The Goal of the Green Step Schools Progam is to encourage individual schools to take annual steps toward becoming more environmentally responsible. Wren Elementary School is working on a Green Step Award for Recycling with the help of the wREnCYCLE Club.
Contact teacher: Barbara Wagher
Lead teachers: Kim Brock, Lisa Mathis, Sarah CoyleRecycled Scarecrow Contest Green Steps Award Recycling Motto PosterWren Elementary School front entrance Spring 2013 WES MosaicRose Garden-front entrance May 2013 wREnCYCLE bottle cap flower artGreen Steps Goal 1: Recycling 2004-currentThe school community works collaboratively to save natural resources and reduce waste through the comprehensive recycling program.wREnCYCLE Club -- Purple Paper Eaters Earthscape Award PaintingRecycling station in the Wren CafeTimeline of the wREnCYCLE Club:*November 2004 SCDHEC (South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control )grant recipient*December 2004 wREnCYCLE Club established with 8 members*March 2005 Barbara Wagher named KAB- Keep America Beautiful of Anderson County Teacher of the Year*March 2006 wREnCYCLE club was the Volunteer Pride Award recipient winner for "Minimizing Waste in Anderson County One Site at a Time"*2007 received second SCDHEC grant and began school-wide recycling drives such as:"Bag It"-collected 4,300 plastic grocery bags"Don't Chunk the Junk" -recycled 2,376 pieces of junk mail"Black, White, and Read All Over"-recycled newspapers*January 2008 WES recycled 2,080 greeting cards from the holiday season*February 2008 we collected 65,863 aluminum pop tabs during "Pop A Top" to give to the Ronald McDonald House in Greenville*wREnCYCLE expanded to over 30 members*May 2008 Alan Guthrie from Checker Lube was a guest speaker to discuss the correct way to dispose of used motor oil*January 2009 received a container to recycle plastic bottles from Anderson Co. Solid Waste and Recycling Dept.*began the Drink Pouch Brigade with TerraCycle and mailed cleaned Capri Sun drink pouches to be made into up-cycled products*Markely Hidde with Usborne books was a guest speaker and demonstrated how to make recycled cardstock using the Going Green Kit*January 2010 began collecting and sending plastic bottle caps to AVEDA in New York to be recycled into "new" caps*February 22, 2010 the wREnCYCLE Club (38 members and 4 teachers) attended the KAB (Keep America Beautiful) Volunteer Luncheon and was honored with a framed earth-scape painting for continuous recycling initiatives*WES began the Green Steps progam and application process*April 21, 2010 B2 Breathe Better Anti-Idling Clean Air Campaign Kickoff*April 28, 2010 Teachers participated in the "Action for a Cleaner Tomorrow" workshop with SCDHEC representativesFrom 2004-current date, our school participates in KAB contests such as: Anti-Litter Art Contest, Recycled Scarecrow Contest, and the Telephone Book Collection Contest. The wREnCYCLE club participates in service learning projects by making greeting cards from recycled materials and sending them to the children at Shriner's Hospital. The Club meets bimonthly to recycle all of the mixed paper in our school with the help of Anderson County which empties the bins behind our school. Our on-going school-wide recycling initiatives include: plastic bottle caps, aluminum pop tabs, aluminum cans, mixed paper, cardboard, plastic bottles, newspaper, phone books, and ink cartridges.Constitution Day September 2012-2013 USA Bottle Cap flag made by 4th grade Social Studies classes"You are 'DEER' to us" Cards made from brown paper bags-service learning project for the patients at Shriner'sThe wREnCYCLE Club was established in 2004 with funding from a SCDHEC grant. The club is made up of 38 students grades 4-5 who meet monthy with the help of the 4th grade teachers to lead the school in recycling drives and efforts. Club members participate in service learning opportunities such as making "you are 'deer' to us" cards out of brown paper bags that are sent to the children at Shriner's Hospital.Green Steps Goal 2: Air Quality/Pollution Awareness-2010The goal at WES is to improve the air quality in our building and around our campus by participating in the SCDHEC B2 Breathe Better Program. The 12 member student Breathe Better Brigade painted awareness posters and hung them in the halls and outside to inform parents and students of the program and kickoff. On April 21, 2010 WES held their kickoff. The Brigade