Green team initiatives save both money, environment

Green team initiatives save both money, environment

$126,279. That’s how much West has saved over the last seven years on heating alone. Through efforts to become a more environmentally friendly school while remaining cost efficient, leaders have taken steps like participating in ‘Green Week’ and educating many students about the impact they have on the environment. John Reiland, a biology and environmental issues teacher, has a great passion for conserving the environment. These classes have provided many opportunities for students interested in the environment.

“I took the class because I wanted to dig deeper into what is causing problems and issues in our society and environment today,” senior Griffin Kintopf said. “I think it is important to appreciate the beautiful planet we call Earth.”

The class will soon be picking up the trash in and surrounding Sawyer Creek in hopes of improving the water quality of the area. For senior Jon Binner, the class is more than just an elective to fill.

“I believe that taking environmental issues has most definitely impacted my life on a daily basis,” he said. “It has allowed me to understand just how important it is to keep the environment clean.”

Reiland plans on investigating the inefficient energy aspects of West’s 45-year-old building and the challenges that come with the age.

“As of 2008, West received a new boiler in the building,” Reiland said. “It uses 10 individual boilers to heat only the specific amount of water the school needs for the day.”

This new installment was a major factor in the amount of money West was able to save in the past seven years. Along with a new boiler, the school has also received funds to help improve other facilities throughout the building.

“West also received an individual heater for the pool which has made a huge impact,” Reiland said. “Swimming pools need to be heated constantly; allotting much of the past heater’s energy to consistently heat the pool along with the rest of the school even when unnecessary.”

Despite the numerous funds West has received to help conserve energy,  Reiland hopes to see the participation in environmental activities of the student body increase in future years.

“This year we would really like to make a bigger impact through ‘Green Week’ which occurs around the time of Earth Day,” he said. “We have activities such as picking up trash on school property or an electronic drive that encourages students to do their part in helping the environment.”

‘Green Week’ brings a school wide focus to the issues of the environment and involves the student body in improving the environment around Oshkosh. Junior Jenna Hanson hopes to see more environmental friendly activities at West, perhaps even weaving in positive reinforcements.

“One way to help would be to have a garbage drive to see how many of the garbages we could actually fill up around the school,” she said. “Once a certain amount of garbage gets into the cans, we could have a prize or an incentive.”

Throughout the rest of the school year, and years to come, Reiland strives to achieve a higher level of environmental awareness and participation from students and staff, as well as the surrounding community. Reiland’s efforts have not only made a difference to the school and surrounding community, but it has also left a big impact on the students that have been a part of his team.

“It’s up to us to keep our environment clean and healthy so we can enjoy life as much as possible,” Kintopf said.

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