Advice from a Green Apple Day of Service leader

Published on: 
Thursday, February 7, 2019
Author: 
Kristen Keim

This year’s Green Apple Day of Service has seen many successes, with communities working together to positively affect schools and spread sustainability. Behind each impactful project is a leader coordinating and planning the ways to engage students and communities.

One of last year’s Green Apple Day of Service Award winners for project leader, Ibrahim Kronfol, has been an example of determination and success in leading change with students in the Middle East and India. Since Green Apple’s inception in 2012, Kronfol has worked tirelessly to spread awareness and positively change students’ behavior in India, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan. In 2017, he led 77 volunteers to reach over 1,000 students. In 2018, his efforts were doubled, with over 200 volunteers working with 2,500 students.

We’re so impressed with his success that we asked Kronfol to share how he has positively affected students and communities:

How have your Green Apple Day of Service projects sparked other sustainability actions in communities?

Our projects have had significant impacts on the host schools and their communities. To widen outreach and spread our message, we target new schools each year, focusing on schools that would not have access to similar activities otherwise, such as schools serving underprivileged communities.

This collaboration with different schools each year has had far-reaching effects. We reach more teachers and see their commitment grow as they ask questions, take notes and give suggestions during our first meetings with them. Many schools from previous sustainability movement campaigns that we led have now started their own Green Apple Day projects. We’ve even inspired numerous schools to implement ongoing recycling programs. They are proof that we are making great strides toward a greener future.

Since you started in 2012, what types of projects have you found to be most impactful to student and school staff behavior?

To make an impact, context truly matters. For example, in 2015, Lebanon was plagued by a massive waste management problem that was affecting the entire country. So, we tailored our program accordingly: we capitalized on the elevated awareness and conducted extensive hands-on activities for a reduce-reuse-recycle campaign.

It had an incredibly significant impact, because we taught students how to tackle an issue they were personally suffering from. Generally, activities that allow students to both think and act are guaranteed to have notable impact. I’ve also found projects related to energy and water are usually favorites among students.

Do you have a favorite story of impact from working with schools and students?

As an environmental activist, there are several times I’ve been impressed by a student or a school. If I had to cite just one example, it would be a kick-off meeting we had with an orphanage in Beirut at the beginning of our recent sustainability movement project. After we decided to do a water audit activity for 30 students, the event coordinator told me she wanted to include students from five sister school orphanages as well.

Instead of having just one school benefit from the activity, this way, students from each school could participate so they could serve as ambassadors and lead the same activity in their schools. We even transformed the water audit activity into an inter-school competition in which teams competed to get accurate results and present their findings. With such initiative from the coordinator, we were able to have a much bigger impact than we hoped for.

What advice do you have for others for planning and implementing a successful project?

Always start your project with a briefing on sustainability. This could be a presentation or a story, but keep it simple, and keep your audience in mind. We’re dealing with young students, and they need to have fun to think and get inspired. Also, keep the student-to-volunteer ratio in the margins of 5 to 1, which will ensure that every student is able to engage, learn and ask questions. Finally, preparation is everything: make sure volunteers have rehearsed the presentations and activities beforehand, to make the most of your time with the students.

Register your own Green Apple Day of Service project

What you need to know about the 2019 Green Apple Day of Service Awards

Published on: 
Monday, February 4, 2019
Author: 
Carolyn Yi

The past 10 months have been filled with impactful Green Apple Day of Service projects, and we’re already thinking about how to honor your work through the 2019 Green Apple Day of Service Awards. Last year’s winners were true leaders in the global volunteer movement, and though they’ll be hard to follow, we know our community continues to raise the bar.

To streamline the process, this year’s award winners will be selected from project pages registered on greenapple.org. Selections will be made in March, so when your project is completed, be sure your project page is a complete reflection of all your hard work.

Create a project page to enter.

