- Wicomico County Public Schools
WCPS Student Teams At Youth Environmental Action Summit
Students learned from each other and community partners and pitched their own ideas for improving the environment during the March 12 Youth Environmental Action Summit (YEAS) held at the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art.
This summit brought together more than 200 Lower Shore students, teachers, and community leaders together to share ideas and inspiration about ways young people can make positive environmental change on the Eastern Shore. Many students from Wicomico County Public Schools participated by helping organize the summit and by attending, presenting, and leading discussions. Marvin Li, a YEAS Student Ambassador and junior at James M. Bennett High, was honored for his leadership for the 2020 YEA Summit.
Many of these projects and timelines will need to be adjusted given the current circumstances, but here are the proposals and the funding amounts as announced on March 12.
YEA Summit Environmental Action projects from students in Wicomico County Public Schools:
East Salisbury Elementary’s Clean Energy Advocacy (Amira, Jer’Nia, Ayden, Cody, Lanya’)
This project will include a letter writing campaign to local government leaders that encourages them to support clean energy here in Salisbury. This team will also host an Earth Day Celebration for our local community where they highlight opportunities for using clean energy. This project is funded at $557.
East Salisbury Elementary’s Solar Panel and Contest projects (Alexis, Seth, Kenya, Tamara, Alex)
This project will implement a unique student-monitored contest where classrooms will compete to save the most energy. Students will use a model solar panel as a teaching tool to learn about and share with others how different sources of clean energy work. Additionally, these students will write letters to their local representatives to show their interest and support in running their homes and schools on clean energy. This project is funded at $337.
Glen Avenue Elementary’s Pollinator Garden at the Ward Museum (Jeramiah, Pierre, Alex, Juveline, De’Andre)
This project will help to protect wildlife by providing important habitat through a pollinator garden at the Ward Museum. Students will have a special unveiling of this garden during their STREAM End of the Year Party with their parents. This project is funded at $497.
Glen Avenue Elementary’s School Composting (Marcus, Keourah, Juan, Allias, Rhia)
This group plans to implement a pilot project for composting at Glen Avenue Elementary to address some of the food waste issues that they have discovered through multiple investigations. They’ll begin by composting in their afterschool program and will eventually provide recommendations for potentially expanding it across the regular school day. This project is funded at $123.
North Salisbury Elementary’s Retention Pond Rain Garden (Oniver, Lindsey, Arielle, Elijah)
Funded at $371 to install a retention pond rain garden right at North Salisbury Elementary School. The STREAM program will partner with A+ Garden Center to bring this project to life!
North Salisbury Elementary’s Native Garden to Help Animals (Nashka, Meriyah, Elijah, Sylvia, Reshawn).
This project will include creating a garden in the courtyard at North Salisbury Elementary. Students have selected native flowers like Black Eyed Susans and butterfly bush that will also support important pollinators. This project is funded at $344.
Prince Street Elementary’s Share Table (Zion, Jadynn, Celine, Govens, R’Ain)
Students will create the first-ever share table right in their own cafeteria to limit food waste! This project will include creating an informational video about food waste, making posters to hang around the school, and ultimately the students will develop a set of “share table rules” to officially implement the practice. This project is funded at $61.
Prince Street Elementary’s Eat Local initiative (Autumn, Daphline, Gia, Payton, Jayden)
During this project students will make strides towards sourcing their food more locally. They’ll plant a few types of vegetables at school and experiment with ways to integrate this into their meals. These students will also write letters to city officials to share what they have learned about food waste and the local foods movement. This project is funded at $305.
Wicomico Middle School’s Storm Drain Stenciling
After learning about what happens to all of the litter and chemicals that plague our streets and communities, students at Wicomico Middle have decided to take on a tried-and-true project of storm drain stenciling. They’ll mark up 12 storm drains to educate people who visit their school campus. This project is funded at $226.
Jenny Chen’s School Garden at James M. Bennett High School
This effort will collaborate with a previously mentioned garden project. Jenny’s project will not only help to build a garden at JMB, but it will also make an effort to start a gardening club to ensure the sustainability of the effort for years to come. This project is funded at $236.
Simon Lewis (James M. Bennett High): East College Pollinator Corridor
To address the issue of the “insect apocalypse,” this ambitious project will create a pollinator corridor along East College Avenue. By planting carefully selected host plants, this project aims to better support many native insects. Extensive research and thought were put into this proposal. This project is funded at $1,264.
James M. Bennett High School’s White Pine Planting (Hannah, Aisley, Chase, Cole)
This project involves students planting white pine trees in an empty lot next to JMB. The students identified that trees are both an important carbon sink and also provide water storage during heavy precipitation events. This project is funded at $102.
James M. Bennett High School’s Salisbury Park Cleanup (Donovan, Eric, Ryan, Mohammed)
This project will bring together high school students to embark on a cleanup effort of the Salisbury City Park. Students believe that the cleanup will improve the aesthetics of the park and will also be of benefit to the many species of wildlife that call the park home. This project is funded at $159.
James M. Bennett High School’s ELL Community Garden (Elizabeth, Amber, Emma, Courtnee)
This project includes a thoughtful connection between the social and the environmental. English Language Learners from JMB will design and install a small garden that will serve as both a social space and a reminder of their native cultures which value the practice of growing their own food. This project is funded at $182.
