Community Inspired as Local School’s Green Team Awarded Top Prize in Regional Contest

November 26, 2013

(Washington D.C) On Friday, November 15, 2013, the 100 students that make up the Prince George’s County Walker Mill Middle School Green Team were honored by local leaders as the team was awarded the top prize in the Alice Ferguson Foundation’s Litter Prevention Video Contest. The Green Team’s winning video, will be used in conjunction with the Regional Litter Prevention Campaign, a collaborative effort between the Alice Ferguson Foundation, regional jurisdictions, and communities to raise public awareness and bring a stop to litter in the Potomac Watershed. By educating the public about the importance of taking control of their trash and disposing of it responsibly, the Green Team’s video PSA will be used to change their behavior and ultimately reduce the amount of litter in our communities and our waterways.

This past spring the Regional Litter Prevention Contest drew participants from throughout the region. A panel of judges narrowed the selection down to five entries, which were then open to public voting for a period of two weeks. Walker Mill Middle School Green Team received over half of the public vote and inspired many to take action for their communities. “Your entry truly captured the campaigns message; Piece by piece your litter adds up and makes the places you go each day unsafe and unhealthy,” Explained Lori Arguelles, Executive Director of the Alice Ferguson Foundation as she presented the $1,000 grand prize to the Walker Mill Middle School’s Green Team. “As the next generation of environmental stewards, you are inspiring others to take action to preserve their watershed by taking control of their trash and preventing litter from hitting close to home.”

Along with representatives from the Alice Ferguson Foundation, the students were greeted and awarded Certificates of Appreciation from the office of Prince George’s County Council member Derrick L. Davis, former Green Team Leader Sidney Bailey IV, and Mayor of the Town of Capitol Heights, Kito James. Students were encouraged to motivate their peers and even families to take control of the litter issues in their communities and were even offered informational interview as potential candidates for future jobs from the Alice Ferguson Foundation.

Council member Derrick Davis recognized the students as future inspirational leaders in Prince Georges County and congratulated the school and faculty for bringing home the top prize. “As one of nine Council Members, my job is to ensure that the County I leave behind is greater than the County I have today. It is a tough mission and not one that we, as individual Council Members, can achieve alone from Upper Marlboro,” explained Davis. “What our students showed with their awesome video is that we have partners in the next generation that will be willing and able to pick things up when us old folks are too tired to get it done. I expect to see more from the Green Team in the future.”

In addition to winning the Regional Litter Prevention Contest, Walker Mill Middle School’s Green Team, which has worked with the Alice Ferguson Foundation’s Trash Free School project for two school terms, has enlisted 100 students, implemented more than 35 recyclables bins in key locations throughout the school, painted “green themed” murals throughout the school, and plans to gain school wide support and participation in their new projects. The team’s leader, Mrs. Bennaugh has worked to use environmental education to teach her students professionalism as well as inspire them to utilize their creativity and to serve as the leaders for the “green-movement” in their school and communities.

“Our mission is to establish a trash free culture that reflects what it means to reduce, reuse, recycle, and rethink on a daily basis,” said Mrs. Bennaugh the Green Team Leader at Walker Mill Middle School. “The Green Team has a goal of making Walker Mill a certified green school next year and will use this award to get us closer to that goal. We are thankful for this award and the community for voting for our video.”

The students will utilize their grand prize money to begin to improve the air quality of the school by researching and retrofitting the schools with plants that improve air quality. They will continue to increase in-school recycling and look for other funding sources to begin to remove invasive plans around the campus and planting more native species. Along with improving their immediate community, the Green Team also want to improve the Anacostia River by working on restoration

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