Boardman Glenwood Junior High is one of only 5 Ohio schools recognized by the Ohio EPA as a Branch Award Winner for 2020. The Branch award recognizes schools for their commitment to environmental education, and for actively participating in the 3 R’s--Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
Glenwood Junior High has an active environmental program fueled by its science department. In the last five years they have built a Natural Habitat Garden in the school Courtyard, applied for the Ohio EPA's OEEF grant that brought an industrial composter to the school, and devised ways of reducing cafeteria waste that includes composting, recycling, and basic awareness.
“Through grants, we were able to replace every water fountain in our building with water bottle refilling stations,” said science teacher Scott Lenhart. “In this way, we have cut down dramatically on plastic water bottle use. The students bring their refillable bottles from home, and are very aware of the part they play in a cleaner environment.”
Principal Bart Smith calls the EPA’s environmental award a great accomplishment. “Our science teachers and HOPE Club (Help Our Planet Earth) advisors go above and beyond, not only to prepare our students for academic success but also to give them the tools to live in a sustainable environment during their adult years,” Smith said. “The kids participate every day in very real ways, they recognize what is good for our environment, and they see how each change we’ve made in our own building is helping.”
Like most things, the pandemic has thrown a wrench in the recycling program at Glenwood. With all of the changes though, the science department continues to find ways to help with sustainability. Eric Diefenderfer, a 7th grade science teacher, realized with all of the new hand sanitizing stations in the classrooms, a lot of batteries were being used up and discarded.
Mr. Diefenderfer was awarded a grant for rechargeable batteries with charging stations. This has drastically reduced battery waste. Teachers in the science department now can just swap out the batteries on their sanitizing station for a fully charged set. So even during these difficult times, the school is still working to find ways to help stay green.
GLENWOOD SCIENCE TEACHERS PICTURED ABOVE: Andrea Kratzer, Eric Diefenderfer, Scott Lenhart, Laura Frost, and Ian Head