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Bend-La Pine Schools Ramp up Sustainability

BEND, OR -- Two Bend elementary schools are setting an example for others in the district by spearheading sustainability efforts while educating students. District sustainability coordinator Jackie Wilson says Miller and Buckingham Elementaries are two of 10 schools in the district participating in the "We Reduce" program. "The teachers and the students that are involved are really paving way and hope to see it involved in high schools," Wilson says. "We want to start seeing ourselves be a district that recycles as much as possible and really just tries to do a whole lot less wasting."


Miller Elementary recently crated a Radical Recycling Award to encourage students to pick up junk. Buckingham has formed their own unique program. After students asked for more conscientious ways to track food waste, the school began weighing what went in the trash, and worked to decrease monthly waste. Wilson tells KBND News student committees have been a main driver behind the sustainability efforts.  "In both [Buckingham and Miller] what they have is an active Green Team," Wilson says. "A group of students working to make some tangible actions. Through the Sustainability Committee we come up with some different ideas for the school, and then they just take charge."


One issue Wilson sees is a lack of student programs in most of the Bend-La Pine middle and high schools. While there is a Roots and Shoots sustainability group at Summit High, it's one of the few. But Wilson says as some younger students, who have sustainability classes and groups in elementary school, could initiate change as they move up to the next level of schooling. "They get into middle school, and start asking, "Wait, why are there not more recycling avenues?' And then they start challenging that."

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