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Environmental Club Spotlight

Members of Environmental Club. 
From Left to Right: 
(Back) Luke Lynam, Kyle Schuster, Nathalie Ortiz, Andre Tolentino, Riley Schuster
(Center): Isabelle Gallego, Marcus Macalinao, Stephanie Urgiles, Malvina Giannoulis, Alyssa Krause, Thinuri Fernando, John Yabut
(Front): Jina Joseph, Darya Yeruslanov, Shalin Thomas, Mrs. Lynn Torpie

Lillian Hui

Members of Environmental Club. From Left to Right: (Back) Luke Lynam, Kyle Schuster, Nathalie Ortiz, Andre Tolentino, Riley Schuster (Center): Isabelle Gallego, Marcus Macalinao, Stephanie Urgiles, Malvina Giannoulis, Alyssa Krause, Thinuri Fernando, John Yabut (Front): Jina Joseph, Darya Yeruslanov, Shalin Thomas, Mrs. Lynn Torpie

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When it comes to going green, there’s plenty of ways to do it, such as using less water or saving energy. But at New Milford High School, the Environmental Club takes it a step further.

Recently, the Environmental Club, advised by Science teacher Mrs. Lynn Torpie, joined National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools USA. New Milford High School was the 15th participant throughout the county and the 135th participant in the state according to an article on the New Milford Patch. The club itself mainly focuses on doing good for the environment. Activities include recycling plastics in the school recycling bins located all around the building and even composting. This new program the club has joined supports schools in incorporating awareness of the environment within the curriculum as well as recognizing their efforts.

The Environmental Club itself gets involved doing smaller projects around the school but it all makes a difference. Just at a glance, the success of the use of the recycling bins is growing. Many students have been using them to recycle their plastics all around the school. Every week during the Environmental Club meetings, the members of the club go around to every bin to take out the old bag and replace it with a new one and take it down to the recycling bin outside the cafeteria.

The club also takes part in composting. With the help of the students in Culinary Arts class taught by Mrs. Ruth Beiner, the members of the club have many items that can be used for composting. Leftovers that were not used by the students in culinary are sent to Mrs. Torpie’s room to be used as compost. In the warmer months of the year, members of the club go outside to pick flowers that were already decomposing to add to their project.

Kyle Schuster, a junior and a member of the Environmental Club, stated that he’s been a member of the club for 3 years, since his freshman year. He explains that the club, “…is currently working on an energy survey to determine the amount of energy the school uses on a given day and throughout the year. It is supposed to help us determine how we can lessen the energy use in each room and how to lessen the energy use throughout the year.”

Schuster also explains his own personal efforts in helping the environment. “I unplug my chargers at night and try to take shorter showers. I also carpool when I go anywhere.”

Mrs. Torpie says, “There are a number of activities we participate in. We plant flowers, we hold the annual Mother’s Day plant sale, we take part in the town’s Clean Community Day, we compost the foods class waste with our worms, and we also do other things depending on the interests of the students.”

She further explains, “Last year, we made crafts out of recycled things, we raised money through bake sales and coin jars for various causes. Using the collected money, we’ve donated it to save rainforests and for beach cleanups as well as the adoption of 6 animals. For our newest project we are working on to become a certified eco-school.”

To further explain what the eco-school certification was, Mrs. Torpie said, “[Eco-Schools USA] is trying to get our school certified as an eco-school. It’s a multi-step process that calls for an eco-action team which means members forming to do research. We need to conduct a number of surveys and gather information on all aspects of our school’s impact on the environment. This means we will be surveying things like energy use, water use, the disposal of chemicals, and recess policies. Once we have our baseline data, we will analyze it and determine the areas we want to work on to improve. Then we will come up with a plan, collect data, and hopefully qualify to become a certified school.”

If any students are interested in helping with this project but do not participate in the club, Mrs. Torpie says that you can answer the surveys they will be giving out.

“Once we have decided what changes we want to improve, they can help change their behaviors to help by recycling, turning off lights, and etc.”

The Environmental Club is an important extracurricular to our school because they care so much about the environment. We hope that their efforts continue so we must support them.

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Environmental Club Spotlight