Belvedere becomes an Eco-School

Eco-school certificate scan 1

Belvedere has become an Eco-School, joining an elite group of 20 Fairfax County Public Schools to earn an Eco-School USA Bronze, Silver or Green Flag award. Belvedere has satisfied the criteria for the Bronze Award. An international program of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), Eco-Schools “aims to empower students to be the change our sustainable world needs by engaging them in fun, action-orientated learning,” according to the Eco-Schools website. In the US, the National Wildlife Federation manages the program for FEE.
Belvedere’s eight-student Green Team (two students each elected from Grades 2-5) was primarily responsible for earning the Eco-School status by auditing the school grounds, determining a need for more wildlife habitat, and creating the B Back Project to bring birds, bats, bees, beetles and butterflies to the back of Belvedere. The Green Team presented the project to the staff-and-parent Eco-Committee, told the rest of the school about the project via BNN and a bulletin board near the front office, and assigned tasks to grade levels. K/1 painted bird boxes and houses, Grade 2 made colorful plant ID markers, Grade 3 planted berry bushes (including a blueberry bed), and Grades 4 and 5 planted a native grass path and a bat garden of late-day blooming perennials that will attract insects in the evening/night when bats are hunting. The GreenTeam members themselves made bird baths out of clay, and Ms. Bargo fired and glazed them.

Tying in the curriculum to outdoor and environmental learning — partnering with the Fairfax County Park Authority to remove invasive plants and replace them with native ones in Belvedere Park, creating and maintaining worm bins, school-wide recycling, daily cafeteria composting, exploring the trail and habitat gardens — also contributed to becoming an Eco-School. (Curiously, the certificate we received has a February 2013 date stamp; we actually finished up the criteria in June 2013.)

Link to Belvedere’s Eco-Schools page on the National Wildlife Federation website

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