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King County honoring its Earth Heroes


Students, parents, teachers and staff members – all with a commitment to hands-on environmental stewardship – will be honored by King County Executive Dow Constantine at the County’s annual Earth Heroes at School ceremony next month.


Students, parents, teachers and staff members – all with a commitment to hands-on environmental stewardship – will be honored by King County Executive Dow Constantine at the County’s annual Earth Heroes at School ceremony next month.

“Winners of the Earth Heroes at School awards are a diverse group who share the common goal of making our world a better place,” said Executive Constantine. “It is an honor to recognize their achievements in environmental education, waste reduction, energy conservation and other positive efforts.”

Executive Constantine will present awards to Earth Heroes on:

Thursday, April 14 – 4:30 p.m.
Community Center at Mercer View
8236 SE 24th Street, Mercer Island

This year, the program recognizes four students, two student groups, five parents, four school programs, seven teachers and five other school employees.

Their accomplishments include:

  • Increasing recycling and decreasing garbage by collecting lunchroom food scraps for composting;
  • Educating students and the community on safer alternatives to toxic products;
  • Establishing a no-idle zone in a student drop-off/pick-up area to cut greenhouse gas emissions; and
  • Restoring habitat by removing invasive species.

Many of the winners also participate in the King County Green Schools Program to take specific actions to conserve natural resources and reduce waste.

For more information about the Earth Heroes at School Program, contact Donna Miscolta at or 206-296-4477.

King County Earth Heroes at School Award winners


Grand Ridge Elementary School, Issaquah School District
With a recycling rate in 2010 of 35 percent, Grand Ridge Elementary improved recycling in classrooms and offices, and started a food scrap recycling program. The school’s Media Club created a video to demonstrate proper recycling and composting, and the school promotes recycling at all school events. These efforts have increased the recycling rate to 62 percent.

Island Park Elementary School, Mercer Island School District
Several new environmental efforts resulted in Island Park Elementary increasing its recycling rate from 30 to 55 percent. These efforts included a lunchroom composting program, using durable rather than disposable trays and utensils, and installing a learning garden. A level one Green School, Island Park has launched an Energy Patrol in its drive to achieve level two. Learn more at


Jamie Cooke, Mercer Island High School, Mercer Island School District
Jamie, a biology teacher, has been featured in Science Magazine and on National Public Radio for creating opportunities for teachers to work directly with scientists to engage students. Jamie is leading the school Green Team in projects, such as an ambitious lunchroom recycling program that will qualify the school as a level one King County Green School.

Olga Haider and Michelle Pickard, Issaquah Middle School, Issaquah School District
The leadership of these two teachers has resulted in a successful and sustainable resource conservation program at Issaquah Middle School. Michelle’s efforts in coordinating recycling and waste reduction actions to achieve level one Green School status set the framework for Olga’s efforts to achieve level two status through water conservation and installing an organic garden.

Marie Hartford, Horace Mann Elementary School, Lake Washington School District
Marie inspired students to develop a series of innovative environmental projects and to realize that they can make a difference. These projects include establishing a No-Idle Zone in the school drop-off area, a student-run worm bin composting demonstration, and “walk to school” days. Her newest project is guiding her students in creating a native plant garden.

Beverly Mowrer and students, New Start High School, Highline School District
Beverly and her students embarked on a project of habitat restoration and science education at a Burien city park and open space. Students integrated what they learned from Beverly about native plants in the classroom and applied it to benefit the community by clearing 14,000 square feet of invasive plants and replanting the sites with native species.

Maggie Rose, Ingraham High School, Seattle School District
To generate interest in science and an awareness of the natural world among her students, Maggie obtained a grant to purchase soil, shovels and seeds, and involved her students in creating a vegetable garden. Students grew, harvested, and preserved food to take home to share with their families.

Elizabeth Wing, Carnation Elementary School, Riverview School District
Elizabeth’s role in the school recycling program helped Carnation Elementary earn level one in the King County Green Schools Program. She is now compiling energy use data to support the school’s energy conservation efforts. She has organized education units on organic farming and salmon, and a “passport to sustainability” project on the new state standards for sustainability.


