Sustainability Spotlight: Lakeview Elementary

Diane Schneider, 2nd grade teacher at Lakeview Elementary, has been the Sustainability Champion for her school for the past 5 years. “My passion for recycling started many years ago when I started teaching Garbology in second grade.”

Lakeview is one of a handful of buildings that have expanded the compost program beyond the cafeteria to collect organic materials from classrooms and restrooms. This has allowed their diversion rates to soar above 60% through their recycling and composting efforts. So far this school year they have already diverted over 6,000 lbs of recyclables and more than 10,000 lbs of organic material from going to the landfill! 

They have also recycled over 8,600 markers through the Crayola ColorCycle program since 2017! Each teacher is asked to designate a marker collection container in classrooms, and the students are given a role in transporting markers to Schneider’s classroom and counting them up before they are sent off to be recycled for free. 

Lakeview has been a dedicated participant in the LPS Green Schools Recognition Program as well. Some of the activities they complete include a Goodwill Clothing Drive, Keep America Beautiful Recycle Bowl, community litter clean ups, planting a school garden, and participating in the Cans4Books Recycling Drive. Through that program and other donations Lakeview has earned over $500 in funding to support their sustainability programs. Partnerships have played a critical role in their efforts as well, including the University of Nebraska – Lincoln Environmental Studies program students. They have created hands on sustainability activities with some of Schneider’s students including a carbon footprint activity and creating terrariums. 

In 2018, Lakeview was recognized on a state level for their outstanding efforts to green their school. Keep Nebraska Beautiful recognizes schools each year through their Environmental Awards Program and Lakeview was given the 1st Place Award and a $50 prize in the Youth Group/School Award Category. Also in 2018, Lakeview received a Silver Award for their waste diversion percentage through the City of Lincoln Recycle Leadership Recognition Program. 

When asked about tips for other schools wanting to become more sustainable, Schneider said, “My advice is to start small and get students on board with your efforts. They are eager to help”. Congratulations to Lakeview Elementary for continuing to be a green schools leader in the district, city, and the state.