  • Your entry for an award is your greenapple.org project page. There is no separate nomination process, and you do not need to share any additional information. If you’ve registered your project on the website, you are already in the running!
  • Make sure everything you want us to know is included on your project page. This includes your project description, participation numbers, details of project impact, photos and other visuals.
  • All registered projects completed between April 4, 2018, and March 15, 2019, will be considered.

Winners will be chosen in three categories.

  • Deep impact: Recognizing projects that demonstrate a depth of impact. The impact may be on students at the school, the surrounding community, the built or natural environment as demonstrated by data and more.
  • Broad engagement: Recognizing projects that demonstrate broad engagement. This may include students, families, the surrounding community or the wider public.
  • Creative approach: Recognizing projects that have taken a particularly creative or entrepreneurial approach.

We’ve loved seeing what you’ve been up to for your Green Apple Day of Service, and we look forward to recognizing a deserving group of winners on stage at the 2019 Green Schools Conference and Expo awards luncheon on April 8.

Register or update your Green Apple Day of Service project

USGBC communities kick off a new year of Green Apple Day of Service

Published on: 
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Author: 
Carolyn Yi

USGBC communities across the country are off to a strong start with Green Apple Day of Service this school year. Here are how some of our local networks have been mobilizing to support greener schools where they are.

In partnership with Arkansas Interfaith Power and Light, USGBC volunteers took action on Energy Efficiency Day alongside green team students at Stephens Elementary School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Working together, 15 volunteers and 30 students assembled gift bags with energy-efficient items such as LED bulbs and socket sealers, to help neighbors reduce their energy consumption and lower utility bills. It is estimated that up to 300 students and their families will be impacted as a result of this effort. USGBC volunteers will return for a schoolwide event for Earth Day in the spring.

Green Apple Day of Service at Stephens Elementary

Green Apple Day of Service at Stephens Elementary.

At Pharr Elementary in Snellville, Georgia, 14 teachers, parents, students and USGBC volunteers came out to revitalize the school garden and prepare it to serve as a learning space. The volunteers cleared vines so that students will be able to pick the garden’s sweet potatoes as part of their lesson on George Washington Carver. They also cleared out the keyhole garden in preparation for winter planting, and cleared out growth under the tables so the students can use the outdoor classroom. All 654 students at the school will have access to the garden this year. The local USGBC community is looking forward to getting out in the dirt again and sharing more resources with the school.

Green Apple Day of Service at Pharr Elementary

Green Apple Day of Service at Pharr Elementary.

In Berkeley, California, 23 volunteers, including students and USGBC staff, came together for a community work day at Jefferson Elementary School. They painted the cafeteria, exterior walls and backboard with low-VOC paint, cleaned windows with Green Seal-certified products, and disposed of unused furniture.

Outdoors, they planted drought-tolerant or pollinator-friendly plants throughout the schoolyard and weeded the vegetable garden. As a result of this effort, 415 students at the school will be positively impacted this year. Jefferson Elementary is focused year-round onmaking strides toward its sustainability goals. Through participation in the Northern California green building mentorship program, they are using the Arc benchmarking platform to engage students on making improvements in reducing waste, enhancing energy efficiency and more.

Green Apple Day of Service at Jefferson Elementary

Green Apple Day of Service at Jefferson Elementary.

If their creativity inspires you to organize your own project, check out the mini-grants we're offering to assist in your planning. We look forward to seeing what impact we can make together this school year.

See other projects happening this year

Make an impact at your school this year with Green Apple Day of Service

Published on: 
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Author: 
Kristen Keim

With the school year in full swing, it’s time to take action on your commitment to school sustainability with Green Apple Day of Service. This year, we’ve made a commitment to helping your school make the biggest impact possible. Here’s what we’re focused on this year to inspire and support your school’s sustainability work.

All registered projects are nominated for a Green Apple Day of Service Award.

