Chester E. Jordan Elementary School
Science Team Members Start Young to Protect the Environment
When visitors walk into Chester E. Jordan Elementary School in El Paso, youngsters from the school’s Green Science Team lead them down the hallways on a tour about ways they are reducing energy, saving water, and protecting the environment. These third- through fifth-grade team members demonstrate what they call “envirotude”—mentoring fellow students on forward-looking environmental behavior.
While serving as tour guides, team members rattle off information about how their school inspires them to be environmentally responsible: Jordan Elementary’s award-winning school building was constructed with energy-saving features, such as floor to ceiling windows that let in natural lighting, playground flooring made of old tires, and a 75,000-gallon cistern for rainwater collection.
The Green Science Team launched the school’s recycling program and puts in the hours needed to keep it running smoothly. Every Friday morning before school starts, team members collect recyclables from each classroom and place them in an outdoor collection bin. To help schoolmates remember to recycle, the team members refashioned the school’s mascot into their recycling champion and penned a slogan: Lions Saving the Planet. Be Your Own Hero at 212 Degrees. Team members explain that while water boils at 211 degrees in El Paso’s elevation, Jordan Elementary students go that one extra degree to care for the environment.
Other student-led environmental activities include Walk to School Wednesdays—students and their families walk one day a week to reduce emissions—and Watt Watchers, which includes team members patrolling the school to turn off all electronics and lights at the end of the day.
Last year, the team enlisted the help of a Master Gardener and soldiers from Fort Bliss—the U.S. Army post in El Paso—to design and plant a school vegetable and butterfly garden. Additionally, these young students have made presentations at an environmental summit sponsored by local and state government groups, at TECH₂O—a water conference sponsored by the El Paso Water Utilities—and at El Paso Zoo’s environmental summit.
Wanting to share their envirotude with even more El Pasoans, these youngsters asked Fort Bliss to help them produce a two-minute public service announcement. They show the video spot at other schools to inspire even more students to start their own Green Science Teams to help take care of the environment.