Sustainability Spotlight: Park Middle School

Shawn Roberts is the Media Secretary and designated Sustainability Champion for Park Middle School. In her role as Sustainability Champion, she has been sponsoring the school Green Team for two years now. Having been involved with other outside green centered organizations, Roberts was thrilled when given this opportunity at Park. Since creating the Park Green Team, Roberts and the student members have been busy brainstorming ways to expand sustainability into their school’s everyday practices. For example, in addition to the district standard for recycling paper, cardboard, cans and plastic bottles, Park collects soft plastics, batteries, coffee pods, straws and markers to be shipped to the proper location and recycled. Teaming up with the Student Council, the Green Team also started fundraising for the #TeamTrees fundraising challenge which raises money to plant 20 million trees in 2020. Roberts has also brought in guest speakers for the Green Team and recruited the help of a Master Gardener to teach about composting during a club meeting. In the past, the entire school hosted their own Recycled Art Show where former Junior Miss Earth, Angel Strong, and a Nebraska Recycling Council representative visited and judged the show.

In addition to the past accomplishments of Park, the school continually participates in the PepsiCo Recycle Rally, the Green Schools Initiative, clothing donation drives for Lincoln People’s City Mission and the LPS Green Schools Recognition Program. Roberts also mentioned the building excitement towards Park’s 2020 Earth Day Festival which will showcase school clubs, the Boys and Girls Club, and other community partners. Park’s efforts have not gone unnoticed, and have ever started gaining some community recognition. In 2018, Park was presented with a silver Recycling Leadership award by the city’s Waste Management Department for their efforts to divert over 40% of their waste from the landfill. Roberts expressed the importance of surrounding yourself with people who support you, “Find those teachers, staff, and students that care and are interested in doing something to make a difference, big or small. If you keep working and sharing your passion, your enthusiasm will spread.” Thank you Shawn Roberts for bringing student ideas to life and making our district a more sustainable one.