James M. Bennett High School’s Color Run (Lindsey, Linsey, Alex)
This innovative project addresses an issue that we don’t always think of as “environmental” but certainly has important connections. These students propose to host a “color run” to inspire their peers and the community to get active and use the outdoors as a space to lead healthy lives. This project is funded at $150.
James M. Bennett High School’s Solar Panel Video (Matt, Simon, Casey, Camper)
This project is a PSA that will educate students and community members about how energy is typically used in households and will call to action ways to limit energy usage as well as opportunities for cleaner energy. This meaningful but inexpensive project is funded at their full request of $22.
James M. Bennett High School’s Invasive Species Campaign (Xavier, Wyatt)
This project will involve a three-step awareness campaign about invasive species on the Eastern Shore, in particular focusing on Japanese Knotweed. Students will use their expertise in web design and social media to get the word out about what locals can do to address this issue that impacts biodiversity.
James M. Bennett High School’s Ocean City Beach Cleanup (Jenna, Ryan, Micah, Naythan)
Protecting a favorite summertime hangout is what this project aims to do. These students will lead a beach cleanup in Ocean City for their peers to address the pervasive plastic pollution issue. This project is funded at $200.
James M. Bennett High School’s Geese Patrol (Emma, William, Jesse, Ryan)
This project resonates deeply with the history here at the Ward Museum. Students in this group identified the many issues that come with a resident geese population and have identified a solution: They’ll be designing their own decoys to discourage geese from aggregating around their school yard. This project is funded at $40.
James M. Bennett High School’s Communication Across the Watershed (Callie, Emmi, Claire, Ciera)
This project will open a unique dialog between students from JMB with a high school in Baltimore. They’ll take a trip to the National Aquarium to share about environmental issues that are impacting each of their communities and discuss different avenues for advocating together for positive change. This project is funded at $200.
James M. Bennett High School’s Outdoor Classroom (Maiyah, Victoria, Chontiana, Mikerrah)
Students will create an outdoor classroom by building simple benches and tables that can be used in the fall and spring semesters. The students who developed this proposal cited literature about the benefits of learning outside including improving focus and cognitive functioning.
James M. Bennett High School’s Water Fountain (Ryan, Mason, Brynn, Reagan)
This project will work with school administrators to encourage students to skip the plastic water bottle. In order to get students to refill their reusable water bottled, students identified that they first need to address a cleanliness issue around water fountains at JMB.
James M. Bennett High School’s Carbon Footprint Posters (Avery, Alyssa, Hyo, Abby)
Students in this group are launching a campaign to educate their peers about what their carbon footprint is and how they can reduce it. This project is funded at $32.
James M. Bennett High School’s Downtown Salisbury Water Access (Grace, Julie, Anuj, Nathan)
This project will include a civic engagement component where students will interface with city officials about access to drinking water in public spaces in the downtown area. This project could have interesting outcomes as they relate to the National Folk Festival. This project is funded at $90.
James M. Bennett High School’s Campaign to Install Hand Dryers (Lauren, Joshua, Katelyn, Sarah)
This project requires no money, because Lauren, Joshua, Katelyn, and Sarah are lobbying their school to install the hand dryers in the restrooms - at a cost less than is spent each year on paper towels. They would save the school over $8,000 in just the first year alone.
James M. Bennett High School’s Trash Cleanup (Tyler, Lili, Alex, Eleni)
This group of students conducted a litter audit and interviewed staff members at their school to better understand why there is so much trash at their school. This project aims to tackle this issue head on. This project is funded at $20.
James M. Bennett High School’s Paper Usage Campaign (Josie, Drew, Matt, Sophia)
This project will address the “worksheet issue” as they call it. Students will encourage teachers and students through a variety of methods to limit their paper usage and to go digital instead! While this project won’t cost any money, we’re excited to recognize it.
James M. Bennett High School’s Water Pollution / Reusable Water Bottle Effort (Tina, Grayson, Naomi, Arturo, Fernando, Tariq, Walner, Yovensly, Jean)
This project proposal was one of our favorites to receive - it came to us in at least 3 different languages! These students will work on an effort to make reusable water bottles the norm on campus. They’ll be providing bottles to students who might not otherwise have access to them and will do outreach about the impacts of a use-and-throw economy. This project is funded at $95.
Into the Marsh (Anandi, Nevaeh, Grace - YEAS Ambassdors all of JMB) Next Steps for Into the Marsh Project
This project builds on the inspiring work of the Into the Marsh Project which debuted during last year’s YEA Summit. These students have been working together for about a year on various environmental projects, and this one will include the design and implementation of environmental games to teach lessons to the community during outreach events. They’ll debut this at Green Fest this spring. This project is funded at $87.
Parkside CTE Horticulture Program’s Fall Pollinator Forage
Building on their successful pocket meadow project, the Parkside CTE program will focus on pollinator fall foliage this year by planting 200 native plants which will provide numerous ecosystem services to the Parkside campus. This project is funded at $350.
Wicomico High: Sara-Elah Hoffman’s Organic Community Garden
This project will support the development of an organic community garden which will have many co-benefits in addition to providing food for a neighborhood in our community, including reducing runoff, loss of topsoil, and providing habitat for insects. This project is funded at $800.