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Our First Year - Project Footprint
By Liba Zweigbaum Herman, Project Footprint Coordinator
At the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, Heilicher started a new sustainability initiative called Project Footprint. The mission of Project Footprint is:
To empower students, families and staff at Heilicher to enhance their environmental awareness, their personal connection to nature; promote self-stewardship and curiosity to become strong advocates for their communities.
Over the course of the year we were busy implementing several changes to school practices. Here are some of our program highlights:
- We implemented new “waste right” receptacles throughout the school. A container designated for recycling, compost, and garbage.
- Now 90% of our school waste is used for organic mulching or recycled.
- Hennepin County and The Mulch Store delivered free compost for Heilicher families to take home.
- Heilicher Fall & Spring Gardening Kita (club) for grades 1-5 continued. Helping to tend the JCC Community Garden, growing our own herbs and gaining greener thumbs all year round!
- Sixth graders conducted a waste audit of our school's wasting efficiency.
- As part of the Seventh Grade Leadership Retreat students helped clean up Cedar Lake Road.
- We held our first Green Team Meeting bringing together Heilicher families who have a passion for environmentalism. We met to discuss how we can continue to improve the school's green initiatives.
- As research shows that live plants in the classroom aid in overall productivity and well-being, live plants were placed in most classrooms.
Heilicher parent, Judy L. had this to say about Project Footprint: "I see composting as a physical form of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world). The waste stream in our developed world is polluting our planet. Along with recycling, composting helps us learn what we use that can’t go into either stream and look for alternative products. We can all aspire to a zero-trash world. I like that our school reflects what we do at home."
While we accomplished a lot in our first year, we still have more work to do.
Here is what's coming:
- Attractive, new "waste right" stations for the Dining Room.
- A Project Footprint news board to communicate to Heilicher families what is new and how they can get involved.
- More involvement in the community garden and outdoor wilderness spaces.
- A recycling/compost facility field trip for students to see the entire process and see why proper recycling matters.
We are looking forward to all that is to come in making our community more ecologically responsible and respectful. Learn more about Project Footprint on the blog.
The Heilicher Alumni Board, made up of current high schoolers, met in February to begin formulating recommendations to strengthen the school and its programs. Read about the first meeting of the 2019 year.
Morgan Stair's seventh graders read and wrote a variety of poems and created websites to display them. Explore some of their creative works here.
On February 8, 2019, Rose McGee of Sweet Potato Comfort Pies and Wendy Goldberg, Heilicher Assistant Director of Jewish Education, traveled to Pittsburgh to deliver homemade pies to members of the synagogues affected by the tragic shooting last October. Heilicher students and parent volunteers helped make and ship the pies and included heartfelt messages of hope with each one. Read Wendy's reflections here.