Volunteers across the globe participate in USGBC’s Green Apple Day of Service, school enhancements benefit millions of students

Published on: 
Monday, September 28, 2015
Aline Peterson

More than 4,600 projects, events and commitments with hundreds of thousands of volunteers globally, 
make environmental improvements in schools and communities

Washington, DC – (Sept. 28, 2015) – Volunteers came together in schools and communities across the globe on Saturday, September 26 for the Green Apple Day of Service, an initiative of the Center for Green Schools at USGBC. Students, teachers, parents, elected officials, organizations and companies participated in 4,682 projects across all 50 states and in 31 countries throughout the world to enhance the environments of their local schools.

The annual Green Apple Day of Service, now in its fourth year, presents an opportunity for communities to make a real difference in schools, helping to make improvements with the goal of creating healthier, safer, cost-efficient and productive learning places. The sustainability projects range from infrastructure to operations, while moving schools toward meaningful cost savings over time.

Since 2012, the Green Apple Day of Service has mobilized more than 675,000 volunteers in more than 10,000 projects, taking place in 73 countries. Committed to healthy, safe and efficient learning places, these volunteers have impacted the learning environments of over seven million students. 

“At the Center for Green Schools, we are proud of the dedication, passion and imagination of the committed volunteers who came together to host Green Apple Day of Service projects this year,” said Rachel Gutter, director of the Center for Green Schools at USGBC. “For the past four years, thousands of community leaders have participated in the Day of Service, affirming that maintaining safe, healthy and sustainable schools for our children remains a priority. The Green Apple Day of Service is more than a service learning opportunity, more than a grassroots movement, more than a nod to the importance of sustainability; it is a declaration by thousands of people that where we learn matters.”

Many schools today are facing obstacles that stand in the way of promoting health and wellness in classrooms and common spaces. Inefficient, unhealthy and risky infrastructure contributes to problems as pervasive and diverse as childhood asthma to headaches to ongoing concentration issues. The Green Apple Day of Service presents an opportunity to address many of these issues and to transform our schools into healthy, vibrant places to live, learn, work and play while teaching valuable lessons and cultivating the next generation of global sustainability leaders.

This year’s Day of Service featured a flagship event in Washington, D.C., where community members, teachers, school administrators, parents and students came together with USGBC staff to make significant improvements to the grounds of Leckie Elementary, a preK-6 school in the southwest quadrant of the city, very near to Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, a 905-acre military installment for both active duty Navy and Air Force personnel where Leckie draws between 30 and 40 percent of its students.

The school, which expanded this year to include sixth grade, is utilizing modular classrooms to accommodate the additional students. Projects undertaken by Day of Service volunteers at the event included construction of 17 new planter boxes to place around the exterior of the modular addition, updating existing planter boxes and construction of an insect habitat. Students were invited to engage in an art project, illustrating what “green” means to them. Their artwork will be displayed at the 2015 Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, the world’s largest green building conference, taking place Nov. 18-20 at the Washington Convention Center.

Cities and communities across the country and around the world were active in Green Apple service events: In Florida, at Wynnebrook Elementary School in West Palm Beach, students and their families participated in a campus clean up and beautification day. They added pollinator friendly plants to existing landscaping, and evaluated the site for possible future outdoor classroom opportunities.

In California, at the Leonardo da Vinci School in Sacramento, the community gathered together to seal the school’s aquaponic stations and to prepare existing garden beds for fall planting. The school also displayed work by local fine artist Milton Bowen highlighting themes of sustainability.

In Georgia, Agnes Scott College students combined the Green Apple Day with a hundred-year-old tradition known as Black Cat. During this week-long campus festival students will work with a local farm that provides farmland for refugees in Atlanta, showing how campus tradition and sustainability go hand in hand.

In India, two teenagers are leading an effort to reach more than 200 schools across the country, challenging students and teachers to form project teams and plan local events. By driving participation through social media, and collecting photos and short essays, they have already received more than 100 commitments across India. 

For more information on the Green Apple Day of Service, please visit greenapple.org.


What the Green Apple Day of Service means to USGBC staff

Published on: 
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Aline Althen

With just one more day to go until the fourth annual Green Apple Day of Service, we decided it would be good to reflect, personally, on what this occasion and movement has come to mean to us as staff members of USGBC.

