West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science Achieved Green Schools’ Evergreen Status!

WMAES has been participating in the Michigan Green Schools initiative since the 2007-2008 school year. Though our foundation is built upon environmental efforts, we’ve dedicated over 13 years to ensure our students are doing their part for our planet. In order to become a Green School, a school and its students must perform a required number of activities to prove their efforts. 

We are proud to say that we reached Evergreen status in the 2019-2020 school year! 

  1. Green School – 10 total activities with at least two activities from each of the four categories
  2. Emerald School – 15 total activities with at least two activities from each of the four categories
  3. Evergreen School – 20 total activities with at least two activities from each of the four categories

Michigan Green Schools is a non-profit 501(c)3 agency dedicated to assisting all Michigan schools – public and private – achieve environmental goals which include protecting the air, land, water and animals of our state along with world outreach through good ecological practices and the teaching of educational stewardship of students pre-kindergarten through senior high school.

West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science (WMAES) has developed and partnered with a handful of companies to ensure our recycling program is a success.  We have a school-wide “mixed recycling” program that allows us to significantly reduce the amount of trash produced at the school. We also provide Paper Gators at two locations on school property for the public to access.

Check out our environmental efforts for the 2019-2020 school year!

2019-2020 Michigan Green Schools Application - Environmental Efforts Breakdown

Students sitting around bags of recyclables

Three students composting

Two WMAES students eating lunch

RECYCLING

Recycling Program for at least two material types

WMAES recycles all of the following materials:
– Office Paper
– Plastic
– Metal Cans

Composting Food and Organic Wastes

WMAES composts all food waste from our meals and has partnered with NewSoil for the past three years to reduce the amount of lunchroom waste going to landfills.

Implementing a policy to buy recycled, biodegradable, locally produced, or less toxic food and school supplies

WMAES food service director works with the environmental program to offer waste-free lunches whenever possible and we hold a school-wide, waste-free lunch each Earth Week. In the past three years, we have gone from having daily lunches delivered from a private company and serving it with non-biodegradable trays/flatware to preparing and cooking all meals in-house and serving it with reusable trays and real silverware. This has made a huge difference in the amount of trash we are producing, not to mention reducing our carbon footprint.

Waste-free Lunch Program

WMAES food service director works with the environmental program to offer waste-free lunches whenever possible and we hold a school-wide, waste-free lunch each Earth Week. In the past three years, we have gone from having daily lunches delivered from a private company and serving it with non-biodegradable trays/flatware to preparing and cooking all meals in-house and serving it with reusable trays and real silverware. This has made a huge difference

Four WMAES students surrounding a outdoor water projectGroup of WMAES students in front of solar panels

ENERGY

Offering at least one teaching unit on alternative energy

WMAES has designated February as Energy Month where we teach about alternative energy resources and Michigan’s natural resources. During the month of February, the entire staff design lessons that incorporate the daily benchmarks (Math, Science, ELA, etc.) into a lesson on energy.

Using alternative energy, renewable fuels, or specialized energy-efficient technology in school operations

We just installed a 3.54-kilowatt solar panel that was made possible through a grant. We will be able to use this solar panel to generate power as well as monitor the amount of energy being produced by using technology that students can see in real-time.

Implementing a school energy-saving program

Our new Facilities Director has begun a plan starting with our lighting.

Performing energy audits at student homes and educating student families and the community

During Energy Month, middle school students are shown how to perform an audit at home.

Three students in a river releasing salmonGroup of WMAES students at an outdoor projectTwo students in the prairie holding up artworkStudent holding skull

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

Participating in activities promoting the health of the Great Lakes watershed

Students in many grades participate in field trips that support this: 2nd grade goes to PJ Hoffmaster Park to study and learn about the dune ecosystems. 5th grade learns to identify macroinvertebrates and then take their learning to a local creek to study the quality of the water. High school environmental science students take a voyage on the DJ Angus to collect data in Spring Lake and Lake Michigan. This data has been used for over 20 years to monitor the health of the lakes.

Offering a teaching unit on environmental issues facing this state

We teach about climate change and how it will affect the plants and animals of Michigan. We do this by teaching the students about weather vs. climate and use real-world data to show the changes that are happening. We also teach the students how they can make wise choices to help take care of our state.

Establishing or maintaining a natural Michigan garden project with native plants

WMAES has a 5-acre prairie with native plants that we maintain by collecting seed with students in the fall and spreading them in the early spring. We also use fire as a way to control the invasive species that come in every 5-7 years.

Establishing or maintaining an animal habitat project

Mr. Shawn raises salmon every year in the environmental science classroom from eggs to smolts. When it is time to release the salmon, students participate in a field trip to the Rogue River in Rockford to learn about water quality, watersheds, salmon habitat, riparian bird species and to release the salmon into the river.

Participating in a local community environmental issue by activities such as letter-writing, raising funds, or community outreach

Our Green Team has raised funds over the years to donate to local environmental organizations.

Orange banner with environmental icons