This article first appeared in the March 2010 Harker Quarterly.
Green is busting out all over Harker, and not just because it is spring. On the upper school campus, the greenhouse is filled with flora cultivated by the Biology Club. The club has a crop-style garden planned with an herb section and is scouting the art department for a collaborator to help landscape the site.
The upper school HEART Club (Harker Environmental and Animal Rights Team) continues their ongoing effort of collecting recyclable paper from classrooms and offices around campus. The weekly collection visits are reminders to the whole campus both to recycle and to take individual action to help the environment.
In January, middle school students and teachers collected spare paper generated from routine printing runs, extra copies of homework, staff directives, etc., “so we could get a clear idea of what our monthly ‘waste’ is,” said Cindy Ellis, middle school head. The effort is part of a three-campus push to curb excess printing and paper use. The effort ran Jan. 4-29 and resulted in a 2.5 foot pile of paper that was then recycled as scratch paper at the Harker Math Invitational in mid-March.
Chris Nikoloff, head of school, initiated the overall paper-saving awareness effort and Jennifer Gargano, assistant head of school for academic affairs, took on the role of educating faculty on the effort at schoolwide faculty meetings. “Teachers have been heeding recommendations – requesting fewer color copies, asking the print shop to send digital files and returning the colored pages separating print jobs to the print shop for reuse,” said Gargano. “Our next step is to recruit students in the middle and upper schools to the effort.”
In mid-December, Harker was featured on “Eco Company,” a national TV program covering teens who are taking an active role in creating greener communities. The segment, aired on KTVU Channel 2, featured the upper school campus’ greenhouse and organic garden, the LEED gold-certified Nichols Hall, the lower school’s energy monitoring systems and more. Those who were unable to tune in can watch the segment on Eco Company’s Web site, www.eco-company.tv.