East Syracuse: City tops in green program

Students in the Syracuse City School District are far from green when it comes to "going green." The district is the first in New York State to have 100 percent participation in the Go Green Initiative (GGI), a national environmental action plan that gets kids of all ages involved in recycling and waste reduction through hands-on education. More than 360 cities across the country have at least one school participating in GGI.

"Every school in the Syracuse [City] School District is now participating in promoting environmental stewardship," said National Founder and Executive Director Jill Buck in a recent press release. "The local Go Green organizers and the Syracuse [City] School District should be proud to be the first school district in New York State to achieve this level of involvement. We hope other school districts in the state will follow your example."

With the support of Syracuse City Schools Superintendent Dan Lowengard and Head of Facilities Nick Dibello, head custodians and other Green team members are banding together to improve recycling.

Each classroom will have special recycling stations with two blue bins to separate paper from plastic, metal and glass; and staff and faculty will work to educate kids on the proper ways to recycle, such as flattening boxes and identifying recyclable materials. Schools are also expected to submit a quarterly report on their progress.

Mark Naef of Naef Recycling in East Syracuse is a local sponsor of the program. He hired Jennifer Spoor to be a local coordinator for GGI and attributes much of the program's success to driving conservation issues to the fore.

"By me hiring somebody -- that really changed the dynamics," he said, noting that it doesn't necessarily take a paid volunteer to get the job done.

Someone who devotes the time, energy and willingness to implement these types of eco-programs is just as effective as an employee, he said.

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