performed a commercial on the W.R.E.N. morning news show to get their peers excited about the kickoff. During dismissal, the Brigade, parent volunteers, and teachers greeted drivers in the car line and bus line to remind them to "Turn the key and be idle free!" Drivers were given an information card and the bus drivers were excited to receive a coffee mug. Our goal is to work with the PTO to get plants in each classroom, related areas, and the office.Students are given recycled Christmas cards made into B2-Turn the Key Be Idle Free reminder memosGreen Steps Goal 3: Gardening 1998-current*WES Garden of "Eaten" was established in 1998 with a raised bed for each classroom and a Greenhouse located in the center of the garden area. Students, parents, and teachers work year -round to spruce up their garden plots on designated "Garden Days". The WES Garden Club (8 member student team), with contact teacher Susan Gurley, lead the school in gardening activities. Our future goal is to utilize the green house to grow vegetables to eat.Bottle Cap Flowers made by the wREnCYCLE Club 2013*On April 19, 2010 the 4th grade LAUNCH (gifted and talented) students and their teacher Claire Mundy dedicated the "Secret Garden" to a sick school-mate and devoted parent volunteer. The "garden" was originally created 4 years ago by a highschool student earning his Eagle Scout Award. The area was located behind the school in a wooded area along a cleared trail. Students and teachers would use the nature trail to learn about plants, animals, soil, and insects. It was also a great reading spot for teacher read-alouds and self-selected reading. After reading the novel, The Secret Garden, the 4th graders along with parent volunteers, planted flowers and greenery along the trail. It was once a nature trail. Now, it is a nature trail with an inviting and beautiful "Secret Garden" attracting butterflies, small animals, and insects of all kinds.Christian SmithChristian's gardenGreen Steps Future Goals include:Waste Reduction/Restore-composting and worm beds and "worm tea" fertilizerWater Conservation-rain garden and Champions of the Environment grantGreen Steps Goal 4: CONSERVE: GREEN PURCHASING 2012-2013
January 2012- The club used clear plastic tubes with removable caps on either end that were donated from a company. The Club name, school year, and the message to “Recycle This Year” was typed on a label and placed on the tubes. These were sold in the school store for $0.25. Students were seen around the school using them as supply holders, lunch money “banks”, math manipulative containers, etc. At home, parents used them to hold box tops, change in the car, and screws and bolts just to name a few examples.
Feb.-March 2012- Students made tablets from cereal boxes, mac n cheese boxes, Soda 12 pack containers, and other fun environmental print by stapling recycled notebook paper in them. Discarded and worn down crayons were hot glued around collected aluminum soup and bean cans and adorned with a ribbon on top. The tablets and crayon pencil/pen holder cans were sold in the store for a small fee.
April-May 2012- Students purchased aluminum can earrings in the school store for $1.00 that were donated by a student who made them.
August 2012-Club members made paper bead bracelets using old magazines. A parent volunteer demonstrated how to do this and helped the group. These were given as gifts and not sold in the store.
*The money collected in the school store is used to buy supplies for certain crafts and resources, books, and videos that the club uses for educational purposes.
*The club hopes to buy pencils made from recycled money, newspaper, and plastic to be sold in the store for a profit.*Total collected and receipted was $49.81 school year 2011-2012.School Store where recycled items are sold
1. What students LEARNED and how.. During this year’s project, students learned the value of a dollar and how creativity and labor play a valuable role in that process. Club members worked cooperatively to implement their creativity with items that could be reused or recycled. They researched how others in our state and country have started businesses and made extra money selling items they have upcycled from items that once were discarded. Students created posters to hang in the hallways and commercials to present on the live morning news show. This taught them the value of advertising in order to successfully sell their product.
