In academic year 2017-18, the Sacred Heart community focused on Goal III and the call to educate to a social awareness which impels to action. It was especially fitting then, in light of Goal III, Cr. 5: The school teaches respect for creation and prepares students to be stewards of the earth's resources, that the school devoted time and energy during the school year to successfully earn the Earth Flag.
The Earth Flag was presented by Environmental Educator Jean Kent of the organization SCARCE on June 5 at an all-school assembly. The organization's mission is to inspire people, through education, to preserve and care for the Earth's natural resources, while working to build sustainable communities. During the presentation, Maria-Paz Salas, Coordinator of Service Learning and Community Partners, recounted the many efforts that went into earning the Earth Flag. She especially thanked science teachers Elizabeth Galligan and Lexi Pond who led the on-campus initiatives, and Development Director Alexandra Voigt, who wrote the grant which provided the funds to complete both the teacher-led and student-led projects. The grant was funded by NEED (National Energy Education Development) and ESP (Energizing Student Potential).
In her remarks, Ms. Salas said:
"Some of you may remember back to Justice Day and the Energy Fair that the 7th grade environmental service group put on. We also had 1st grade students display toys from their STEM project. The 1st grade students learned about designing, creating, testing, redesigning and building some fabulous toys out of recycled materials. These toys and a book of instructions about how to make the toys were shared with our Sacred Heart service partners.
"Some 7th grade Academy and Hardey students worked on Tuesday mornings to learn about energy, energy saving, recycling, using less water, conserving electricity and gas. These themes caught on and soon, through the teacher/staff Green Team, we had undertaken various projects at school.
"The 7th graders built a model energy house, a model wind turbine and they prepared projects to share about energy safety, light facts, trash and recycling. They also created games about alternative energy, guessing the energy, "Energy Feud" and, of course, a Kahoot!
"Seventh grade students welcomed Ms. Caryn Turrell from ESP to help us do an energy audit, measuring things such as ghost electricity. This even got us into the school's boiler room for an intro to our efficient heating system and to see how the boilers work. Many thanks to Facilities Director Mr. John Ptak and Building Engineer Mr. Rafal Woloszyn. We learned about our efficient roof and new terms about heating and cooling such as Daikin split systems, modulating burners in the boilers, and double-glazed windows with argon gas...
"These students visited Primary and Lower School classrooms to share what they had learned about various environmental issues, including recycling. They also helped plan the waste free lunch.
"Many thanks to our 7th grade Environmental Service group who learned and taught us and who spent time on their own getting work done this year. Thank you to their classmates and Ms. Pond's advisory as well as some of our 6th graders and faculty for beginning work at Berger Park to steward the garden there. We will be learning and caring for these gardens over the summer and into the future thanks to Berger Park! These 7th graders have been models to us about how to care for the Earth that our Creator has lent to us. We must continue to show loving care to the Earth for our and your future generations."
Earning the Earth Flag doesn't mean that Sacred Heart's efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle will end. Far from it! The initiatives undertaken in 2017-18 have educated the community to a greater awareness and inspired us to expand our efforts to be good stewards of the Earth's resources.