In addition to awarding several college scholarships for environmental studies each year, WEC helps local students by being actively involved in several educational programs. Here are a few of the most recent initiatives that WEC has supported:
WEC Saves 10,000 Straws!
Every Washington Primary School (WPS) student now has their own reusable drinking straw, thanks to a donation by WEC. On February 7, 2019, WEC delivered 150 stainless steel straws and cleaners to WPS students for use at school and home. WPS students sewed 150 cloth sleeves to store and transport their new straws. WPS will make no new purchases of disposable straws.
This program saves over 10,000 single-use plastic straws from being dumped into a landfill each year.
This initiative was spearheaded by newly appointed WEC Director Amanda Seitz. TownVibe recently announced that Amanda Seitz received an honorable mention for the 2019 Green Awards for her hard work and dedication to the environment.
Reusable Sandwich Bags Program
WEC helped fund a program at Washington Primary School to create low-cost, reusable sandwich bags to reduce the amount of waste of school lunches.
WPS Composting Program
The Washington Primary School Environmental Club was founded in September 2014 by 5th grade students Liam Koval and Owen Hutchings. Connor Ross also joined as a leader in the following months. The group consists of about twenty WPS students in grades 3, 4 and 5 who meet regularly to discuss environmental issues in relation to their school.
In May of 2015 the WPS Environmental Club embarked upon a new composting program with the support of the Council. WEC funded the purchase of a Mantis ComposT-Twin for use at WPS for composting lunches. It also paid for a composting consultant to address the students and supervisors on the best use of the composter and the best method for collecting compostable materials. The resulting compost will then be utilized to fertilize the garden around the new bocce courts at the school.
WEC would like to commend the WPS Environmental Club students for their superb initiative and hard work in starting and implementing this program at their school.
Edible Schoolyard Program
WEC has been instrumental in coordinating Edible Schoolyard initiatives. Students build, harvest and sell veggies grown in a garden plot at their own school. The Edible Schoolyard program not only encourages healthy eating habits, but also gives the students hands-on experience about how nature works.
WEC recently helped coordinate a recycling event for local schools with the objective of broadening students' understanding of the need for and process of recycling. Students collected items such as: used jeans, sneakers, batteries, ink cartridges and other materials suitable to be re-used or recycled. The valuable, practical experience of segregating items and discerning what materials are recyclable provided excellent training for their future.
WEC regularly provides financial support for local school field trips to environmentally related sites. In previous years, WEC has contributed toward trips to the American Museum of Natural History (Hayden Planetarium and other exhibits), Institute for American Indian Studies, Steep Rock, several local farms and other environmentally important places.