2. What students ACCOMPLISHED (and how you measured results) Club members invented and/or created products that the Wren students were interested in buying in the school store. The money earned was used to buy supplies for club projects and educational resources. The students were involved in the process of deciding what would be purchased with the funds they had earned. The club made portable TIC TAC TOE game boards to be used during Spring Break and times while traveling. A tic tac toe board was drawn on a 9x13 clasp envelope with 5 bottle caps and 5 aluminum pop tabs included inside. The caps and tabs were reused as the Xs and Os game pieces. 77 games were made and sold in the school store for $0.25 each. Several teachers bought the games and placed them in centers in their classrooms to be played in class as a rainy day activity. During Valentine’s, club members stuffed Vortex plastic tubes (donated by a company that was going to discard them) with confetti and candy. A label was assembled to the tube titled “Valentine Vortex.” Students bought the tubes in the school store for $0.50 each and even gave them to others instead of making or buying a paper Valentine. Students continue to use these tubes to store their school supplies in their desks. For Garden day, club members created flowers using Bottle Cap art. The flowers were placed at the entrance of the school in existing flower beds and around the greenhouse in the garden. Summer bookmarks were created using aluminum pop tabs, ribbon, and recycled/discarded library cards from the card catalogue.Boys practicing for their Tic Tac Toe commercialGirls practicing for their Tic Tac Toe commercial Book marks -pop tabs and recycled library cardsTic Tac Toe commerical skitStuffing Vortex Tubes for Valentines DayValentine Vortex Tube commercial- I "Moustache" you to buy one!!GREEN STEPS GOAL 5-RESTORE: HABITAT 2013Butterfly Garden and observationsLadybugs1. What students LEARNED and how—Students learned to manage and care for the habitats in and around the garden. Science standards were addressed as classes held mini lessons in the garden-focusing on biomes, weather, and plants. During school wide Garden Days, the entire school worked diligently to clean and refill the bird baths, pull weeds and discard them at the edge of the woods using wheel barrows to transport, and the custodians helped keep the grass trimmed using a push mower. The 3rd grade learned about SC native plants that supported their SC history and science standards. The first grade raised butterflies and documented their lifecycle in a Science journal. Pictures have been taken and captions written by students to collect in a class book for future reference. The butterflies will be released during the May meeting by the Garden Club students. Ladybugs were raised and observed in their classroom habitats. Students researched the benefits of having ladybugs in a garden and were excited to place them around the existing garden beds outside. The Wren Elementary Garden was named a CERTIFIED WILDLIFE HABITAT.
2. What students ACCOMPLISHED (and how you measured results) The Carolina Fence Garden was completed with the help of parent volunteers, students, teachers, and our Watch Dog Dads. This was measured by observing the progress first hand and keeping a picture journal to showcase the progress. Miss Gurley has updated the Garden Club webpage with photos she has taken during the project installation and scheduled school wide Garden Days. The Butterfly Garden was completed with the planting of various butterfly attracting plants. The garden was established 2 years ago and has been a work in progress since then. Students researched the different types of bushes that would attract bees for pollination and butterflies for a nectar source. Garden Club members were able to purchase these plants using funds from their “Bulb” selling/fundraiser during this school year. Bird watching journals were kept by different grade level students to document the behaviors and eating habits. Students also noted the impact of the season and time that affected the nesting of Wren birds in the provided Carolina Wren birdhouses. Do Not Litter signs were placed throughout the Garden area which supports the efforts of the wREnCYCLE Club to keep school grounds clean and litter free.3. What students TAUGHT others and how—During school wide Garden Days, students were taught the importance of working cooperatively and collaboratively to beautify the garden area. Students followed the WREN WAY by showing RESPONSIBILITY for their actions which included taking care of their school. Students understood the importance of taking Pride in their school community.Science Biome project-paper macheWren students learned that they can use their creativity with class projects such as creating Biomes in Science. Students used resources from nature to construct their natural habitat to support the science standards. Students learned that they did not have to buy items to include in their project such as plastic animals, but instead make their own animals using pop tabs, popsicle sticks, cardboard, or plastic bottle caps. This way the student takes ownership in his/her class work and becomes responsible for his/her own learning.CAROLINA SPLIT RAIL FENCEMiss Gurley Garden Transformations over the years
