York Restoration Project (NYRP), founded and chaired by Bette Midler, recognizes the most inspirational reclamation project with the NYRP Rose Award.

“We continue to be inspired by the outstanding efforts of these teachers and students as they work toward establishing sustainable practices in their schools and in their wider communities,” Doherty said. “Participation in the Golden Apple Awards offers an important opportunity for our youngest citizens to practice civic engagement and actively contribute to creating a greener and cleaner New York City.”

Among the winners were the following:

– Pioneer Academy at 40-20 100th St. in Corona won a $6,000 grant as the Citywide and Queens winners of the TrashMasters! Super Recyclers Elementary Division. The academy organized a student Green Team to set up recycling properly, monitor classroom participation, and motivate teachers by posting results on the door of each room. Students taught parents and teachers how to reduce waste, cleaned up a local park, and planted flowers in their school’s tree wells.

– Newcomers High School at 28- 01 41st Ave. in Long Island City won a $3,000 grant as the Queens winners of the TrashMasters! Super Recyclers High School Division. Students conducted independent research on recycling in order to design improvements to the school’s existing program. Students reclaimed used posterboard to create customized lids for recycling bins across the school.

Because Newcomers High School students are English Language Learners, the students emphasized visual cues in the informational posters and instructions they hung above bins in every classroom, office, lobby, and common space.

– P.S. 76 William Hallet Magnet School for Health & Wellness at 36- 36 10th St. in Ravenswood won a $3,000 grant as the Queens winner of the TrashMasters! Team Up to Clean Up Elementary Division. With their project titled “A Beautiful Transformation,” the principal, teachers, and students of P.S. 76 mobilized to plan, design, and implement a neighborhood cleanup and the beautification of the school.

P.S. 76’s efforts to restore trees in front of their school, renovate their schoolyard, plant seedlings in the classroom, install a greenhouse, and clean up the streets led to a long-term improvement in the school and the community.

Students also learned how to compost cafeteria scraps with a compost bin system in one of the classrooms.

– The Academy for Environmental Leadership at 400 Irving Ave. in Bushwick won a $1,500 grant as the Brooklyn runner-up in the TrashMasters! Team Up to Clean Up High School Division for their project titled “Bushwick Campus Farm: More Than Just Gardening.”

The staff and students of the four schools of Bushwick Campus collaborated with local nonprofit EcoStation: NY, other organizations across the city, and community volunteers to establish the innovative Bushwick Campus Farm. This working organic farm is used as an outdoor classroom, teaching lessons about sustainable agriculture, composting, greenhouse propagation, volunteerism, and leadership.

– Maspeth High School, housed last year at 91-30 Metropolitan Ave. in Forest Hills, won a $3,000 grant as the Queens winner of the TrashMasters! Team Up to Clean Up High School Division for their Green Club. In its inaugural year, the Green Club undertook a wide variety of cleanup and gardening projects, tying students’ efforts to the living environment curriculum. Projects included building an indoor learning garden, community graffiti removal, campus cleanups, persuasive letter-writing to lobby for a school dumpster, an antilitter public service announcement, recycling program outreach, and an Earth Day “Love Your Neighbor” event.

Maspeth High School will relocate to its permanent campus this September at the corner of 57th Avenue and 74th Street in Maspeth.

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Details on all of the winning schools and descriptions of their winning projects and complete information about the contests are posted on the Golden Apple Awards Web page www.nyc.gov/wasteless/goldenapple.

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