Metamorphosis of a Green Flag Eco-School in Centreville, Virginia
Elaine Tholen, Fairfax County Public Schools’ environmental coordinator, greeted me at the school, along with at least 30 students and several teachers. They displayed for me their great Eco-Code, and ran through the Code’s meaning, which they will be doing as an online announcement for the school.
It’s such a joy to see the enthusiasm of young students and their teachers, and really absorb how much they have learned in their journey to become a Green Flag school. The school grounds at CES—featuring a certified Schoolyard Habitat—are amazing. The students have planted native species, along with vegetable and herb gardens, and a sensory garden for their special needs students.
Every class at CES spends at least one hour in their outdoor learning areas each week. Among their other projects:
- Fourth grade teacher Mrs. Settlemyre and her class are researching the Eastern bluebird, building nesting boxes and using technology (iPads and QR Codes) to connect visitors and students to information on the bluebirds that visit their school.
- Second grade teacher, Nia Manoleras, and her students educated me on the lifecycle of Monarch butterflies—they planted milkweed especially for these winged beauties, and have a space in their classroom where they can watch the metamorphosis from caterpillar egg to chrysalis to butterfly. The students knew the answer to every question posed about the insects, proving how effective a learning method this hands-on approach really is.
Congratulations, Centreville Elementary School, on your many accomplishments. We look forward to awarding you the prestigious Eco-Schools Green Flag and including you in the ranks of the other USA Green Flag schools!