Science students influence MCS to go green

MINERVA-Minerva Central School (MCS) has gone green. Students in Sarah Fink's Environmental Science class have spearheaded several environmentally friendly initiatives at their school this year.

Shasti Conlon, Serena Ruzbacki and Cassandra Wood attended the Adirondack youth Climate at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake earlier this year. They saw first hand how other regional schools are making an effort to live responsibly. They returned to MCS with a wall of ideas - they wrote their ideas on index cards and stuck them to the wall of their science room.

"We wanted to find a way to bring our school onboard," said Conlon.

As a result, a Green Team was formed - a group of students dedicated to starting environmental initiatives. Their first project was a community dumpster at MCS for recycled paper town-wide. The paper is recycled by GreenFiber out of Albany and used to produce home insulation materials.

Lizzy O'Connor researched the process and negotiated with the company to come pick up the recycled paper products from Minerva.

"I have been striving to make my class understand the power of collaboration - that ideas can get accomplished by a group of motivated individuals, said Fink."

She began the year stressing that the Adirondack Park is a unique place and its fate relies on the ecological footprint of its residents. Being that the school is a huge part of the community, it is a great took for starting initiatives like the Green Team, she said.

"If you want to be part of the solution you can't be part of the problem; problems can get solved by thinking positively; and we can only work together if we are respected as equals," she said.

The Green Team has begun other initiatives including car pooling, recycling, energy conservation and much more. They even collaborated on a compost pile with the technology department. MCS now composts 100 percent of its food waste.

The next large project the Green Team has approached is taking over the community garden, which began several years ago as a Planet minerva project. The garden now resides on school property and will be maintain by the Green Team.

"Little changes can make a big difference," said Fink.

As the end of the year approaches, the students are dedicated to ensuring the continuation of the Green Team.

"We need to get next year's class involved so that this doesn't die," said Calbert Galusha.

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