For the past year, Howard County students have been working with the county’s “Conservancy to Provide a Better Schoolyard.” The organization researches and implements ideas on how to better schools’ carbon footprint. It also ranked schools based on their various efforts to help the environment.
On April 20, about 200 county students gathered to listen to other students present their school-based results. For Mt. Hebron, the school still has a lot of work to do on how it keeps its grounds clean. Overall, Mt. Hebron earned an E for the schoolyard and a C for the watershed on the 2016 Howard County Watershed Report Card. The school is a watershed on the border of the Patapsco and the Little Patuxent River.
Since the beginning of the school year, Science teacher Ms. Alyson Donoghue’s Biology Honors classes combined with Science teacher Mr. Paul Sabota’s Biology GT classes to conduct research on these issues.
“I didn’t realize how bad our condition [was], our waste disposal tools and the grease bin leakage,” stated Ms. Donoghue.
Ann Strozyk, an Environmental Educator at the event, said, “If everyone one could pick up at least one piece of trash a day, it would make the world a cleaner place.”
Among those who attended the Conservancy were Howard County Superintendent Dr. Renee Foose, Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman and Howard County Board of Education member Ann De Lacy.
“I hope that it will go beyond just GT and Honors classes. The [environmental] portion should be embedded in all classes,” stated De Lacy.
Delacy hopes everyone could see how the school is treated and will have an opportunity to learn how to amend the mistakes that were made.
Howard County as a whole earned a C+ for their streams and a D- for all the schoolyards. Here at Mt. Hebron, there are clubs such as the Environmental Club that are working to help raise the personal schoolyard grade up from an E. The club conducted a trash pickup day on Earth Day, April 22. There are also projects being conducted such as making a “No Mow Zone” around the storm water pond.
“Through the work we did and through our classes’ findings, I hope that every individual will go out and make a difference on their own,” said sophomore Ujwal Upadhyay.
Out of the 13 schoolyards studied, two of them were rated as moderate, while the other 11 were rated as poor. There were no schoolyards in Howard County that received the rating of good, which is what Mt. Hebron hopes to achieve.
The main feedback about the schoolyard is that the dumpsters and grease containers are leaking and the school has an excessive amount of trash in the schoolyard. There are many ways to fix these problems. Simply throwing away trash and picking up other people’s trash can help clean up the schoolyard. Hopefully, Mt. Hebron will be able to achieve a better rating in the near future.