American-Statesman – By Wesley Gardner – Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013

Last year’s third-graders at Travis Elementary School took on the difficult job of rounding up everyone’s recycling on campus, going from classroom to classroom educating their peers about the different waste bins for trash and recycling and where certain materials belong.

Logan Rounds, now a fourth-grader at Travis Elementary, put the message a little more simply.

“Don’t litter; throw away your trash; and always recycle,” said Rounds, who was part of the pick-up crew that scoured the elementary’s hallways and classrooms for trash last year. “We all have to help each other to take care of the community.”

Such efforts made the school a little nicer — and brought it some national recognition.

Travis Elementary, part of the San Marcos consolidated school district, was recently recognized as one of 41 schools across 10 states to receive Cyberways and Waterways’ highest Green Ribbon Schools honor. The award goes to schools that publish at least four projects promoting green building, recycling, conservation and fitness.

Cyberways and Waterways — a nonprofit established in 1999 to positively impact kids, families, communities and the planet — established the Green Ribbon Program in 2009 to encourage and recognize environmental and nature-based projects within schools across the nation.

“This is a program that’s been building a foundation for environmental learning for kids since the first and second grade, and each year we’re adding to the content of their learning,” said Sara Torres, Travis Elementary’s sponsor for the program. “We’re all really blessed to work with a group of people who make it a priority to educate, encourage and support students to work together to make a difference for the better in this world.”

The school’s other projects last year included a nature adventure garden club that met once a week to teach students the ins and outs of developing a personal garden; a daily nutrition announcement that allowed students to educate their fellow classmates on the nutritional value of some of their favorite foods; and a trip to the local educational center to learn about the wildlife inhabiting the San Marcos River.

More than 830 schools from across the nation participate in the Green Ribbon Schools program, which is available to all educators free of charge. Travis Elementary School has now received the program’s highest honor for three consecutive years.

Torres said the school is trying to raise funding for a field trip to take fifth grade students to Grand Canyon next summer to learn about how American Indians live in the area. Overall, she said, the program is really about learning how everyone can live together to promote healthier planet.

“It was sometimes hard work, but it was worth it,” said fourth grader Vinson Zheng. “We only have one earth, and if we don’t take care of it, it won’t last very long.”

For information about Travis Elementary School’s Green Ribbon program, contact campus sponsor Sara Torres at sara.torres@smcisd.net.

Posted on by CW Blog in Green Ribbon Schools

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