Yesterday our 8th graders went to the Philadelphia Zoo to learn whether they had won The Albert M. Greenfield UNLESS Contest, an initiative designed inspire actions to impact the future of wildlife. They were among four finalists in the grades 6-8 category, and they came in FIRST!
This year, the contest focused on the impact that paper usage has on climate change and the decline of red pandas. The goal for competing teams was to encourage a significant decrease in paper use in the community by reducing the amount of junk mail we receive.
Our students created a publicity campaign that included the creation of an Operation Red Panda website and social media accounts, contacted representatives from their government, and applied to have our message on the PECO building in the crown lights. They also raised awareness and funds through an art exhibit featuring reclamation artists from all over the city, as well as by hosting an ice skating party in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania Ice Rink.
Our students' advocacy helped delist nearly 500 households from junk mail lists, reducing over 15,000 pounds of junk mail per year and saving over 2,000 trees in the red pandas' habitat.
The prize for first place was $1,250. This money is meant to be used for initiatives that help schools achieve green goals. The 8th grade students will now consult with leaders in the school about options where this prize money could have positive impact. Stay tuned for the final decision. Congratulations to theScience Class of 2016 – and to their teacher, Wendy Furry.