Green eNews March 2015: Green Ribbon Nomination, FMA Composts & More
Published on Mar 25, 2015 14:40

Green eNews
  March 25, 2015
FMA Composting

Dear Schools & Community,

It’s been an exciting month for sustainability across our school district! We launched composting at another CPS school this month, and we were nominated as a school district for the Green Ribbon Schools Award, for our efforts in energy efficiency, waste reduction, and more. Read below to find out more!

Fletcher Maynard Academy (FMA) began lunchroom composting on Monday, March 16. The school community learned about the new program at their morning meeting where Meryl Brott from the Department of Public Works presented a slideshow, and students from the Green Team club helped demonstrate where to put different items (see photo above). A few Green Team students also read a poem about composting. Adult volunteers were at lunch all week to help students learn how to participate in the new program. FMA students did great. It's exciting that students from a total of ten Cambridge Public Schools are now helping nature and animals by composting their lunch leftovers. A big thank you to our volunteers, custodians, students, parents, and staff at FMA!

Fletcher Maynard joins the following schools that already compost: Peabody School & Rindge Avenue Upper School, Cambridge Rindge & Latin High School, King Open & Cambridge Street Upper School, Graham & Parks School, Tobin School & Vassal Lane Upper School, Cambridgeport School, Amigos School, Haggerty School, Kennedy-Longfellow School & Putnam Avenue Upper School.

Our school district was nominated by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education as one of three candidates from Massachusetts to be considered for the Green Ribbon Schools Award, given by the U.S. Department of Education. The two other nominees include Hingham High School and Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School.

The winners will be announced on Earth Day, April 22, 2015. The U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools program recognizes schools, districts and postsecondary institutions that are 1) reducing environmental impact and costs; 2) improving health and wellness; and 3) teaching environmental education.

Thanks for keeping our schools green!



Donate Furniture to Homeless
Getting rid of furniture? Donate it! Moving this spring and can’t take it all? Plan ahead and get free pick up with the Coalition for the Homeless. They have extra pickup days in Cambridge at the end of May and early June! Items must be clean and usable. Someone’s gonna love your stuff. Complete the online form for your good-condition furniture donations at They take kitchen tables & chairs, couches & sofa chairs, ottomans, hutches, end tables, coffee tables, bed frames, dressers, bookshelves, cabinets, rugs, lamps, dishes, pots & pans, and blankets & linens. Your gently-used donations help low-income and formerly homeless families furnish their apartments at no cost to them. For all 2015 pickup dates and other options, visit CambridgeMA.Gov/Furniture.


Apply for Mini-Grants
Need funding for your project related to healthy choices? Please see this announcement for ten $500 mini-grants to support initiatives in Cambridge that help promote physical activity and healthy eating by making “the healthy choice, the easy choice.” The grants are funded by the Cambridge Public Health Department and three Whole Foods Market stores in Cambridge.

Grants are awarded in a competitive process by representatives from the Healthy Children Task Force, the Cambridge Food and Fitness Policy Council, the Cambridge Green Schools Initiative, and the Cambridge Public Health Department.

Grant applications are due by April 3rd. For more information please see this document or contact Josefine Wendel at [email protected] or 617.665.3765. Thanks!

Casella recycling

Kids Recycling Tour
During April Vacation

Do you want to see what happens? Cambridge kids, see where your recycling goes! Children in first grade and up are invited to visit Casella Recycling in Charlestown on Wednesday, April 22 - Earth Day (School Vacation Week)! We'll be in the Education Room where we'll ask questions of staff and watch a live video of papers, cardboard and containers getting separated and prepared for markets. Third and fourth graders will find this particularly exciting. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Participants will need to walk a flight of stairs to get to the Education Room. We'll meet at DPW, 147 Hampshire St, at 9:30 SHARP and carpool (return by 11:45). To sign up, email [email protected]; include how many are in your group, ages/grades, if you can drive, and how many passengers you can take.

Fresh Pond

Fresh Pond Day
Do you or your students & families want to spend time in nature, locally? Fresh Pond Day is May 30 at Fresh Pond Reservation, 250 Fresh Pond Parkway. The event is a City sponsored celebration of water, wildlife, and sustainability to connect residents with watershed, urban wild, and local community resources. Includes music, wildlife demos, tours, and parade. Organizations interested in participating in the event should contact Kirsten Lundquist, 617.349.6489 or register here.

drinking water

Drink Up!
Do you want to stay hydrated and healthy at school? Please see this flyer for multi-lingual information about Cambridge tap water! Please feel free to print and hang in your classroom/office/bathroom! Tap water is drinking water that comes from the public water source. We get our tap water from faucets, sinks, and water fountains. Cambridge water is clean and delicious, and comes directly from Fresh Pond! After purification, the water flows through pipes to every home and business in the city. Tap water is zero-calorie, low-cost, and tastes great! The Cambridge Water Department carefully treats and disinfects water to make sure it’s still safe when it reaches your faucet. Stay hydrated and protect our planet by drinking from the tap! 
paper stack

If you have to make multiple copies of a document, photocopy the pages rather than print them (and copy them double-sided!). Why? Because copying uses less energy, materials, and ink than printing.

Do you or your students want to get involved in the climate change conversation in Cambridge? The City is working on preparing a vulnerability assessment (the Cambridge Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment) that will serve as the foundation for a climate change preparedness plan that will follow. The project webpage provides background information and documents from meetings. Interested people can send an email to [email protected] to be placed on the project email list.


Want to recycle the best way possible? Always place recycling and trash bins side by side to ensure recycling is convenient and easy for all. Need a deskside recycling bin to go next to the trash can at your desk? Need a sign to hang above your recycling bin, or a label on your recycling bin? Want a classroom presentation about recycling? Then contact Meryl from Public Works!

See how much your school has been recycling >> 

Take a minute to brush up on what can and cannot go in the recycling bins >> 

Want to schedule a nature walk for your class or students? Friends of Alewife Reservation is a stewarding and educational non-profit for the Alewife Reservation in northwest Cambridge and for the surrounding city natural resources of marshes and wetlands abutting Belmont and Arlington. Free wildlife and history educational tours, clean ups, and conservation initiatives for the silver maple forest. Take a "Virtual" Tour
of the Reservation >>

Did you know? Wooden clementine boxes can be composted once all the plastic has been removed from the box. They can go with food scraps at the food waste drop-off sites around Cambridge. Thanks for removing all plastic first!

Do you want to calculate how many kilowatts your classroom is using? You can borrow a “kill-a-watt” meter from the Main Public Library to measure how much electricity appliances and devices use. The meters come with a guide on how to use them and information on how to save energy. The meter kits and guide were developed by the Sprouts of Hope group based at the King Open School.


Do you get unwanted mail from retailers, credit card companies, or cable/phone companies? You can opt out of mailings from more than 4,000 companies with Catalog Choice and help reduce waste. For example, you can stop getting weekly circulars from Global Direct, they will honor opt-out requests, so add them to "your choices." Just register for FREE online to create an account to start cleaning out your mailbox. To date, over 3,700 Cambridge residents have signed up and opted out of nearly 25,000 different unwanted mailings!

Several teachers have taken advantage of the binders available from the Recycling Center. Just send an email including the widths and quantities you are looking for to [email protected]. Thanks for reusing! It helps make less trash, and makes $en$e!


Kristen von Hoffmann
Sustainability Manager
Email Kristen

Cambridge Green Schools Initiative
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