Oceano Elementary School celebrated its 5th annual Green Apple Day of Service, and has set the standard for sustainable behaviors in San Luis Obispo County. Oceano's vaunted recycling, composting and active transportation program were on full display September 22nd.
Weeks earlier Green Apple Day started with a kickoff performance by Mr. Eco. Mr. Eco hit on Oceano's core of values with "Turn Off the lights", "Recycle Robot" and "Straw Wars" song and dance routines. Students were enthralled by Mr. Eco's message of hope and action. The school in turn responded with a poster contest emphasizing this year's theme, "Help Your Community, Help the Planet". Students generated many ideas as to how they could make their community better. Their ideas included buying organic, picking up litter, walking to school, planting a garden and not buying single use plastic water bottles.
On Green Apple Day, the students of Oceano put their ideas on full display. The day started with a massive "alternative transportation" effort sponsored by SLOCOG's Safe Routes Program. A transportation survey done by the teachers found that nearly 50% of the students walked to school while 15% rode their bikes on Green Apple Day. The national average for walking and biking to school is only 13%, so Oceano was able to lower its carbon footprint while making its community safer with less motor vehicles circulating through the neighborhood.
Oceano has saved the Lucia Mar Unified School District thousands of dollars over the years with its student led recycling program. At lunch, in typical Oceano style, students had a reduced waste meal to go with their Green Apples. Students, per usual, separated their leftover fruits and vegetables to take to their enormous 10 worm bin composting containers. Later that day, students cleaned the school of litter, collected the recycling from the classrooms and put both into the appropriate containers. Oceano's motto of "A clean campus is a happy campus" was on full display for Green Apple Day.
Oceano was able to bring its composting efforts into a full circle. Oceano students planted the only "Vertical Garden" on the Central Coast. The fruits and vegetables collected and composted through the lunch program were then used to plant more vegetables on one of the many cyclone fences here on campus. The unique design of the vertical garden uses 2 liter plastic bottles to house vegetables such as lettuce and kale. These vegetables will later be eaten as part of the Harvest of the Month and nutrition program initiated in the classroom.
Oceano's Green Apple Day of Service was a resounding success. Once again, Oceano has set the standard for sustainability on the Central Coast.