Carnation Elementary School in Riverview School District received a 2018 U.S. Green Ribbon School award. The school has participated in the King County Green Schools Program since November 2008 and has been recognized as a King County Level One, Level Two, and Level Three Green School. It has been a King County Sustaining Green School each year since 2014.
Teacher and Environmental Club leader, Elizabeth Wing, wrote that “The King County Green Schools Program has offered students the opportunity to see themselves as active leader…and students learn that their actions and voices are important.”
The U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon School program recognizes schools that excel in the three Green Ribbon Pillars. Pillar 1 is environmental impact and costs related to energy, water, and waste. Pillar 2 is healthy schools: Improving health and wellness of students and staff. Pillar 3 is environmental and sustainability education.
Carnation Elementary School has maintained a recycling rate of about 60 percent. All classrooms and offices, as well as common areas, have recycling bins and signs. Reusable trays and utensils are used in the cafeteria, and no Styrofoam products are used on campus. All purchased paper is made from post-consumer recycled sources, and the default print setting for all school communications is double-sided.
This school year, Environmental Club members presented a skit at an assembly to show students how to sort food scraps and reduce food waste. Collected food scraps are given to a local pet pig. The school participates in the Farm to School Program.
At Carnation Elementary, environmental education is presented as a global issue that touches the local community in tangible ways. Classroom instruction is combined with direct field studies to engage students in stewardship of the local ecosystem. Students participate in tree plantings and riparian zone restoration on local rivers.
The school raises salmon fry each year to help students learn about the life cycle and history of salmon. They release the fish into a local stream. In partnership with Snoqualmie Stewardship Program, the school community learned how rain gardens can help prevent water pollution and the Environmental Club created an interactive build-your-own rain garden display for the annual STEM night. The school secured grant funding from Snoqualmie Stewardship Program and King County Flood Control District to build a rain garden.
Many Carnation Elementary School students in this rural community ride a school bus or walk to school. The school established a no-idle zone on school property and encourages carpooling by parents who drive their children to school and. Community activities include a used winter clothing drive and food drives throughout the school year.
The school building has many energy and water efficient features, including motion sensors on lights and low-flow toilets. Three native plant gardens, which require no irrigation, decorate the school grounds, and all storm drains on the school property are stenciled with “Salmon to Sound” to remind the community about a common source of water pollution.