Archive for the ‘Trash Free Schools’ Category

Enter Video Contest for a Chance to Win $1,000

May 2nd, 2013

By Lina Scott, Communications Intern

Are You Ready to Be the Next Watershed Celebrity?

We can’t wait to see the submissions for our contest, but we also know it can be hard to plan a video. If you’re still looking for ideas, you may find it helpful to check out some PSAs from the past that have dealt with litter prevention.

PSAs, or public service announcements, have been used widely throughout the past century in both print and video format. They were heavily used during World War I and II to promote support for the war effort. Since then, they have been used to promote all kinds of messages that are considered beneficial for the public. They have played a key role in the modern environmental movement, especially in the many anti-litter campaigns.

Please enjoy this selection of PSAs from the past 50 years. They demonstrate the huge variety of styles and techniques that you can use in your own video, and they also give us a fun glimpse into different eras. How will your video represent 2013, and how do you think the messaging will change in the future?

Donald Duck’s “The Litterbug” – 1961
This short film isn’t a PSA, but I like it and think it’s worth seeing. It has lovely old animation and a very catchy tune, and ends with the singing animals typical of Disney. I like the framing of the Litterbug as a pest, though the producers’ opinion of DDT and other chemical pesticides is rather dated!

Susan Spotless – 1960s
This is a cute video that looks at litter from a very specific social perspective – that of the idealized mid-century American family. Preventing litter is about national pride and about maintaining the countryside for families’ recreational use, ideas that still resonate today, though within a different social context.

Crying Indian – 1971
This is one of the most famous litter prevention PSAs, and it was launched in 1971 on the second Earth Day. The dramatic music and the visual of the canoe moving through a pollution-coated city had a large impact in the 70s.

Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute – 1980s
This one seems a little strange to me, but that might be due to the use of a big owl costume, when today we would normally see special effects or animation. Nevertheless, it’s a reminder that there are ways to make a fun video while on a limited budget.

Don’t Mess with Texas – 2000s
The Don’t Mess with Texas campaign has been running since 1985, and has produced a number of PSAs. This one from 2000 features Texan star Matthew McConaughey. It received limited air time due to “violence” but I think it’s fun to see an environmental campaign incorporating some modern Hollywood flair.

More recently produced, this PSA’s use of a Texas Confederate Air Force bomber takes an even more aggressive stance against litter. It definitely succeeds in getting your attention!

Storm Water Sam – 2012
Lastly, here is our very own video about littering. An animated PSA, it shows that you can make a meaningful video without finding any actors.

Are you ready to get started? Hopefully these videos have given you some ideas, and shown how much variety there can be even when sharing the same kind of message.

Good luck!

First Trash Free Schools In Charles County, MD!

January 24th, 2013

By Sara Campbell, Outreach Coordinator 

We would like to welcome Gale Bailey Elementary and Indian Head Elementary,  the first Trash Free Schools in Charles County, MD!  They have signed the Trash Free Schools Pledge and are working to reduce waste at their schools.  Both schools have very active school communities and are also involved in our Schoolyards as Classrooms Project.

Indian Head Elementary is a Maryland Green School and will use the Trash Free Schools Project to help maintain their Maryland Green School status.  Actions completed through the Trash Free Schools Project will be documented (as described in the Trash Free Schools Project’s Eight Steps Table) and used for Maryland Green school re-certification.  Future actions include weighing the trash from each classroom as a competition to increase school recycling and reduce waste sent to the landfill.  Students will help with the effort by monitoring bins and collecting the trash weight data.  Teachers will be able to incorporate data into their lessons by having students create graphs and calculate the change in waste over time for each classroom to determine the winner.

Gale-Bailey Elementary is also a Maryland Green School and has a thriving Green Club that conducted a roadside cleanup last Fall with students, staff, families, and community members. They have also conducted schoolyard cleanups and completed other service projects at their school. The Green Club does weekly announcements to the school and has taught their peers how to properly recycle in the lunchroom as well as helped the school eliminate polystyrene lunch trays from the cafeteria.  Gale Bailey Elementary will use the Trash Free Schools Project to provide resources and suggestions to further involve students in reducing waste at the school.

