Do Your Part
With limited natural resources, it’s crucial to encourage students to be environmentally conscious. According to the Texas Education Agency, in the 2016-2017 school year there were more than 358,000 regular classroom and substitute teachers in Texas. If every teacher implemented a few of these ideas, think of the impact you and your students could have!
- Teach by example. Minimize the use of handouts and always use both sides of the paper. Recycle in your classroom. Turn off lights and electronics at the end of each day. Create a school-supply exchange to encourage sharing and reusing. Pack your own waste-free lunch. Carpool with a fellow teacher.
- Establish a Green Team in your classroom or on campus. (Tips for getting started.) Have them conduct an audit of everything from lunchroom waste, leaky faucets, lights and equipment left on, to wasted paper and school supplies. Have the team establish goals to reduce waste and conserve water and energy. Display the goals around the classroom or school. Get other students involved, and celebrate when a goal is met. Watch what the Green Team at Chester E. Jordan Elementary in El Paso, Texas has done to take care of the environment.
- Organize Walk to School and Bike to School Days. These events not only get students and parents physically active, but replacing car trips reduces emissions and traffic congestion. Visit WalkBikeToSchool.org for planning guides, outreach tools, and safety tips.
- Spearhead the installation of a school garden complete with composting and rainwater harvesting. Gardens can be easily incorporated into curriculum to teach not only about plants and nature, but history, poetry and math as well. Visit Texas A&M AgriLife’s School Gardens website for a step-by-step guide, curricula, and more. Watch our video for tips on creating a healthy compost pile. Learn how to harvest rainwater with our How to Build a Rain Barrel publication or our manual on building a more complex system.
- Help organize or improve your school’s recycling program. Download or order a free copy of our Texas School Recycling Guide.
- Make certain the buses in your school’s fleet have the most advanced engine technology to reduce emissions. If not, ask administration to apply for a grant from the Texas Clean School Bus program designed to reduce emissions of diesel exhaust by retrofitting older school buses.
- Establish a school bus idle-reduction campaign. Idling school buses can pollute air in and around the bus. Exhaust from buses can also enter school buildings through air intakes, doors, and open windows. Idling buses also waste fuel and money. Visit EPA’s Clean School Bus program to find a sample policy and campaign materials.
- Work with school officials and staff to adopt indoor air quality (IAQ) best practices in your school. Studies of human exposure to air pollutants indicate that indoor levels of pollutants may be two to five times higher than outdoor levels. EPA’s IAQ website provides reference guides, sample policies, and fact sheets.
- Install our FREE water conservation mirror clings in school restrooms and locker rooms reminding students and staff to “Turn off the faucet. Every drop counts.” They’re static cling and won’t leave any sticky residue. Order them here.
- Get active! Register your class for Walk Across Texas—a free eight-week program designed to help Texans establish the habit of regular physical activity. It includes fitness and health-related lesson plans and a school mileage log.
- Ask your students to visit our Kids and Teens sections to learn how they can do their part!