Smoky Row Green Team provides reusable bags for school

Smoky Row students Ciara Farley and Derick Lu display reusable bags. (Submitted photo)
Smoky Row students Ciara Farley and Derick Lu display reusable bags. (Submitted photo)

By Amanda Foust

Smoky Row Elementary’s Green Team recently received a grant from the Carmel Green Teen Micro-Grant Program to purchase reusable bags for all elementary school students.

The school received the grant at the end of March and purchased 810 reusable bags to distribute to the students.

The Carmel Green Teen Micro-Grant Program was established in 2009 to provide local students the opportunity to create a more sustainable community. Carmel Green Teen receives funding to give grants to Carmel students and has backed more than 51 green projects.

“I love how the community here embraces going green,” said Stacey Summers, Smoky Row teacher and Green Team leader.

Smoky Row’s Green Team is made up of 17 fourth and fifth graders. Together, they form ideas on how to be good stewards of the earth. During the holiday season, they recycled hundreds of broken Christmas lights.

“Plastic bags make up most of the ocean’s pollution. Reusable bags can be used many times over and over,” student Derick Lu said.

The best part of this project was winning the grant, going to court house, and meeting the mayor.  Meeting the Green Teen Youth Board was also exciting.”

The students work during lunches directing and teaching others how to recycle.

“Everything at Smoky Row that goes into the trash is recycled except for the food at lunch,” Summers said.

Smoky Row’s Green Team noticed the amount of plastic bags used in their homes and wanted to make a difference by introducing a reusable bag that could be used to carry groceries, sports equipment, snacks and more.

“The kids came up with the design for the bags,” Summers said. “In each one, we had fliers that said different ways they could use their bags.”

Because this is the first year for Smoky Row’s Green Team, they plan to build the program and create new sustainability ideas for the future.

“When students can understand what making a better world looks like, they will continue to see the importance as they grow,” Summers said.