What Green Apple Day of Service means to me: Jennifer Seydel

Published on: 
September 15, 2016
Jennifer Seydel

Every movement needs a moment…or two…or three…or many, all across the planet! The Green Apple Day of Service is one of those moments for the green, healthy, sustainable schools movement. I am continually amazed at the capacity for the Center for Green Schools™ at USGBC® to mobilize their volunteers all across the planet to transform classrooms, schools and schoolyards. The growing number of projects completed each year is a reflection of the growing desire to co-create a sustainable future.

One out of every six people—that’s close to 60 million—work, learn and play in our school buildings every year. Unfortunately, many of our schools still operate the way public education was designed in the mid-nineteenth century: preparing students for an industrial society that no longer exists. On Green Apple Day of Service, communities have the chance to create a new vision of what they want their children to learn, where they want their children to learn and how they want their children to learn. 

The diversity of Green Apple projects reflects these hopes and dreams: creating gardens that help children understand how to nurture their bodies, doing cleanup and ecological restoration projects that honor the integral connection between human health and ecological health, replacing old incandescent lights with more energy-efficient LED lights, tearing up asphalt playgrounds and replacing them with outdoor classrooms and natural play areas and transforming classrooms with desks in rows to beautiful learning environments with sustainably forested furniture. All of these projects reflect what we in the green schools movement believe—that each of the 60 million people who spend their days in our public schools deserve to work and learn in a healthy, sustainable place.  

Last year, my husband and I helped build a country sink for the Irwin A. and Robert D. Goodman Greenhouse at Spring Harbor Middle School in Madison, Wisconsin, as well as some garden beds at Brashear High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For us, because we know that transforming every K–12 school does not happen in just one day, Green Apple Day of Service is a year-round event.

Join the fun. Check out greenapple.org and find a school to transform. Make a commitment for this one day…and then decide how you can support their efforts to become a green, healthy and sustainable learning environment year-round! 

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