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Maple Valley high school receives national award for greening up school operations

Release Date: 04/25/2011
Contact Information: Kevin Patterson, Tahoma School District, 425-413-3409, kpatters@tahomasd.us Hanady Kader, EPA Public Affairs, 206-553-0454, kader.hanady@epa.gov

Green Team saved school $24,000 in landfill expenses and initiated composting program

(Seattle—April 25, 2011) Tahoma Senior High School is in the national spotlight for its extraordinary student-led effort to implement green operations at its campus. The school’s Green Team received the President’s Environmental Youth Award from an EPA official today.

“These students have turned the tables on their teachers and parents—they are teaching the adults and their own peers how to lead greener lives,” said Linda Anderson-Carnahan, Associate Director of the Office of Ecosystems, Tribal and Public Affairs at EPA’s Seattle office. “They are doing amazing work in their community and showing how an entrepreneurial spirit can make a difference for the environment and the bottom line.”

When Cort Hammond started at Tahoma Senior High School, he was surprised that the school did not have an environmental club. He approached school administrators about starting a club and was given the go ahead to form a Green Team in 2008. By the end of the year, the school’s garbage output had been decreased from 100 to 60 cubic yards per week. The group has saved the school $24,000 in landfill expenses.

In addition, the club has brought recycling, conservation, and community involvement to the high school. Other projects include an Adopt-a-Road program, Styrofoam recycling, ecological events, and lunch-room food waste collection.

Since 1971, The President’s Environmental Youth Awards program has encouraged individuals, school classes, summer camps, public interest groups, and youth organizations to promote environmental awareness and positive community involvement. Each year, young people from around the country, kindergarten through high school students, are invited to participate.

For more information on the President’s Environmental Youth Awards program, go to: http://www.epa.gov/peya/