Nearly 300 RHS students attended the first ever “Green Between” event after school on April 11th. The event commemorated efforts to reimagine the school’s interior courtyard and create a new green outdoor learning space.
More than 15 community partners and school clubs participated in engaging students with hands-on environmentally-related activities. Students learned about environmental careers, water quality, native plants, storm water runoff, and waste reduction. Students painted a rain barrel donated by the Conservation District, which will collect rainwater and be used in the courtyard.
Surprise visitors included Wendy the Water Drop and the Plastic Bag Monster (pictured below), which was made of hundreds of plastic bags to raise student awareness around plastic waste.
Kicking off the reimagining of the courtyard, Principal Eric Turman received on behalf of the School a beautiful, custom-designed bench donated by Habitat for Humanity of Berks County during the event.
Kent Himelright of the Berks County Conservation District has been working with the school’s Green Committee, led by Environmental Science teacher Jeannine Michel and Mary Ann Boyer of Boyer Sudduth Environmental Consultants, on an initiative to make the school more sustainable. The committee chose to renovate the interior courtyard to foster engagement with the students and create an outdoor learning lab.
Ann Sellers of Structure Green incorporated the students’ ideas to include these changes to the courtyard:
● a native pollinator garden
● raised beds
● path and hardscaping for an outdoor learning lab
● improvements to the existing pond
● art installations with colorful murals plans for a green wall
“This event showcased so many different opportunities on how we can interact with the world and the economy,” RHS junior Gabriela Zabala said.
Biology teacher Jessica Brown added, “It’s so important to have events like this so students can see all the different ways that they can impact the environment.”
Principal Turman addressed the crowd and thanked all the partners, faculty and students for “making the vision a reality.” Plans to begin construction will start this summer.
By Mahvish Ilyas, a recent graduate from University of Pennsylvania with a Master of Environmental Studies in Environmental Policy and intern at Boyer Sudduth Environmental Consultants.