Celeste Lewis has been volunteering with Eco-School Network since 2008, she’s also logged 304 hours as a Master Recycler since 2012. At Ainsworth Elementary, Celeste changed the culture so that students could practice sustainability every day. She convinced the district to upgrade the dishwasher so that durable trays could replace styrofoam and then organized parent volunteers to wash the trays each day. Celeste started Halloween Costume Exchanges, and Styrofoam and Holiday Light Drives. The influence of these events has grown exponentially as they’ve been replicated by many other Eco-School Network schools since. Celeste also focused on school events, which typically generate excessive waste, by eliminating water bottles and prizes, eventually shifting the prize so that each student receives a book that’s donated by Scholastic. She focused particularly on finding funding for 25 “party packs” for that could be used by 24 classroom and the PTA. These party packs are reusable sets of dishware. Each pack eliminates (2) 13 gallon bags of waste per classroom party. Combined together, they eliminate up to 3744 gallons of paper and contaminated waste per year. When St. Luke’s Church stopped holding its popular SW Community Recycling Collection, she helped to make sure that the event kept going by teaming up with Southwest Neighbors Inc, as a new sponsor. Planning for the event occurs over three months and includes oversight of 20+ community volunteers. They have between 200-500 community member participants. One event collected 2250 pounds of batteries, 15,960 pounds of metals, 1890 cu. ft. of Styrofoam, 1200 cu. ft. of reusables for Community Warehouse, 935 CFLs, 1100 ink cartridges, and 10 toner cartridges. She also helped teachers, “right size,” their classroom supplies list and was able to send two closetfuls of supplies to Vernonia when their schools were damaged by flood. Celeste now works 20 hours weekly with the ESN and volunteers one lunch shift a week for Hayhurst Elementary to help students sort their lunch waste. Additionally, Celeste has begun volunteering with the Friends of Trees. Her personal goal is to plant 200 additional trees. She’s currently at 38 and counting.


Kendall KIC began reducing waste at Hayhurst Elementary 13 years ago. She says that when she saw two overflowing garbage dumpsters at her children’s school (with then had a student body of 268), she knew that she could make a difference. She launched the “Without a Trace Team” by toting a week’s worth of plastic cafeteria disposables into a PTA meeting.That one week of rinsed milk cartons, plastics and aluminum from 2009 is pictured on-screen. It was enough to spur the PTA to buy metal utensils and paper straws and later that month, a post-lunch recycling program began at Hayhurst Elementary. It’s been going strong ever since. The school now has around 475 students and only about 1/2 a dumpster of garbage a week. Kendall joined the Eco School network in 2010, and became one of Metro’s Master Recyclers at the same time. She’s volunteered for many years at Community Recycling Events. Students came to love her as she roller skated to each class to collect recyclables. She even got the school to stop using Styrofoam trays by putting pressure on the district to repair the dishwasher. Kendall built a volunteer army and set up a sort line in the cafeteria with students washing milk cartons and a custodian delivering food scraps to the happy goats next door. Unlike most school sort lines, she included non-curbside items, such as plastic containers. And every day, she would pick up the recyclables, clean them, and take them to a depot. One of the biggest challenges for parent volunteers is keeping their program going after their children get older and move on. Through a paddle raise at the school auction, Kendall raised funds to institutionalize the recycling program. Now, 13 years later, when her children have graduated from high school, Kendall still volunteers weekly at the Hayhurst cafeteria sort line! Kendall retired from Legal Secretary work in 2020 and now works part time as a Volunteer Coordinator for James’ Neighborhood Recycling Service. She’s also the Administrative Secretary for Portland Clean Air. Kendall is busy planting her yard with native trees and plants, and plans to pedal in her 18th Cycle Oregon week-long bike ride this year.

PO Box 2891     |     Portland OR 97208     |     503.960.5252

© Eco-School Network 2020



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