Green Apple Day of Service Teaches Children the Value of Sustainability
Kent State University’s Office of Sustainability and the Child Development Center partnered to create a Green Apple Day of Service on Sept. 26 where volunteers gathered to construct an eco-friendly playhouse outside the Child Development Center.
Each year, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) asks local schools to submit proposals stating how they could use funding to support a service project centered on the environment.
According to the website of the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council “The Green Apple Day of Service inspires volunteers to transform learning environments into safe, engaging and comfortable facilities that enhance kids’ ability to learn and teachers’ ability to teach … Overall the goal is to engage students in learning about conservation and sustainability.”
Kent State received a grant last year from the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council to install a rain barrel and add more plants to the garden outside the Child Development Center, says Melanie Knowles, Kent State’s sustainability manager for Facilities Planning and Operations.
The U.S. Green Building Council selected Kent State as a grant recipient for the second time. This year, the grant funded the creation of a playhouse structured out of bamboo and recycled plastic bottles.
The idea to create an eco-friendly playhouse stemmed from students in a classroom at the Child Development Center. The students had a strong interest in construction, building and sustainability, says Terri Cardy, outdoor educator at the center.
“I think it’s really neat how the Child Development Center incorporates sustainability into its curricula,” Knowles says. “The kids growing up now will learn more about its value. It’s great to pass that knowledge along to a new generation.”
Students collected numerous plastic bottles in a short amount of time, and their parents began constructing the house a year before the grant was awarded. The building process had stopped because volunteers did not have enough funds to support the structure, comments Knowles. Then, they were awarded the grant.
A total of 15 volunteers participated at this year’s Green Apple Day of Service, including members of the Child Development Center and Office of Sustainability staff, as well as their family members and a student from the Construction Management program at Kent State. They helped build a floor, doors and additional walls for the house.
Because volunteers ran out of plastic bottles, the project was not fully completed, but the university plans to create a roof for the house in the near future.
Kent State will apply for the U.S. Green Building Council grant next year, as well, Knowles says.
For more information about the U.S. Green Building Council, visit www.usgbc.org.
For more information about Kent State’s Facilities Planning and Operations, visit www.kent.edu/facilitiesplanning.
For more information about Kent State’s Child Development Center, visit www.kent.edu/ehhs/centers/cdc.