Congratulations to Indian Head Elementary and Gale Bailey Elementary schools on their commitment to take action and reduce waste!

Outdoor lessons at Accokeek Academy

January 16th, 2013

By Sara Campbell, Outreach Coordinator

Through our Schoolyards as Classrooms Project, the Alice Ferguson Foundation partners with local schools to use their schoolyards as outside classrooms.  As the coordinator for this project, I work with teachers at several local schools to get students outside and engage them in the topics they are currently learning in the classroom.  The activities and lessons are tailored to fit a school’s needs, interests, and goals while utilizing resources available at the school and meeting each teacher’s standards and curriculum needs.  The big goal is to get kids engaged and learning outside.

In December, I was a part of several great outdoor lessons at Accokeek Academy! One of the lessons was with the 3rd grade students in which we used compasses and anemometers to investigate wind speed and wind direction outside in the schoolyard.  I was very impressed with how engaged and excited the students were with the lessons.  As the students became more familiar with how to use the compass, they began expanding the lesson to investigate the direction of the sun, the school building, and other nearby objects.  Even though there wasn’t much wind that day, the students found creative ways to test the anemometer, like running down the hill to take wind speed readings.

The students also made connections between our outside lesson and their classroom lessons on weather.  We discussed the types of clouds, making weather predictions based on the types of clouds observed, how clouds form, and how a compass works.  They were able to use what they learned in the classroom and apply it to our outside lesson (with a real world application), which provided their teacher with a way to informally assess the progress of each student.  After the lesson, their teacher remarked on how engaged the students were during our outside lesson and that it sparked an interest in the students to learn more about weather, the tools that meteorologists use, and how these tools are made.

It was a very fun day and I look forward to our next lessons outside using the schoolyard as our classroom!

Will Your School Have Less Trash This Year?

December 11th, 2012

By Sara Campbell, Outreach Coordinator  and Becky Williams, Naturalist Associate

That’s the question we ask every group that visits us. At Hard Bargain Farm Environmental Center, we are working to become a trash free facility and we challenge our visiting groups to pack a Trash Free Lunch and bring as little trash as possible during their visit. There are many simple things that everyone can do to bring less trash on their visit. We encourage visitors to think ahead when deciding what to bring for lunch and snacks, and consider the packaging that the food comes in. The most important place to make decisions that will contribute to packing a trash free lunch is in the store. While at the store, use the Four R’s (Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle) to help you have less waste to “throw away”:

Rethink:stop and think about alternatives with less trash
Example: Instead of buying premade lunches with a lot of packaging (such as Lunchables), buy the components separately and make them the lunch yourself.

Reduce: use less stuff, produce less trash
Example: Buying items in bulk reduces the amount of packaging required and saves money in the long run.

Reuse: use items more than once
Example: Instead of a brown bag that will be used only once, bring a lunch box that can be reused and will not contribute to the waste steam. Also, reuse plastic containers and sandwich bags instead of buying new ones for sandwiches and snacks.

Recycle: use resources or nutrients to make something else
Example: When at the store, choose items that have recyclable or reusable packaging; save containers from yogurt, cottage cheese, or takeout and use them to pack your lunch. It’s a great way to practice all of the Four R’s!

During a visit to the farm, we weigh the trash (destined for the landfill) for each group and record the amount on a chart to compare with visits in previous years. The students like to see if they were able to have less trash than the previous class. Through this Trash Free Lunch activity, students realize that thinking is the key to reducing trash. The ‘aha’ moment is when they realize that individually, they CAN make a difference, especially in their schools and in their families.

Students and school staff can then build upon what they learned during their visit to Hard Bargain Farm Environmental Center through our Trash Free Schools Project by working together to reduce waste at their school. The Trash Free Schools Project provides resources and guidance to schools to help rethink, reduce, reuse, and recycle while engaging and educating students throughout the process.

For more on the Four R’s and how to make less trash, visit our Take out the Trash online activity. Then test your trash free lunch packing skills in our online Trash Free Lunch Game.  Can you create a lunch with zero waste?
Take the challenge and then tell us how you create less waste when packing your lunch!