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GreenPEAS – First meeting of the year – Friday, November 6th!!!‏

NEXT MEETING DATE: Friday, November 6th @ 9AM

GREEN-tings fellow PEAS, it’s been awhile.  I don’t know about you, but it’s taken me a long time to get back in the swing of school and the myriad of activities that fall brings.  With winter weather now knocking at our doors, I hope this note finds you all warm, well and ready to get back into the school to do some good (green) work.

First things first, the long awaited minutes from our last meeting held, yikes…. in June (yeah, I’m talking four months ago).

MINUTES and follow-up from June 17th meeting
Attendees – Jenni, Angela, Jenn, Ashli, and Corey

Healthy Eating
Corey and Kelly Bednarik volunteered at the last “Healthy Eating” event in May (Project Sprout radishes and donated watermelon from Guidos).  Very cute idea – someone dressed up as “Herb the Vegeterian Dragon”, kids loved the fresh produce.  Project Sprout volunteers walked around with buckets to collect watermelon rinds (compost) for awhile.  It was a nice time, but not enough volunteers and very harried at times.  Generally, this is a great idea, just not sustainable in current format.  The Healthy Eating team is aware of this and is working on it.  In addition, Angela and Corey have been charged with following up with Mary Jo Erickson.  We have asked to be copied on Healthy Eating Network correspondence and in turn, we are including MaryJo on our email distribution list.

Some of our initial thoughts:
(1) get the produce out of the cafeteria and into the classrooms.  Incorporate prep (by children & paras) into school day.  Have things ready to be served at snack-time.
in addition to serving produce, reexamine some of the food choices currently being offered to purchase.  Can we remove some of the sugary drink choices, yogurts, ice creams, etc. and find other products to offer in their place?

At the May meeting, it was discussed that “composting” was an area that we would like to push for the new school year.  Chris Shelton & Julia were going to put together a list of items that would be needed, things to consider, as well as begin to contact CSAs (farm to school) connection and also try to talk with Amy Cotler to start a relationship and link into her efforts.  No update on this front as both Chris and Julia were not able to attend the June meeting.  Some key questions: training? materials needed?  Kathy S. buy-in? logistics?

Also to note that this would be a great lesson to bring into the classrooms for interdiscplinary learning – esp. science & math

Given our proximity to and relationship with the Project Sprout garden (not to mention other local farms), it seems almost silly to not capitalize on our situation.  As such, I am attaching links to other farm to school websites for more brainstorming and ideas:

Article on Farm-to-School programs:

Pig Roast
Jenn went to the pig roast (held by and for Project Sprout) and said that it was well attended (approx 350 people) and went smoothly.  Oink.  Oink.

Dig It!
The spring afterschool program ran by Georgia and Angela was a HUGE success.  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!

At our June meeting, we were still working with building administrators to get the anti-idling sign re-posted as well as beginning to examine how and where we might be able to bring this into the classroom curriculum (science, art, etc).  Given the new afternoon pickup routine (which has eliminated the curb-side option), I believe a lot of the idling concerns have been addressed.  We should discuss next steps on this front.

ChicoBags & Lightbulbs

Both items have been well received but we still have plenty.  Lets figure out how and when to get the rest of these sold and out into the community!!

“YES” stands for Youth Environmental Summit (collaborative effort made up of Flying Cloud, Berkshire Environmental Educators Network, Berkshire Bank Foundation’s Berkshire Environmental School Teams).  The last summit was held this past spring and brought more than 200 local school children together to talk about the care and nurturing of this planet.  I am still unclear as to whether or not Muddy Brook had a presence at this event, but I want to ensure that we are involved in this organization going forward.  This summit highlighted the wonderful organizations already in place and our need to plug into the great work that is already being done.  As such, I have started a list of local groups or contacts and want to assign GreenPEAS members to each organization/person.  I think this will be key in our outreach efforts and serve as a great way to capitalize on all of the incredible things going on around us!

Needed contact assignments:
Muddy Brook Food Services – Kathy Sullivan
Healthy Eating Committee Reps – MaryJo Erickson & Susan Bronson
MB Phys Ed & Health Reps – Kristin Flynn and Jessica Wilcox
K Kids – Kathy Finkle
Berkshire Grown – Amy Cotler
Green Barrington – Deb Philips
Project Sprout – Mike Powell
CET – Cynthia Grippaldi

are there others???

2009 was a big year for us.  As a newly formed group, we were able to attract an amazing group of volunteers and subsequently cover a lot of ground and initiate many changes….more people using reusable bags and compact flourescent lightbulbs, recirculating outerwear and sportsgear, getting 60+ kids into the garden for a few months, helping to make sure some project sprout veggies made their way into our children’s meals (ask your kids about the soup), working to reduce the amount of paper coming home (long live email newsletters!!), minimizing idling at pickup, etc.  Awareness is being raised and behaviors are changing.  How exciting and rewarding!  Please bring your ideas and enthusiasm to our next meeting and let’s see what we can get done in year #2!

Without knowing everyone schedules, I would like to throw out a first meeting date and time of FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 6th at 9:00am.  I will look into the possibility of us using the “community room” at Muddy Brook, so for now, location is TBD.  From there, we can talk about frequency of meetings as well and days and times.  If you cannot make it, but are interested in attending future meetings, please be sure to email me so I can include your request in our planning.