NC Green School of Quality 2016- present, NC Green School of Promise, 2013-2015
Fairview’s garden has been featured in the school newsletter, the school’s website, and in the Fairview Town Crier. In 2016 it was a part of ASAP’s Garden Tour. PTA members fund an Americorps volunteer who plans and implements lessons in the garden. Plants are introduced and foods are grown, harvested, and eaten. In the past the school has reused plastic bottles to warm the soil of the hoop houses in the garden. A horticultural therapist has assisted students with disabilities and raised beds were built in 2014 for ease of access. The garden is certified as a Wildlife Habitat by the NWF. The school offers a garden workday on Saturdays for parents, students, teachers, and community members to help maintain the garden. Our school applied for and has received a Master Gardeners Grant through the Buncombe County Extension Office. Fairview Elementary is the site of the Fairview Farmer’s Market, held each Saturday during the season.
In front of the school is an area with a garden path, bench, rhododendron, azalea, red buds, and other local species. The school raises money through multiple “Jeans” days to support beautification efforts. PTA maintains a landscaping budget and the school has received donations from Creekside Nursery. Lights are turned off when rooms are unoccupied, computers are unplugged and HVACs are turned off when teachers leave. Some classrooms integrate conservation practices into the curriculum; for example students are asked to take only one paper towel and make sure the sink is off. One class has used newspaper to make new paper for the past three years.
Every classroom has a paper recycling bin that is emptied by fourth-graders weekly. In spring of 2016, recycling became available for milk cartons during lunch and in November, Fairview participated in America Recycles Day. Aluminum and plastic are also collected in separate bins. Batteries are collected for recycling or proper disposal and a community partner, Happy Tails Country Club, advertises and collects for the school. Students across grade levels are provided lessons on environmental topics, and a third-grader entered and won BCS’s Soil and Water Conservation Contest in 2017.
One teacher continues to earn credit towards her environmental education certificate and, as part, has attended ASAP’s Growing Minds Farm to School Conference, NCDEQ’s Air Quality workshop, Asheville’s Teacher Institute for Sustainable Forestry in 2016, and several other EE workshops throughout the year. Our school is also a pilot site for a STEM Lab, and classrooms across grade levels work on a STEM challenge in the lab on a weekly basis.
A Boosterthon Fun Run was held to promote exercise and raise money for Fairview’s largest greening project, our “Field of Dreams”. Clothing and disposables are collected for the Destination Imagination team to use in competitions, and this year they included a “recycling” theme into one of their challenges.
Fairview Elementary looks forward to continuing to pursue efforts as an NC Green School, involving the PTA and our students.