JOLIET – Students from 15 schools celebrated the planet and their roles in protecting it at the annual Earth Flag Awards at Rialto Square Theater.
The awards are sponsored by the Will County Land Use Department’s Resource Recovery and Energy Division. This year 50 schools earned the designation.
Students were welcomed by Will County Executive Larry Walsh, who told the students how proud he was of them for taking care of “our home” through the activities which they completed.
“Right now, from what I have seen, you all deserve 100,” he declared to the cheering students.
Joan O’Keefe, the county’s Environmental Educator, and colleague Tim Anderson presented the awards on May 10. To qualify, a school must complete four of 13 qualified Earth Tasks, two of which must be recycling at least two materials, and inviting O’Keefe to speak with one grade level or club.
Other tasks include such things are collecting shoes, clothing or books and deliver them to one of the county’s spring collection events, composting, performing at least two waste-free lunch days and planting trees or gardens at school.
Schools recognized at this year’s event were: A. Vito Martinez Middle School, Romeoville; Arlene Welch, Naperville; Kenneth L. Hermansen, Romeoville; Irene King, Romeoville; Carl Sandburg Elementary, Joliet; Reed Custer Middle School, Braidwood; Joliet Montessori, Crest Hill; Laraway Elementary, Joliet;
Also, Holy Family, Shorewood; Richland Elementary, Crest Hill; Hufford Junior High, Joliet; Oak Valley, Joliet; Elwood School, Elwood; Minooka Intermediate, Minooka; and Lincoln Elementary, Plainfield.
Schools which earned the designation but did not attend the celebration were: Milne Grove Elementary, Lockport; Peotone Junior High, Peotone; William B. Orenic Intermediate, Plainfield; St. Mary Nativity, Joliet; Victor J. Andrew High, Tinley Park; Spencer Pointe, New Lenox; Taft Elementary, Joliet; Arnold J. Tyler, New Lenox; Kelvin Grove Junior High, Lockport;
Also, Walker Intermediate, Tinley Park; Mary Crest Early Childhood, Joliet; William J. Butler, Lockport; Chelsea Elementary, Frankfort; Central Elementary, Plainfield; Thomas Jefferson, Plainfield; Eagle Pointe, Plainfield; Apple Tree Preschool, Plainfield; Bolingbrook High School, Bolingbrook;
And, Spencer Crossing, New Lenox; Reed Custer Intermediate, Braidwood; Liberty Elementary, Plainfield; Anna McDonald, Manhattan; Frankfort Square, Frankfort; St. Rose School, Wilmington; Arbury Hills, Mokena; Central Elementary, Plainfield;
And, Oak View, Bolingbrook; Haines Elementary, New Lenox; KLA Schools, Plainfield; Pioneer Path, Channahon; Walsh Elementary, Lockport; Freedom Elementary, Plainfield; Ludwig Elementary, Lockport; John R. Tibbott, Bolingbrook; and Saint Mary Immaculate, Plainfield.
For the first time, there was a tie for the TREX Plastic Bag Challenge, which is calculated on a per student basis. Lincoln Elementary of Plainfield and Peotone collected the most bags, which the Trex company then turns into outdoor furniture. Lincoln Elementary, with 800 students, recycled 2,976 pounds of plastic bags and Peotone Junior High, with 342 students, collected 1,414 pounds.
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 Walsh’s office.
For additional photos, go to www.willcountyillinois.com.