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GreenPEAS Meeting ~ 03/11/09

Last meeting date: Wednesday, March 11th
Meeting attendees: Jenn Mack, Suzie Schroeder, Julia Erickson, Angela Vuagniaux, Corey Sprague

NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, April 8th, 9AM @ Suzie’s house in Housatonic

Topics Discussed:
(1) Healthy Eating Committee
(2) Anti-Idling Campaign
(3) ChicoBag Fundraiser
(4) Winter-wear/Sportsgear Swap
(5) Project Sprout Co-curricular

Topic details, including updates since 3/11 meeting:

(1) Healthy Eating Committee
Angela and Suzie attended a meeting held by the “Healthy Eating Committee”, now known as the “Nutritional Task Force”.  This group has received a grant from the Berkshire Taconic Fund and is now looking for additional money from the Muddy Brook Community, in hopes to raise funds to put towards the purchase of several food-service items (ice maker, juicer, etc.) that will allow for a variety of new food options in the cafeteria.  They have already put in a request to purchase a salad-bar station.  That said, it seems that the purchase of these items (raising money and getting approval) is just the tip of the iceberg.  There are huge logistical challenges (staffing, training, re-education, health codes, etc.) which will need to be navigated before a successful implementation.  GreenPEAS is committed to helping the Healthy Eating Committee with specific tasks (Cathy – I think we have one or two volunteers that would go thru training and give time for food-prep and serving), but also want to stay focused on our other initiatives and remain our own entity.

(2) Anti-Idling Campaign
According to Steve Soule, a Business Administrator for BHRSD, anti-idling is on the district’s “radar screen”.  He is currently working on a district-wide solution with the Building and Grounds Committee.  While I do not think this prevents us from moving forward on our own work, it does point out the need to work in conjunction with the school’s efforts.  That said, I have an email into the Lenox Board to find out more on their “Idle-Free” campaign and I still think our newsletter tip for April should be centered around this topic (Julia – do you want to work on this?).  We should still plan on talking with Mr. Weber, and the Muddy Brook students, about their involvement in “graphic representation” of the campaign, but it should probably wait until the district has gotten further along in this regard.  Thoughts?

(3) ChicoBag Fundraiser
ChicoBags are great reusable, machine-washable shopping bags.  They are also collapsible and small enough to fit into a pocket.  While we continue to work on a co-branded version (a “Muddy Brook” bag), we will start out with an small initial order of generic ChicoBags in various colors and sizes (the small bag fits 25 lbs, the large fits 50 lbs). They will retail from $5 – $9, with 50% of the purchase price going back into the PTA/GreenPEAS fund.  We envision the bags being available for purchase at the front desk, the upcoming bookfair, and other PTA sponsored-events.

(4) Winter-wear/Sportsgear Swap – “New2Me”
Based on feedback from the group and approval from the PTA, we have decided to move ahead with a winter-wear swap.  This will be a first pass, so that we can refine and improve for an even bigger event next fall.  Julia and Corey are taking the lead on organizing but will need LOTS of help as the date nears.  Julia is going to pick a day in April, preferably before April vacation.  Current plans are to hold it one day after school – which will make the “day of” planning and set-up harder, but will also most likely guarantee a bigger crowd.  This is not set in stone, so if you have a view, please feel free to share.  Once a date is set, we will open up donations from families for one week prior to event.  Requested items will include: winter coats, snow gear, rain gear, boots, long underwear, gloves, mittens, etc.  Also up for swap will be sporting gear (most focused on spring sports – cleats, baseball pants, soccer shorts, etc.).  Hopefully, we will be able to secure tables and racks to create some semblance and order (Corey has call into Alison Rada at CHP who organizes the Children’s Attic event…any other ideas of where to look for racks & hangers?).  Also, we are planning on having some ChicoBags (see above) available for purchase, for people to cart away their “new” gear.  We are going to need A LOT of help on this one, so please get back to me if you are willing to donate some time, ideas, help in terms of sorting, swapping, securing racks, hangers, etc.

(5) Project Sprout Co-curricular – “Lil’ Sprouts”

Mrs. Hardie was very open to the idea of having a co-curricular program that included Project Sprouts.  As such, Angela and Georgia have put in a proposal for a wonderful afterschool program in the garden.  This will be a weekly class with the kids working alongside the Project Sprout volunteers.  Details to follow once the class has been approved.  Yayyyyy!!!


(6) Lightbulbs
I would still like to further research doing a compact florescent lightbulb fundraiser.  One was recently done at MMHS and Jenn is currently following up with Mike Powell for details.  In the meantime, I also have a phone call into National Grid to find out if they would be willing to do a program with us  (NSTAR, a utility company which services eastern Massachusetts recently conducted a “Free Bulb Program” fundraiser which benefited several schools).  Unrelated to lightbulbs, but on the topic of fundraising, I found out about another cute “green” item which might be fun to sell.  I believe they are currently selling these pencils at the Middle School and I know they are a big hit (at least in my household. Let me know your thoughts.

(7) K-Kids
K-Kids is a Kiwanis sponsored group providing opportunities for kids to “work together in service to school and community”.  We have a group at Muddy Brook headed up by Cathy Finkle.  It would be great if someone could go to their next meeting – March 26th @ 3:30pm.  At the least, maybe someone could offer to stay in regular contact with Cathy Finkle to stay keyed-in (HA – get it?) to their efforts.  Anyone?  Anyone?

(8) EarthDay
We didn’t talk about this at our last meeting, but Earth Day is quickly approaching (Sunday, April 22nd).  In searching for info, I found a great site listed below: and I’m sure there are others great ideas out there as well.  It would certainly be a great opportunity to do something as a school.  A perfect starting point would be a conversation with Denise to see if there is already something underway.  Any takers?

Additional tasks working on for next meeting:
Discuss “idling” with Great Barrington planning board
Research other school’s best practices in relation to food services (i.e., menus, schedules, composting/recycling efforts, etc.)
Budgets for cafeteria purchasing to do proper cost/ben analysis of substitution of “green” products.
What is “Green Barrington” doing?  Is there any cross-over with GreenPEAS?  Research needed.

Backburner topics:
GreenPEAS logo
Co-op enrichment for parents (planning)
GreenPEAS (and Muddy Brook in general) PR

Hope to see you all at Suzie’s on Wednesday, April 8th @ 9AM!!!