ALPENA - Students at ACES Academy received the Evergreen Award Friday from the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative for their efforts on behalf of the environment.
As they munched on M&M cookies in the gym, Principal Justin Gluesing said students have been picking up trash along a stretch of US-23, testing water in a creek behind the school and recycling paper and cartridges - some projects dating back six years.
"It's been a lot of small steps and some big ones," Gluesing said.
News Photo by Betsy Lehndorff
Environmental sciences teacher Ricci Groomes shows off a green award badge and banner ACES Academy received Friday as part of the Evergreen Award. Joining her are participating seniors Alley Roberts, left, and Amanda Hilton, right.
Environmental sciences teacher Ricci Groomes had the students apply for a $500 grant from the Besser Foundation. The money provided them with boots and gloves for their water study, which measures macro invertebrates and chemicals. Their data is entered into the National Geographic FieldScope website, she said.
The school also installed automatic sensors so lights click on and off when someone enters or leaves a room, she said.
Although students aren't yet tracking the amount of recyclable materials they have diverted from landfills and other statistics, Groomes said they will be working on that and other objectives in the future.
"Our goal next year is to expand," she said.
Jacob DeWitt, education coordinator for Huron Pines AmeriCorps and the stewardship initiative, presented the green and white banner to the school during the 12:30 p.m. assembly. He also gave the students their first badge for their 2013-14 school year effort.
"They have been taking steps more toward renewable energy and toward being more environmentally friendly, and they will receive a badge for each year they participate," DeWitt said.
Betsy Lehndorff can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5693. Follow Betsy on Twitter @bl_alpenanews.