On Earth Day, Clark County Green Schools recognized amazing sustainability feats among public school volunteers, student leadership teams, and the staff who empower them.

Washougal High School students created the four trophies that were awarded to schools across Clark County in recognition of sustainability achievements. The trophies were created in the school’s wood shop, using at least 75% recycled materials that were provided by the Clark County Green Schools award program.

“It’s important to use recycled materials because if you don’t use stuff like old railroad spikes, they just end up in landfills or dumps and possibly the ocean,” said Grant Limbo, senior at Washougal High School. Limbo created one of the trophies being awarded to green teams this year.

Green teams at Illahee Elementary School, La Center High School, and the Washington State School for the Blind received these handmade, recycled trophies in recognition of environmental projects. One individual award, the Clark County Green Apple of the Year Award, was presented to public schools volunteer Mark Watrin.

“Observing the woodworking and metal shops at Washougal High School inspired us to get students involved in creating the trophies with recycled materials,” said Samantha Springs LeCain, Clark County Green Schools Environmental Outreach Specialist.

In 2022, Washougal High School culinary arts teacher Alexandra Yost received the first ever Clark County Green Apple Award for the cafeteria composting and recycling program. This year, Washougal High School purchased milk dispensing machines with funding from Waste Not Washington School Awards, allowing Washougal High School to become a milk carton-less school in the near future. This recent trophy project continues a tradition of spearheading innovative sustainability efforts at Washougal High School.

“Schools and students are taking great steps to create a healthier, more sustainable environment,” said Springs LeCain.

This year’s Green Award recipients included:

Ilahee Elementary, Evergreen School District

Clark County Green Schools announced this month that the Illahee Elementary School Green Team is the 2023 Elementary School Green Team of the Year. Elementary students on the green team care for the school’s outdoor learning spaces, reduce waste around school, and educate other students on the importance of sustainability.

“The kids here at Illahee really care about the community,” said Mya Clinton, Day Lead at Illahee Elementary School.

La Center High School, La Center School District

The Environmental Action Team, an after school green team at La Center High School, is the 2023 High School Green Team of the Year. High school students at La Center High School lead a districtwide sustainability project to compost food scraps. This team of students also manage the school garden, monitor water quality at Breezy Creek, raise salmon hatchlings in the classroom, and lead habitat restoration projects.

“I’m very proud of the class,” said Rebecca Morris, teacher at La Center High School.

Isabella Parke, president of the Environmental Action Team added, “It feels good to be recognized because I think that everyone who works hard deserves recognition.”

Washington State School for the Blind

Students at the Washington State School for the Blind won the 2023 Mixed Grade Green Team of the Year Award. The team, called the Green Beings, composts food waste from the cafeteria and coffee grounds from the school coffee shop using red worms. They recycle, care for mason bees, and much more.

“This award is important because it shows that environmental activism is important,” said Charles Johnson, sophomore at Washington State School for the Blind. “With the help of the Green Beings and other students at WSSB, I feel like it was very successful.”

Mark Watrin, Battle Ground Public Schools & Vancouver Public Schools Volunteer

Mark Watrin, retired science educator, public schools volunteer, and member of the Battle Ground Public Schools Board of Directors, is the 2023 Clark County Green Apple of the Year Award winner.

The Clark County Green Apple Award recognizes one individual each year for their involvement in school sustainability initiatives. Watrin volunteers to construct school gardens and lead habitat restoration projects in Battle Ground Public Schools and Vancouver Public Schools. He has helped to establish a native habitat garden at Laurin Middle School and raised garden boxes at Minnehaha Elementary School.

For more information and to watch videos about each award recipient, visit Clark County Green Schools.