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47 schools earn Earth Flag Awards
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47 schools earn Earth Flag Awards

47 schools earn Earth Flag Awards

WILL COUNTY – Sixteen schools were honored by the Will County Land Use Department at the annual Earth Flag Award ceremony at the Rialto Square Theatre.

     They were welcomed by Will County Executive Larry Walsh, who greeted the students as “leaders of tomorrow.”

He commended them for their hard work and advocated that they keep educating their parents and others.      

     Walsh noted that although not all of them were able to send people to the May 18 event, 47 schools earned the distinction. “That’s huge. Keep up the good work.”

     Joan O’Keefe, the Environmental Educator with the Resource Recovery and Energy Division of the Will County Land Use Department, also reminded the students to continue to share their knowledge about recycling. “People need to be reminded.”

Winning the Trex Plastic Bag Challenge, in which the students collect plastic bags from stores, was Pioneer Path School in Channahon, which collected 1,743 pounds of bags, which broke down to 6.22 pounds per student. It was followed by Frankfort Square School and Peotone Jr. High, in second and third place, respectively.

TREX manufactures decking and outdoor furniture from the used plastic bags, and sponsors a contest each year to see which schools can collect the most plastic bags for recycling.

Schools attending the event were: A. Vito Martinez Middle School, Romeoville; Reed Custer Middle School, Braidwood; Elwood Elementary School, Elwood; Kenneth L. Hermansen Elementary School, Romeoville; Frankfort Square Elementary School, Frankfort; Pioneer Path School, Channahon; Richland Grade School, Crest Hill, St. Mary Nativity School, Joliet;

Also, Laraway Elementary School, Joliet; Hufford Junior High School, Joliet; Arlene Welch Elementary, Naperville; Melvin J. Larson Educational Center, Joliet; Union Elementary School, Joliet; Holy Family School, Shorewood; Lockport High School, Lockport; and John R. Tibbot Elementary School, Bolingbrook.

Winners who were unable to attend were: Carl Sandburg Elementary, Joliet; Arbury Hills Elementary School, Mokena; Ludwig Elementary School, Lockport; Walker Intermediate School, Tinley Park; Irene King Elementary School, Romeoville; Lakewood Falls Elementary School, Plainfield; St. Joseph School, Lockport; Bolingbrook High School, Bolingbrook; Chelsea Intermediate School, Frankfort; William B. Orenic Intermediate School, Plainfield;

And St. Rose School, Wilmington; Eagle Pointe Elementary, Plainfield; Anna McDonald Elementary School, Manhattan; Furquun Academy, Bolingbrook; Liberty Elementary School, Bolingbrook; Aux Sable Middle School, Joliet; Spencer Crossing Intermediate School, New Lenox; Arnold J. Tyler School, New Lenox; Haines Elementary School, New Lenox; Lincoln-Way Central High School; New Lenox;

Also, Kelvin Grove Junior High, Lockport; Milne Grove Elementary School, Lockport; William J. Butler School, Homer Glen; Taft Elementary School, Joliet; Central Elementary School, Plainfield; Marycrest Early Childhood, Joliet; Apple Tree Pre-School, Plainfield; Peotone Junior High, Peotone; KLA Pre-school, Plainfield; Victor Andrew High, Tinley Park; and Jerling Junior High, Orland Park.


To earn the award, a school must complete four “Earth friendly” tasks each year. Schools must discourage paper waste by enacting a “use both sides” policy for teachers and students.  They must also recycle used paper and at least one additional material such as cans, printer cartridges, batteries or plastics. Optional tasks include starting an environmental club, composting organic food scraps, or cutting energy use in school buildings.  Next school year, schools can explore new ways to reduce lunch waste through procurement and waste disposal.  

Additional information about the Will County Land Use Department and its activities can be found at www.willcountygreen.com. The department is led by Director Curt Paddock and is under County Executive Larry Walsh’s office.

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