The first person to volunteer her thoughts was Suzi Warren. Suzi is a Community Advancement Associate with USGBC’s National Capital Region and has a special history with the Green Apple Day of Service, having worked as a capacity organizer for the 2014 Day of Service. Here’s what she had to say:

The Center for Green Schools, the entity behind the Green Apple Day of Service, plans a service day of their own each year, and last year I had the privilege of attending this event. At the time, I was working for The Center doing outreach across the United States, encouraging volunteers to participate in this global movement. I had spent hours on the phone with strangers across the country explaining the event to those unfamiliar with it and encouraging them to get involved by planning an event of their own. I became intimately familiar with the Green Apple Day of Service before I had even attended an event of my own. 

When September 27, 2014 finally came around, I couldn’t believe that all the work we had done all summer was finally accumulating in a single day of service. I was excited to celebrate this occasion at our own service project and ready for the reward of all the hard work that had gone into planning not just this event, but the events all over the country. After several hours of planting, painting and workshops with local students, our team finally wrapped up the 2014 season of Green Apple Day of Service knowing we had made a difference in Washington, DC and around the world.  

It was at this point in the day when it hit me that all of the hard work we poured into Tubman Elementary School to make it a better, healthier and safer place for the students to work and play was not the full extent of the impact that day. Projects just like ours, and projects very unlike ours, had taken place all over the world. The magnitude of the impact of being part of a global movement had taken me by surprise and I truly felt it. Something about knowing you participated in a day that reached thousands of students across the globe really brings on those warm and fuzzy feelings. 

I have since transitioned to work for the USGBC National Capital Region and am on the other side of the table this year, ensuring NCR is represented on the map with service projects of our own. I feel a sense of ownership and pride knowing our amazing volunteers are working tirelessly to create several impactful Green Apple Day of Service projects. I am also mentoring a local Girl Scout who is executing a Green Apple Day of Service project in her community, through the Bringing Up Girls program. It is so inspiring to see the hope in her eyes and see her eagerness to make a difference formulate in a tangible service project.

Green Apple Day of Service has meant many things to me through my various forms of involvement, and each of them have made me feel closer to my community. There is a real sense of pride in knowing you are part of a larger movement all coming together on one day to really impact our future—our students. 

Next, Whitney Terrill, Credentialing Specialist with our LEED team, offered up her thoughts on the Green Apple Day of Service:

Green Apple Day of Service is such a great opportunity to give to our schools—some of the most inspirational and transformative institutions in our societies. As a USGBC staff person, this annual day of service truly brings me so much fulfillment and joy. I find it so grounded in USGBC’s mission—the part that is really about transforming generations of people.

Roger Platt, President of USGBC, also shared his feelings on the Green Apple Day of Service:

For me, Green Apple Day of Service has been personal. Whether I was dumpster diving at the middle school near my own home in Washington to help with the auditing of the recycling program, planting trees at a school on Capitol Hill or meeting new friends of the earth from as close as DC and as far away as West Africa, I felt rooted to my home. And that is what Green Schools are all about: a place near home that makes room for learning and also for God’s gift of nature in all its fragile beauty.  

Finally, I’ll add my own thoughts on the Day of Service. I started working for USGBC just about one year ago, a few days prior to the 2014 Green Apple Day of Service. I participated in the flagship event at Tubman Elementary School, painting walls and relocating plants. For me, it was eye-opening to see so many of my new colleagues coming together on a weekend to really practice what they preach. While literally getting their hands dirty for the cause, there was a sense of energy and joy that was palpable. Even though I was brand-new, I felt part of a community of caring individuals.

At its heart, I think that is what the Green Apple Day of Service is all about: cultivating community and a sense of shared responsibility, accomplishment, investment and improvement. It’s been a year and I feel truly privileged to continue to be a part of this movement, to make thousands of schools better, brighter, healthier and happier places to live, learn, work and play. Because of my hands-on experience with the Green Apple Day of Service, I have seen for myself and truly believe that where we learn matters.

What if? Inspiration for service learning opportunities

Published on: 
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Steph Leonard

During the economic downturn, as business slowed, one company in Minnesota looked around and asked “what if?”

What if, in the face of uncertainty, we plant a garden within the abundance of green space at our corporate headquarters and donate the food to those in need in our community? Retail Construction Services, Inc. put that question into action and the Giving Garden was planted in 2009. RCS made their first donation of food to Valley Outreach Food Shelf in Stillwater, MN that July. Now a thriving part of their organization, the Giving Garden provides an opportunity for employees to give back, get fresh air, and connect with each other ultimately boosting employee satisfaction, and in turn, output - giving an unexpected jolt to business.

