Last year, Madison Bates from the class of 2019 founded a chapter of the National Green Schools Society (NGSS) at Marblehead High School. NGSS is an honor society that gives students recognition for their environmental service. Students are required to complete at least 20 hours of environmental service each year to receive awards and recognition. Members must earn service hours in both environmental service and education. They also participate in year-long environmental service projects and can come up with their own project ideas or help with another project.
On Wednesday, October 23rd, Marblehead High School’s NGSS branch had its second induction. The first one took place at the end of the last school year when the club had just been founded. 33 students, including freshmen, were inducted this year. Around 75 people, including members from last year and family of the inductees, attended to support the new members. When asked about the induction, Service Hours Coordinator Sophie Hauck said “The induction was an exciting welcome to NGSS, and these new inductees have already helped with our environmental efforts in the week since the induction. Many of them have volunteered to monitor the composting system at lunch, which can feel tedious but is a truly worthwhile cause, proving their dedication. With the sheer numbers our group now has, we will surely be able to impact the environmental practices of the school and town community this year!”
After the induction, new members had the opportunity to sign up for some of NGSS’ initiatives. At Marblehead High School, NGSS members are responsible for helping with the school’s recycling and composting efforts. After school each day, students collect all of the recycling from one floor of the school and put it into larger bins. The recycling is picked up once a week. Students also help with the composting at lunch time. This year, the high school switched from having multiple recycling, trash, and compost bins placed throughout the cafeteria to having one of each in a central location. NGSS members monitor the bins at all three lunches and provide guidance when students are unsure about where to put what is leftover from their meals.
The inductees also signed up for the projects they wanted to help with. The first project is maintaining the aquaponics systems around the school. These systems are growing greens that will be given to the school cafeteria for lunches. Students working on this project will check the pH levels and add water for the plants. The second project is a no-idling campaign. The people helping with this project will work with Judith Black to spread awareness about the effects of idling. The third project is making the cafeteria more sustainable. While the new system of waste disposal during lunches has had a big impact on the amount of trash produced at the school each day, there is still more that can be done. This project would entail working to get compostable utensils and trays in the cafeteria. Members working on this project will also be responsible for helping with lunch duty and making sure that people dispose of waste properly. Some students are conducting their own projects and will be working with Mr. Ryan, the NGSS advisor, as well as the officers and other members to ensure the success of these endeavors.