OPRF Environmental Club is Multitasking!

The OPRF Environmental Club has been more than busy this year. The precedent was set last year, when we organized a march on October 24, 2009 to coincide with thousands of others across the globe. The whole thing was the brainchild of 350.org. Last fall, 350.org followed up its marches by organizing thousands of global “work parties” for the climate. We held our own work party, where we transplanted plants to clear ground for our urban garden.

The garden is by far our biggest project this year. It started as a far-off dream and now is in full swing. First, we measured the space and had a professional architect, the dad of Co-President Isabelle Neylan, design plans for the garden. We collectively decided that raised beds with stone walls would be the most appealing and long-lasting. Of course, our garden was organic from the get-go.

The amount of bricks our garden will require is hefty, but we received a generous grant of 3-4 pallets of bricks out of the 10 that we need. Also, the seeds were paid for by the OPRF Food Service. We will be partnering with them to further healthy and environmental initiatives in the cafeteria.

The Environmental Club is also responsible for the vast majority of paper recycling in the school. Each Wednesday we walk around the school with bins and collect paper to be recycled. We dump in it a bin that gives the school a small amount of money for each ton of paper.

Other activities of the club include an annual lightbulb exchange, where we give out free CFLs for incandescent bulbs that people bring in.   Also, we are hosting the game “coin wars,” as a way to collect money to build a well in Africa. The game is designed as a war between high school classes, where coins add points to your class and dollars subtract points from the other classes.

The Environmental Club engages in activities of which the fruition is later. For example, last year, we testified at an EPA public comment hearing. Two of our club members gave short speeches while others held up signs behind them, encouraging the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant, which would give the organization greater power than it has ever had. This year, the EPA announced that it will regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant, which is something that we as a club can point to say, “We helped that.”

For groups or individuals seeking to contact us, our club sponsor's email is cmcguckin@oprfhs.org.  She will relay any emails to the student club leadership. Please don't hesitate to contact us for any reason. We are looking forward to making more community connections in the coming years. Submitted by Owen Brady