’Tis the season for generosity and good feelings. However, it can also be a season with a tremendous amount of waste. While there are plenty of holiday sustainability guides to reference this season—like the U.S. EPA’s guide to cutting holiday waste and the Energy Star guide to energy-efficient gifts—the Center for Green Schools at USGBC would like to challenge you to cut down the waste created in your school by creatively “giving back” instead of “giving stuff.”
During the holidays, we love giving back to the teachers and school staff in our lives with something that will remind them of our appreciation. While a cute ornament may give your favorite teacher a smile, giving or doing something sustainable for the school or classroom can be an even better way to appreciate them. Here are a few ideas for sustainably giving back this year.
You can give:
A Green Apple Day of Service project at your school
Planning a school sustainability project for your favorite teacher is a perfect way to give back to the entire school. Making the school more efficient in water, waste or energy will save the school money that can be reinvested into the teachers or into making the school even more sustainable. We’ll even help you out by donating $200 through DonorsChoose.org to get you started. Find out how to apply for the mini-grants and check out our project ideas to get your planning started.
The Green Classroom Professional Course
Do you know a teacher who wants to make their classroom greener, but doesn’t know where to start? Gift the Green Classroom Professional Course to them this season. The course provides foundational knowledge of green building and how to set up a more sustainable, healthier classroom and school.
Sustainable classroom supplies
What teacher wouldn’t love classroom supplies as a gift? By this time of year, they’ll be running low. Providing what they’ll need in the new year will make them feel appreciated for everything they do. Check out our sustainable school supplies guide to help you find green classroom supplies.
A green schools signage craft activity
Everyone loves a craft handmade by students, but after the holidays, they sometimes end up in the trash. Why not reduce the waste and create crafts that remind the school community and students’ parents to recycle, turn off the lights and unplug? Have your students create signage for the school or home, and hang them up to remind everyone to avoid wasting our resources.
500+ ready-to-go lessons
Creating engaging, standards-aligned lessons is hard and time-consuming. Give some time back to your teacher this year by providing a Learning Lab subscription for them this year. The platform contains 500+ lessons in English and Spanish that are high-quality and ready to be implemented. All the time your teacher will save can be spent relaxing and doing other important work.
An opportunity for your teacher
Everyone knows a teacher who could use a break from the grind. By the holidays, every teacher is hoping for a moment of reprieve. Give an opportunity for a teacher this year to be a guest speaker for a few hours as they teach a lesson on sustainability. Not sure what and how to teach? Use a Learning Lab lesson to get you started.
From all of us at the Center for Green Schools—we hope your holidays are merry and bright!