Beaming from the success of the garden, RCS Staff asked themselves how do we do more? The Giving Garden is now used as a full circle teaching tool; involving the children from across the St. Croix Valley. In the garden, kids learn about gardening and make a connection to our world by learning about where their food comes from, its impact on everything from fossil fuels to the collapse of the honey bee. Children learn valuable lessons about water conservation, food storage, harvesting seeds, and composting.  Above all, they experience first-hand the spirit of giving and community service. To date, the Giving Garden has donated almost 17,000 pounds of food and added a teaching kitchen to Valley Outreach Food Shelf to help community members have access to a facility for cooking lessons that promote the use of fresh produce

Impassioned by the students they’ve met while working in the garden RCS is continuing to grow the movement. “Every child has the right to know where their food comes from and how to grow it. Teach a man to fish… How about teach a child to garden?” says Joni Fletty, COO/VP Operations at RCS.

Joni remembers a day several years ago, when a struggling student from a local alternative school didn’t have any interest in stepping over the garden fence to join his classmates. He stayed just beyond the gardens edge, stoic. For several weeks he remained on the sidelines.  More and more the other kids opened up in the garden and began joking and sharing stories while they worked. One day a group of students were joking around about different foods, it sparked his attention, and soon he stepped over the fence and was unwittingly harvesting and sharing laughs alongside his classmates. From that day on he was one of the garden’s hardest workers, mentoring other younger students, and even calling Joni to ask to harvest for extra credit one day. Joni decided to join in him the garden that day. They worked and talked as they harvested. He told Joni that working in the garden had made a big difference in his life. A few years later, Joni received an update on this young man, and learned that he’s thriving.

Wanting to reach more students with hands-on learning and to inspire others, RCS has not only implemented youth lessons in the garden three days a week during the summer, but has partnered with USGBC-MN for the 2015 Green Apple Day of Service. Together they’re asking others - what if? What if local companies joined the effort and helped host a series of events featuring youth in service to our earth? What would the students learn from the hands-on service? What would the companies gain from the community involvement? What if you participated? What kind of difference could you make? 

We’re making it easy to get involved. Visit USGBC-MN’s Green Apple Day of Service page to learn how you can sponsor a gardening lesson for local students. 

Register your Green Apple Day of Service project now!


Energy Focus brings a new light to schools through Green Apple partnership

Published on: 
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Josh Lasky

USGBC is proud to welcome Energy Focus as our newest Green Apple Partner. Energy Focus, a leading provider of energy efficient LED lighting products and technology, is committed to transforming the places where our students learn.

“We believe that making our schools healthier and more efficient is more than just an opportunity—it’s a responsibility,” said Eric Hilliard, President and Chief Operating Officer of Energy Focus. “Our team is excited to actively support the incredible work of the Center for Green Schools to provide green schools for all students within this generation.” As part of their commitment to the partnership, Energy Focus will donate 2.5 cents for every tubular LED product sold, which will carry the Green Apple mark, to support the work of the Center for Green Schools to create healthier, safer, more sustainable learning environments.

Hitting the ground running as a Green Apple Partner, Energy Focus has set an ambitious goal for this year’s Green Apple Day of Service. The company’s passion for better lighting in schools led them to create the “Change a Light, Change a Life” initiative, through which Energy Focus will donate, free of charge, LED lighting for 50 special needs classrooms in 50 schools across the metro New York City and tri-state area. In addition to transforming learning environments, Energy Focus hopes to increase education about the role that lighting can play improving health and well-being for students and teachers. To learn more about the “Change a Light, Change a Life” initiative, click here.

Energy Focus brings longstanding commitments to sustainability along with a history of high-impact partnerships, having created energy efficient LED lighting systems for the U.S. Navy fleet.

“We are proud to welcome Energy Focus as our latest Green Apple Partner. Like the Center for Green Schools, Energy Focus understands that where our children learn matters,” said Rachel Gutter, USGBC's Senior Vice President of Knowledge and the Director of the Center for Green Schools. “We very much look forward to working together to transform our schools into healthy, efficient and productive learning environments."