Nature Care Landscape Butterfly garden 2010 Garden May 15, 2013Butterfly Garden 2013 Outdoor learning lab/shelter Do Not Litter Sign on playgroundGREEN STEPS GOAL 6 Protect: Water 2014-2015The wREnCYCLE club and Garden Club worked collaboratively to add a rain barrel/rain chain feature to the existing garden. The water that is collected will be used to fill the bird baths and to water the smaller garden beds instead of using water from the hose. Rachel Herold with Anderson Co. Stormwater Partners was a mentor during this project.student hand prints cover the rain barrel rain chain made from cut plastic bottlesEARTH DAY 2015-At Wren ---Every day is Earth Day!!first graders picking up litter around the school kindergarten wall display Lions Club & Foresters of America sponsor trees for 4th gr.Students use iPads and the Pic Collage app to create Earth day posters.*After this year's Relay for Life, the bags were collected by team members and returned to our school. The wREnCYCLE Club cut each bag apart and assembled them on a "Memory and Honor Wall" display.Green Steps Goal 7: Restore Soil-Composting 2015-2016 (began)ongoing: Students will begin composting food scraps in the school cafeteria. The scraps will be placed in a compost bin in the garden and the soil will be spread in the garden when ready.The wREnCYCLE Club collected over 2,000 plastic grocery bags. The bags will be cut and tied into "plarn" to make a recycled mat.Here is an example of the mat!Club members completed a service learning project where they made handprint wreaths to hang in the hospital rooms of children at Shriner's Children's Hospital.Students created B2 posters to remind drivers to "turn the key and be idle free".compost cuties--These girls take the compost buckets each day from the cafeteria and pour the banana peels and apple cores into the compost bin for the earthworms to break down the food waste.The wREnCYCLE Club competed in the 2016 Anderson Soil & Water Conservation Bulletin Board Contest. The topic was "We All Need Trees". 3/22/162016 Halloween Project-Students recycled paper in decorative leaf bags and displayed them on the stage in the cafe.School wide project--making bookmarks from cereal boxes and other paperboard products. Each classroom received a set of bookmarks housed in recycled metal cans covered in newspaper.Final product--Bookmarks/cans for each classroom.The bookmarks were placed in each teacher's box for delivery!Recycled crayons project. Students peel old crayons and created a collage using the wrappers to spell "Wren Elementary". The crayons are melted into candy molds with different designs. Once they harden, they are used as "new" crayons.B2 Data is collected 3 times a year.SC Arbor Day 2016--The Piedmont Lions Club gave each 4th grader a pine seedling to plant at home. Students took pictures with their ipads to show the planting process and to monitor the growth over time.Club members pose after recycling the paper and cardboard.May 2017-GirlScout Project--Character Stones around the tree on the playground.On June 20, 2017 at the Take Action Workshop in Columbia, SC, Wren Elementary was named the 2017 Green Steps CONSERVE SCHOOL of the YEAR for its recycling efforts.2017-2018 School Year wREnCYCLE Club Members-Yearbook pictureWren Elementary partnered with Atlas Organics to implement a compost/recycling program during lunch. Students and staff were trained on what could be composted and what went into the landfill as trash. A monthly bar graph is used to show the total pounds of food waste diverted from the landfill. Students also taught each other how to be effective "INCs" (It's Not Compostable leaders) when collectiing the trash during lunch. Student created commercials were performed in classrooms and on the schoolwide news show.Atlas Results each month-Pounds of food waste DIVERTED from the LANDFILL and will be composted back into dirt!January-1,649 poundsFebruary-3,355 poundsMarch-3,208 poundsApril-2,149 poundsMay-1st week of June-Students recycled plastic bottle caps into travel Tic-Tac-Toe boards. These games were sold in the mornings in the school store for $0.25 each. A commercial on the news show inspired students to purchase these games for Spring Break travels!The money was used to buy a special snack-Compost-for the last meeting.Other Recycling Projects/Crafts include:September-Townville Strong banner made from recycled book order brochuresOctober-grocery bag ghosts given to each classroom that inspired "spooky" writingNovember-book wreaths made from old magazines pagesDecember-toilet paper reindeerStudents celebrated Earth Day by picking up trash and planting flowers in the garden area!Breathe Better-- We made a new rain chain out of recycled Dr. Pepper aluminum cans!Highlights from the 2018-2019 School Year:REUSE---October-wREnCYCLE members used coffee jars to make Mod Podge candy corn vases.RECYCLE-November-wREnCYCLE members made recycled turkeys using items from the recycling bin!Spotlight! While in Guatemala, Mrs. Wagher and her family served with a mission team to build houses for families in local villages. She gave the little boy, front/center, a "Go Green" reusable bag. He was so excited to have this new bag. (It's almost as big as he is!)RECYCLE/REUSE/B2--In January--Students recycled their Christmas cards and the wREnCYCLE Club repurposed them into reminder cards to support the B2 program and "Turn the key and be idle free." The cards were passed out to car riders and to the bus drivers during dismissal.Reuse update: Students used the snack cake boxes that were recycled to make book marks. The book marks were given to each classroom to use during their independent reading time.Goal 8-Vermicomposting (new project)After receiving a SCDHEC Grant, the third graders implemented vermicomposting into their science curriculum to learn about worms as decomposers. Students feed the worms food scraps from their lunch and water them weekly. The extra water is drained from the bottom as "worm tea" and used to water philodendron plants in the classroom.Students record their observations by writing in a worm journal. They take pictures and mini videos to document the progress of the worm farms. They also create pic collages to teach others about what their worms are doing. "Worm tea" from the farms are used to water plants in the classrooms and in the garden--adding minerals and nourishment to the plants!Garden update and rain barrel usage: students use the rain water from the rain barrel to fill the bird baths in the school garden. "Worm tea" from the worm farms is also added to plants in the classroom and in the garden for extra nourishment.Recycling update: We received new recycling bins for each classroom!Thank you, Samantha Porter and Anderson County.REUSE: Students are motivated to be "smartie pants" during testing time by signing an old pair of worn out jeans/pants. Each 3rd grade homeroom signed a pair.