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Monday, December 10, 2012

Service Projects: Good for the Planet

By Diane Hoffmaster

            

My children attend a public school as well as participate in a number of extracurricular activities. Each year they are asked to partake in an assortment of fundraisers and service projects to raise money for a good cause, earn badges and help the community in some way. I have been asked to organize a number of these activities over the years and always try to steer the group towards something that is beneficial to the environment. Over the years, I have come up with a number of eco-friendly service projects. If you are asked to lead activities at your child’s school, I encourage you to consider a few of these ideas.

Eco-friendly fund raisers: Instead of selling magazines that contribute to the landfill waste, consider a product that benefits the environment. There are a number of companies that offer eco-friendly products for school fund raisers. You can choose from organic coffee, fair trade certified chocolates or even Smencils, which are smelly pencils made from recycled newspapers.  

Plant a tree: To earn a badge, my daughter’s Girl Scout troop got permission from our neighborhood association to plant a tree in our community. The girls in the troop helped with digging (which was both fun AND messy!), planting, stringing the tree up and even gave it a name. It has grown significantly since then, and they are proud that they have done something good for the environment!

service projectsSneaker recycling: If you’re looking for a school-wide Earth Day project, consider sneaker recycling.  Both the Nike Reuse a Shoe program and the Soles 4 Souls program are good places to start researching. You will be amazed at how many shoes one elementary school can go through in a year!

Eco-friendly raffle: Buy a rain barrel and get all of the children to help decorate it. Then, sell tickets to the raffle for a chance to win the rain barrel, which can be used to collect and store rain water runoff and used for landscaping and gardening during dry periods. The winner will appreciate the reduction in yard watering costs and the money raised can go back to the school for a chosen cause!

Adopt a stream or road: It frustrates me to see trash along the side of the road or floating in a stream. One way to get rid of this debris is to have your kids help clean it up! Check out the Adopt a Stream or Adopt a Highway programs to learn how your group can help keep your local environment clean now and for generations to come.

School-wide garage sale: This was a HUGE hit at my daughter’s school last year! Ask parents for both donations and to volunteer to help collect and sort the donations. Your school-wide garage sale will help you find a home for tons of used products while raising money at the same time!

Schools and extracurricular programs are always looking for fundraising and service projects for groups of children. By incorporating activities that are good for the environment you will be teaching those kids a lesson that will hopefully stay with them as they grow up.

What are some other unique service projects you have helped with?

Photo courtesy of Diane Hoffmaster.

2 Comments so far

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On Friday, January 4, 2013, diane wrote

Thanks...we learned that an elementary school goes through a LOT of shoes in one year!

On Thursday, January 3, 2013, Minta Cincinnati, OH wrote

These sound like great projects and are all eco friendly. Love things that help the environment. Love the pics.

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