Finding resources for your Green Apple Day of Service

Published on: 
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Joe Nelson

While plenty of Green Apple Day of Service projects can be low- or no-cost endeavors, some of your ideas may take a little more than elbow grease to accomplish. Inspired by Brady Barkdull from the USGBC Wyoming Chapter, who is using a crowdfunding campaign to support his 2015 Green Apple Day of Service project (check out his campaign for a recycling program at Victor Elementary School in Victor, Idaho), we’ve gathered several creative project financing ideas so that you too can make your project dreams a reality. Here are just a few ways you can find the financial support you are looking for:

  • Crowdfunding – By accessing a large number of people online, even very small individual donations add up quickly. Find more information here about the different crowdfunding sites that exist.
  • Large donation of in-kind materials – Talk with local hardware stores about Green Apple Day of Service and the project you are trying to do to help your local school. Find a time when you can visit to share more information about the specific materials (have all of this information ready!) that would help make your project a success.
  • Crowdfunded donations of in-kind materials – Create a detailed list of materials and tools that you will need in order to get your project done and see if you can get each person in your network to lend you a tool or give a supply item. Follow up with emails to everyone as your list gets shorter!
  • Set up a revolving fund with your school – If your project has a return period, see if your school can pledge a small amount of money up front knowing that it will pay for itself over time. Come up with plans for future projects to continue paying for themselves and you may be able to work with more money each successive year.
  • Your city or town officials – Talk to local officials as early as you can about the idea you have and what you need to get it done. There may be some discretionary funding in their budget to support at least part of the effort – plus, public schools are public facilities that need to be maintained. Who knows, maybe they will show up and pour in a few volunteer hours of their own!
  • Make your efforts visible to the community – If your local stores are unable to donate any materials directly, ask for time and space outside of a store’s entrance for students to talk to incoming shoppers about the project. Draft a pitch for the students to effectively talk about the goal of the project and what materials, specifically, are needed. You may find that people will decide to buy an extra item for your project while they do the rest of their shopping and donate it on the way out. Be sure to invite also invite the store managers to come volunteer at your final event.
  • Combine multiple strategies! – Most of these strategies do not need to be used in isolation. Determine which could help and find other volunteers to activate as many of these strategies as you can to make sure you have everything you need for a wildly successful Green Apple Day of Service event!

Remember to spread the word wide and far. The more people that know about your project and what you need, the better your chances of finding someone who wants to get involved. Ask your own network (especially the other volunteers and supporters) to reach out to their networks. Soon, the whole community will know and you will succeed.

Finally, follow-up is extremely important. Don’t forget to return the stuff that was only meant to be on loan, thank everyone sincerely and often, and keep them engaged in the effort by sharing before and after photos.

What are you doing for Green Apple Day of Service? Let us know your plans, and other creative fundraising ideas, in the comments! 

The Green Apple Day of Service: An especially valuable endeavor

Published on: 
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Joe Nelson

We can all agree that north of 300,000 volunteers actively contributing to healthy, safe, efficient, and productive learning environments is a tremendous benefit to the green schools movement. Each participant brings additional strength to the effort.

However, it is often overlooked that participation also has tremendous value for the students who decide to roll up their sleeves and dig in. Here are some of the ways Green Apple Day of Service is an especially valuable endeavor for you whether you’re currently a student, or just want to support the green schools effort:

  1. Experience: Whether your school is trying to create a new garden, paint walls with low-VOC paint, start a recycling program, or perform an energy audit, your involvement allows you to learn valuable skills. Taking a few hours to learn about any one of these projects, or others, is a wise investment of time.
  2. Understanding: Your participation gives you the opportunity to observe complexity in the greater issues of sustainability and education. You can witness change and progress while coming to recognize opportunity to improve the world around you, articulate why it matters, and identify how to start. That alone is powerful.
  3. Initiative: Infuse your life with action. Your participation exhibits that you are not only smart enough to see an opportunity, but that you are proactive and willing to put your efforts toward creating a transformation.
  4. Social Responsibility: With the challenges facing younger generations becoming more complex,demonstrated commitment to public service is important for development as a valued community member and global citizen. You will also find that this work is fulfilling and fun!
  5. Leadership: Organizing an event gives you the opportunity to empower others and create an impact larger than any individual can make on their own. Through Green Apple Day of Service, you can put into practice a highly sought after skill that will continue to provide you with opportunities throughout your career.

More than ever before, colleges and employers are looking for people who demonstrate—not just talk about—experience, understanding, initiative, social responsibility and leadership. These are the essential tools needed to address our greatest challenges, and the characteristics embodied by the most productive and responsible leaders today.

So why not start proving this now? The movement has already begun, opportunities exist, and the need is as great. Find a project near you or set free your own passions and address a need at a school you love by registering your own event.

You can do it. We are here to provide support and your community is waiting for you.