That’s right, any project registered on greenapple.org before March 15, 2019, will be entered in the running for a Green Apple Day of Service Award. Your registered project will be your award submission, so be sure to update your project profile with pictures and details of the event. This year, we’ll be looking for projects that address a critical sustainability issue for the school, engage volunteers and students and address at least one of the three pillars of a green school. Awards are presented on the main stage at the Green Schools Conference, and scholarships are available for recipients!

Show us your work on Twitter, and we’ll share it.

Share your Green Apple Day work on Twitter using #GreenAppleDay, making sure to tag your location and school and share pictures and details of the event, and we’ll retweet your project so it gains attention from our followers. Your project tweet will also be featured on greenapple.org in the project ideas page in our Twitter feed.

Registering your project provides you even more support this year.

We’ve teamed up with Shaw Contract and DonorsChoose.org again to provide mini-grants to projects registered before March 15, while funding lasts. That’s $200 worth of supplies to make your school the greenest it can be. Check out our new fundraising page for detailed steps on accessing the mini-grants.

Get inspired and learn from other projects and project leaders.

When you register your project on greenapple.org, you’ll be invited to join the discussion in the Green Apple Day of Service Facebook Group. The group invites project leaders to join the conversation on project tips and ideas, fundraising and volunteer opportunities and storytelling. We’ve also added more project ideas to get you thinking about what critical sustainability issue you want to address this year. You can find example projects in each project idea to provide even more inspiration for your event. We’ve included some materials available through DonorsChoose.org in each project idea that may be useful for completing the project.

Recognize your impact through Green Apple Day of Service.

On the project map page, we’ve archived all of the past registered projects since 2012. Your project will remain on the page, even after the school year ends—even more reason to update your project page with details and photos! We’re also keeping a tally of the impact that Green Apple Day of Service has made, so you’ll see in real-time how you affect those numbers once you register your project.

Register your project

Celebrating the success of Green Apple Day of Service 2017-2018 [infographic]

Published on: 
Friday, September 7, 2018
Author: 
Kristen Keim

The 2017–2018 school year’s Green Apple Day of Service was all about meeting schools where they are. By opening up to allow projects all during the academic year and providing mini-grants through DonorsChoose.org, the effort was more accessible to everyone striving for more sustainable and healthy learning environments.

With project leaders uploading pictures, event descriptions and impact reports from their projects, we saw a great response this year. We want to celebrate your great work, and we hope you share the worldwide impact with your school and community to inspire them for the upcoming school year.

Green Apple Day of Service achievements 2017-2018

Keep any eye out for updates about Green Apple Day of Service 2018–2019, and let us know what you’re doing to make an impact in your school this year!

Learn more about Green Apple Day of Service

Center for Green Schools and DonorsChoose.org

Make a larger impact than ever at your school with Green Apple Day of Service this year! Although many Green Apple projects can be implemented with little cost, making deep and meaningful impacts at schools can require funding. To ensure that you can make the difference you want to see at your school, the Center for Green Schools has teamed up with Shaw Contract and DonorsChoose.org to fund materials and supplies for your project.

For additional fundraising ideas and tips, check out our tip sheet for project fundraising.

What is DonorsChoose.org?

Free for public and charter school educators, DonorsChoose.org is a crowdfunding platform to help raise funds for the classroom. Educators raise money through the website for supplies or equipment listed in DonorsChoose.org’s extensive catalog. Once the fundraising is complete, DonorsChoose.org will order and ship supplies directly to the school.

For more information, go to DonorsChoose.org's about page. For directions on setting up an account, visit DonorsChoose.org's help page.

How do I get mini-grant funding?

Receiving mini-grants from the Center for Green Schools and Shaw Contract for your Green Apple Day of Service project only requires a few steps.

