Holt Elementary School achieves Oregon Green Schools Certification

Holt Elementary School Achieves Oregon Green Schools Certification
Posted on 06/04/2019

Holt Elementary School, in Eugene School District 4J, received Oregon Green Schools (OGS) certification and was awarded a grant for $500 at a school assembly last week. They join eight other schools in the Eugene School District 4J that have reached certification. 


Like many schools, Bertha Holt Elementary had already incorporated efforts to conserve natural resources into school functions. In the cafeteria the school uses durable trays and reusable aprons. Printers are set to print double-sided; staff memos, announcements, and newsletters are sent by email. Unclaimed lost and found items are donated instead of thrown away. Computers are automatically turned off at night, and the school uses T8 lights on automatic sensors; outdoor lighting is LED. Low-flow toilets were installed as well as automatic shut-off on most faucets to conserve water, while mulch is applied every year to reduce evaporation around exterior landscaping.


By conducting a waste audit and setting goals to conserve materials, energy and water, the school easily met the criteria for OGS certification. Students learned by participating in the waste audit—sorting, measuring and weighing different types of waste in order to identify what can be reduced, reused or recycled. They found that 41 percent of the waste was non-recyclable paper plastic.


“This is a great demonstration that while recycling is important, reducing waste is needed more than ever,” said Sarah Grimm, Lane County waste reduction specialist, who presented the school with the giant check.


Setting goals for further waste reduction efforts is a key part of OGS certification. The school’s stated goals are to reduce waste by increasing waste-free lunch habits, maintaining a reuse art supplies closet and placing paper reuse bins in each classroom. Responsible recycling will be encouraged through awards and recognition for classrooms that are recycling properly.            


Lane County has ten $500 incentive grants available yearly for schools that achieve certification or move up to merit or premier level certification. The grants are intended to help cover the cost of small projects that result in waste prevention. Lane County contracts with Partners for Sustainable Schools to provide hands-on technical assistance with waste audits, green teams, and assistance with the OGS certification application. 


There are now 13 schools in Lane County certified as Oregon Green Schools. Certification lasts three years.  At premier level are: Adams Elementary and The Village School.  At merit level are: Territorial Elementary, Edison Elementary, and Shasta Middle schools. At entry level are: Bertha Holt Elementary, Centennial Elementary, Coburg Community, Edgewood Elementary, Irving Elementary, McCornack Elementary, Sheldon High, South Eugene High, and Al Kennedy High schools.


Oregon Green Schools is a statewide program designed to assist schools in identifying opportunities that save money by reducing the waste of energy, water and material resources. By engaging students, staff and facilities, schools can make incremental changes that add up to real dollar savings. Incentive grants, one-on-one assistance, resource and information sharing, as well as local and statewide conferences for students and teachers are some of the ways schools are served by the Oregon Green Schools certification program. For more information, visit www.OGSlanecounty.org.