Learn more about the Green Apple Day of Service

USGBC celebrates World Green Building Week with Green Apple Day of Service

Published on: 
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Julia Pergolini

The World Green Building Council’s World Green Building Week is in full swing, celebrating the efforts of Green Building Councils (GBCs) from 100 countries around the world, which in turn represent more than 27,000 organizations.

From Sept. 21-27, 2015, GBCs are taking part in events that encourage people to take direct action and make an environmental difference in their communities. This year’s theme, “Powering Positive Change,” reflects our shared mission to create sustainable built environments and encourages us to find ways of sharing our many diverse, impactful stories.

Celebrate through Green Apple Day of Service

USGBC recognizes the importance of taking direct and immediate action to implement positive change, which is why we are celebrating World Green Building Week by participating in Green Apple Days of Service across the United States, all leading up to the official Green Apple Day of Service next Saturday, Sept. 27.

Now in its fourth year, the Day of Service gives parents, teachers, students, local organizations and businesses the opportunity to transform schools into healthy, safe and productive learning environments through local service projects.

There are thousands of Green Apple Day of Service projects taking place this month, and you can join us by volunteering or registering for one this week or any day of the year. There’s no better time than “right now” to implement positive change.

Don't forget to share your World Green Building Week photos, stories and more on social media using the hashtag #WGBweek. Feel free to join the discussions around Green Apple Day of Service using the hashtag #GreenAppleDay. Let’s celebrate empowerment, sustainability and change together.

Green Sports Alliance assembles a winning team for Green Apple Day of Service

Published on: 
Monday, August 17, 2015
Josh Lasky

On Sunday, June 28, the Green Sports Alliance launched their 2015 Summit in Chicago with a special Green Apple Day of Service project co-presented by Connor Sports with partners Chicago Public Schools, HOK, Skanska, Excel Dryer, USGBC-Illinois, and the Center for Green Schools at USGBC.

“The Green Sports Alliance is committed to promoting healthy, sustainable communities where we live and play,” said Scott Jenkins, Board Chair of the Green Sports Alliance and Stadium General Manager of AMB Sports & Entertainment Group. “We are excited to support the Center for Green Schools at USGBC’s Green Apple initiative and host local community school volunteer projects in association with our annual Green Sports Alliance Summit. We are striving to advance healthier, higher performing and more economical schools by leveraging the cultural influence of sports. “

Volunteers came together at Robert Healy Elementary School to provide upgrades to the schoolyard and school building façade. By the end of the day, the group of nearly 100 volunteers had built and planted raised bed gardens, painted a sports-themed mural, given fresh coats of paint to the school building exterior, and painted lines for a basketball court, two four-square courts, a hopscotch game and a football field.

“It was a long, full day, but all the hard work really paid off,” said Sara Hoversten, director of operations for the Green Sports Alliance. “We are very proud of what we were able to accomplish as a team in such a short period of time. We know the students and the local community will enjoy and make great use of the upgraded schoolyard.”

Learn more about the Green Apple Day of Service

Introducing CoCo & Dean: Green Apple Day of Service inspiration

Published on: 
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Morgan Bulman

With the Center for Green School’s Green Apple Day of Service right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about how your community or classroom can get involved in a local service project to transform schools into healthy, safe and productive learning environments.


USGBC-North Carolina’s very own Emily Scofield offers her first book, CoCo & Dean: Explorers of the World, as inspiration. Scofield’s book provides children with the education and enthusiasm necessary to take on some of the greatest environmental challenges of our time. I interviewed Scofield to learn more and to hear about her Green Apple Day of Service plans.

What inspired you to write CoCo & Dean: Explorers of the World?

ES: When I was growing up, it was my job to collect and crush the family’s aluminum cans.  If I did, I could keep the change from the scrap yard. I understood we were diverting waste from the landfill and that the cans were going into new materials; so, it wasn’t just one and done.

My grandparents lived on 21 acres in my hometown and to me that might as well have been 1000 acres! Being able to roam freely in nature definitely nurtured my appreciation for the natural environment.

Fast forward to my early career, I was an adjunct professor at several colleges in the Charlotte area, teaching courses on issues in science and environmental science, among other things. At the end of a semester, I could see people who came to class with little or no appreciation about how their daily actions impact the environment. But I could also see those who had an understanding and an awareness of these interactions.  Students saw you don’t have to completely overhaul your lifestyle but that you can make modifications to reduce the impact on the planet.