  1. Register your Green Apple project.
    • Log in or create an account for greenapple.org--it's free!
    • Add a project (click plus icon under "Your Projects" heading). Make sure your project addresses one or more of the three pillars of a green school: reducing environmental impact, improving health and wellness and/or increasing environmental and sustainability literacy.
  2. Go Shopping. Decide on the materials or resources your project requires. Have an educator on your team sign up on DonorsChoose.org and request those materials. When the project is approved, you’ll receive a six-digit project ID. This is separate from the five-digit teacher ID.
  3. Connect your accounts. Link your DonorsChoose.org page to your Green Apple registered project by copying the six-digit project ID from DonorsChoose.org into your greenapple.org project within the project registration field labeled "DonorsChoose.org Project ID." You can make changes to your Green Apple project any point, while registering or after registration is completed.
  4. Raise the money. Remember, if your project is registered at greenapple.org and your DonorsChoose.org page is linked to your project, the Center for Green Schools will donate up to $200, while the funding lasts.

Green Apple Day of Service Projects Funded

As of March 2019

$15,368
to projects
12,287
students helped
57
projects fully funded
53
schools served
55
teachers supported

For each project that participates in the Green Apple Day of Service, the Center for Green Schools, in partnership with Shaw Contract, will donate up to $200 per project while funds last. View the Green Apple Day of Service profile page on DonorsChoose.org to learn more.

Fundraising

What are you doing for this year’s Green Apple Day of Service?

Published on: 
Monday, August 13, 2018
Author: 
Kristen Keim

With the beginning of the school year approaching, it’s time to set goals and priorities. Among the many goals you’re sure to make is creating a more sustainable and healthy learning environment with a Green Apple project, which can happen on any date that works for your school.

Green Apple Day of Service is about making the biggest impact possible in schools and measuring the change. Creating and leading an effective project can be simple, inexpensive and easily organized. In fact, many of the most impactful projects are student-led, receive funding and materials from the community and involve the whole school.

The following three 2017–2018 Green Apple projects exemplify making a meaningful impact—these few projects alone made a difference for more than 1,500 students. We think they’re the inspiration needed to start this school year greener.

Anti-idling campaign

Cordova Middle School students recognized the link between vehicle exhaust and the significant population of people living with asthma in their area. To address these health issues, the students led an anti-idling campaign around the school to reduce the exposure to vehicle exhaust that is inevitably created from student pickup and drop-off car lanes. The students educated their community on the dangers of vehicle exhaust and benefits of simply turning cars off while waiting.

Cordova Middle School Green Apple Day of Service

Using donated personal air monitoring devices, students tracked air emissions around the school to measure the effectiveness of the campaign. The results showed significant decreases in carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, and the students are continuing their campaign to lower those toxins even further.

If you’re inspired by this project, checkout the Raise Awareness of Outdoor Air Risks project idea for guidance and resources to plan a similar project.

Let’s grow a garden

Thinking about a gardening project for this year’s Green Apple? Take it one step further and incorporate composting and recycling, like Ocean Bay Elementary did last year. With the community's help, the school built raised planter beds for every grade level, while also giving the responsibility of the garden’s care and upkeep to the students.

Ocean Bay Elementary Green Apple Day of Service

The project created a use for the organic waste produced by the school. With the new garden, students will see the benefits of separating their waste and composting organic materials. Additionally, with the care of the garden falling directly on the students, outdoor education programs and curriculum become a priority, which has been shown to provide emotional, social and educational benefits to the students.

Find resources and guidance on how to create a school garden or a recycling and compost program at your school.

Tilling the common ground between high school students and green professionals

At Common Ground High School, students met with sustainability professionals to cultivate student inspiration for and understanding of green career paths. Students met with 12 different types of sustainability professionals, for 10 minutes each, to discuss the work and education of that professional. Inspired by their visitors' dedication to making the world a better place, the students left the program encouraged and focused on a sustainable future.

Common Ground High School Green Apple Day of Service

This project was supported by Common Ground’s local green building council. However, if you’re feeling inspired to create your own "speed-greening" project and can’t find local professionals through your USGBC community, then check out Nepris to connect your students with sustainability professionals remotely.

Start thinking of how you’re going to make an impact at your own school this year with Green Apple Day of Service, and keep an eye out for more Green Apple updates.

See more Green Apple project ideas