If you are a parent, teacher, grandparent, or staff member of a school, you want to start a sustainability initiative in your child’s school.

Below are some helpful hints for the process you might go through.

  1. What do you feel passionate about doing? Perhaps you don’t like seeing disposables in the school lunches. Or you’ve noticed there’s a lot of paper that doesn’t make it into the recycling bins. Or perhaps you are willing to help with a project that’s already ongoing.
      1. Interview the green team if there is one, the principal, the head custodian, a PTA officer, and teachers who care about sustainability. Are there sustainability activities already happening at the school? Is someone already trying to tackle this particular issue?
        • Who are the key players in this area?
        • Who are likely allies and what obstacles might I encounter?
        • Who in Facilities manages the hauling contract and how do I reach him?
        • Are there district wide constraints I should know about?

        If there are a number of projects you’d be willing to work on, you might take a list and ask which would have the greatest support at the school. If there is nothing going on at the school, ask what they recommend you do to get the ball rolling?

      Start by investigating the current and past sustainability projects in the school, key players, and the limitations of what you might be able to accomplish. Sometimes a garden or a recycling system has been robust in the past but when parents or teachers moved on, it languished.

      1. After your research and with input from school community members, choose the project you’d like to tackle. For examples of projects done by other Changemakers, see our “Projects” page.
      2. Recruit other adults to your cause – parents, teachers, and school staff members
        • Use an event to find other interested parents, like a work party or an Earth Day fair. Or put up a display table at an all-school event like a science fair.
        • If the school sends out packets in the fall asking for parent volunteers, add “green team” to the list of opportunities.
        • If the school doesn’t already have a green team, start one. All you need in the beginning is one other person. Invite others through a school newsletter.
      3. Choose one simple project to start with, and publicize your success. Use visuals at school, such as a bulletin board or posters in the halls. Be sure to get an article in the school’s email communication or newsletter.

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© Eco-School Network 2020



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