After the birth of my first child, I started jotting down outlines, characters and stories for a children’s fiction book that raises global environmental awareness.

Why is it important to have children’s literature detail the environmental challenges of today?

ES: The void I saw in this genre was big. I feel strongly that children of all ages need to be introduced to environmental issues within and beyond their immediate community. What I have done with CoCo & Dean: Explorers of the World is introduce fun, familiar characters that encounter an environmental issue like eco-impact, waste reduction and plastic trash in the ocean. The message with each story is, “Do not be overwhelmed, but do something” because every positive action contributes to positive change.

How do you envision this book being used in classrooms or for other educational programs?

ES: I worked with several teachers during the proofing of the book. I am grateful for their advice because they really improved the final product. This book is an ideal supplement to environmental lessons for traditional classrooms, homeschool networks, scouts seeking an eco-badge, STEM/Sustainability clubs, and of course USGBC’s green schools outreach! The book contains three short stories with a glossary and sections called ‘Explore Further with CoCo & Dean.’ This section provides discussion points, activities and links to learn more about the environmental issue introduced.

As the Executive Director of the USBGC-NC, do you have any plans for the upcoming Green Apple Day of Service on Sept. 26?

ES: I will be involved in several Green Apple Day of Service projects on and around Sept. 26 and am planning to read “Conquering Rabbit Hill” (the second story in CoCo & Dean: Explorers of the World) and have waste reduction activities and discussions with the students. I think the book is a great tool for the USGBC community and all of our Green Apple volunteers as we look for ways to engage generation green and to assist our teachers.

Do you think you could provide us with a sneak peek of CoCo & Dean’s upcoming adventures?

ES: Absolutely! The second book in the series is already in the works. CoCo & Dean will cover topics of water availability, food supply and energy demands. The second book will also introduce ethnically diverse characters from around the world. Stay tuned! For more information, please visit cocoanddean.com or follow @cocoanddean on Twitter.

This year’s Green Apple Day of Service will take place on Saturday, Sept. 26. Introducing students to books like CoCo & Dean, or 2014’s Willow Watts and the Green Schools Wish, are great ways to participate.

Be sure to check out project ideas, pick up helpful event resources, read about last year's impactfind an event in your area and register your 2015 event today!


Green Apple Day of Service buzz: Bee hotels in Kansas

Published on: 
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Liz Mayes

Green Apple Day of Service project from earlier this year has already gained national attention from the likes of the Washington Post and LA’s National Public Radio for its approach to solving the rapid decline in native bee populations.

Staff at PROSOCO, led by sustainability and environment manager Kay Johnson, partnered with a team of architects at Clark | Huesemann, and researchers from the University of Kansas Biological Survey to combat one of the biggest culprits of native bee loss: loss of habitable space. Unlike honeybees, native bees live in solitude, and normally nest in places like dead logs with beetle holes or hollow plant stems.

A rapid decrease in bee population has garnered recent attention because of the vital role bees play in the food chain. These bees are responsible for pollinating some of our most common fruits and vegetables: apples, peaches, cherries, strawberries, onions, green beans, tomatoes and more. Without native bees, much of the livestock that humans eat would be unable to survive.

For this year’s Green Apple Day of Service, volunteers constructed bee hotels to mimic the naturally occurring tunnels used by bees to lay eggs and nest. Working together with a local Girl Scout troop, they created thousands of tunnels using bamboo, paper, and wood—enough space for a total of about 3,000 bees at a time.

PROSOCO, which produces energy-efficient, minimum-impact products for the construction industry, contributed some of its own building materials to the project. Johnson explained that the bee hotel project was important to the company because of their commitment to sustainability and corporate social responsibility. “We hope to inspire other companies to build their own bee hotels for their local bees,” she said. On how other companies can get involved in the Day of Service, Johnson suggests, “finding what sustainability commitment and corporate responsibility initiative makes the most sense for your company and act on it. Then, tell people about it so they can learn from and be encouraged by your leadership. Every company should have a bee hotel story.”

Bee hotels are not a new idea, but are only recently gaining popularity as an innovative tool to combat the decline in bee population. “Especially in Europe, some of these have been around hundreds of years. So we should have been paying attention,” Johnson points out.

Those who are interested in constructing their own bee hotels can follow an easy set of instructions provided by the National Geographic, or see the group’s bee hotel instructions. Bee hotels are a great way to engage students with the ecosystem that exists right in the schoolyard. Consider this or a whole colony of ideas for Green Apple Day of Service by visiting greenapple.org

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