By NICOLE GRULKE
News Staff Writer
ALPENA - Thunder Bay Junior High recently has been awarded Emerald status as part of the Michigan Green School program. Last year the school was awarded a Green status, and emerald is a step higher in the program.
To qualify for this designation, the school had to document its growth in environmental stewardship activities, which it has been growing with each new project.
"Our school began a more comprehensive recycling program, spearheaded by the parent advisory council," teacher Cheryl Mack said. "Once a week, a select student from my class would sort the items, then parent committee member Sarah Jore would take them in. We also extended our invasive buckthorn removal project from our schools nature area."
Each year, more teachers have been getting involved in the stewardship projects around the school, and in turn, more and more students are able to experience what it feels like to be a steward and make a difference.
Students took part in the Alliance for the Great Lakes Adopt-a-Beach program earlier this week for the second time this year.
"While at the beach, we not only picked up trash, but recorded the amount of quantity of trash," Mack said. "Students also recorded water quality data and general beach conditions. We use this information to enter into the Alliance for the Great Lakes database."
The information students collect can be found at www.greatlakesadopt.org, under a search for area beaches in the historical information section.
"It's true real-world learning," Mack said. "Stewardship activities such as the adopt-a-beach program, allow students to make a meaningful change in their local community while having authentic science and math learning experiences. Monitoring and cleaning up the local beaches hopefully will encourage them to be future leaders in not only keeping the beaches clean, but as environmentally conscious citizens."
Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.