Kate Brunette, Issaquah High School, Issaquah School District
Concerned about her school’s recycling rate, Kate gathered support from the City of Issaquah, King County Green Schools Program, students, custodial staff, teachers and administration to implement strategies to increase recycling, including adding food waste collection to the program. Kate has been the driving force behind other environmental projects.

Cort Hammond, Tahoma Senior High School, Tahoma School District
As Green Team president Cort established a recycling program that reduces waste and saves money for the school district. Cort helped plan the school’s food waste collection program as well as programs for plastic bag, battery, cell phone and plastic cap collection. Cort has done habitat restoration, trail restoration, native planting and Adopt-a-Road events.

Annapurni Sriram, Snoqualmie Sustainability Strategy, City of Snoqualmie
While a middle school student, Anna wrote to the Mayor of Snoqualmie urging him to address sustainability and climate change. The mayor invited her to serve on the city’s Sustainability Advisory Team. For the next two years, Anna participated in meetings, contributed ideas on communication strategies and ways to involve schools, and developed a website and blog.

Dianne Thompson’s Third-Period Environmental Science Class, Kent-Meridian High School, Kent School District
After learning about the health and environmental effects of household hazardous products, Dianne’s students developed ideas, methods and materials to share their knowledge with students at the nearby middle school. As a result, hundreds of students learned how to read labels for safety information and how to choose safer alternatives to products with toxic ingredients.

Bailey Moritz, Inglemoor High School, Northshore School District
The president of her school’s Earth Corps club, Bailey initiated a semester-long trial to compost school cafeteria waste. She led club officers in a presentation to the district superintendent, met with administrators to address logistics, organized sign making, monitored sorting stations, recruited help from other campus clubs, and conducted an audit to assess the project’s effectiveness.

S.A.V.E., Springbrook Elementary School, Kent School District
The Student Association of Vampire Elimination, a.k.a. Mr. Welsh’s class, educated students and the community on how to reduce energy waste and eliminate energy vampires. More than 3,000 people visited their booth on energy conservation at the district’s technology expo. The students are creating a shift in thinking about how energy, water and other resources are used.


Angela Johnson, Woodin Elementary School, Northshore School District
Angela Johnson often devotes weekends and after-school hours to assist in whatever way she can. A few years ago, Angela worked with students to create a small vegetable garden. She obtained mini-grants to enhance the garden’s use as an outdoor learning center where students and the community learn about composting, recycling, and growing organic foods.

Laura Kleppe, Emily Dickinson Elementary School, Lake Washington School District
For the past four years, Laura has managed a week-long, school-wide event for wetlands maintenance on school grounds. She leads students in removing invasive species and restoring native plant habitats, teaches about wetlands as a filter for pollutants, organizes teachers, students, and parents in “wetland week” actions, and enlists businesses to donate to the project.

Robin Lane Schoomer, Leota Junior High, Northshore School District
Robin helped Leota students start a school-wide, food-scrap compost program and expand the recycling program. She obtained a grant, researched and purchased recycling and compost containers, gained district support, recruited parents to help with environmental club activities, ran a successful compost sale fundraiser, and implemented a plastic bag recycling program.

Susan Vossler, Carl Sandburg Elementary/Discovery Community School, Lake Washington School District
Susan created a Green Team that encouraged waste reduction and recycling throughout the school, worked with the district to eliminate polystyrene lunch trays, and helped improve the recycling rate from 18 to 43 percent. Susan started the Earth Helpers student group which conducted waste-free lunch and reusable water bottle campaigns. A clean air campaign is next.

Nancy Weil, Mercer Island School District
Nancy’s leadership and green work ethic are felt throughout the Mercer Island School District. She started the Sustainability Committee at the Jewish Community Center, the Green Team at Lakeridge Elementary School, and the district Green Team. Her work has helped individual schools and the district reduce waste, increase recycling and purchase green products.


Dave Bonham and Katie Cobb, Lakeridge Elementary School, Renton School District
Dave and Katie are responsible for the success of Lakeridge’s program to recycle cafeteria waste. After helping set up the system, they took ownership of the process, training students to run the recycling stations and teaching them to embrace leadership roles. The benefits include a recycling rate of 33 percent and involved and responsible students.

David Holbrook, Creekside Elementary School, Issaquah School District
David started the recycling program on the first day of school at the newly constructed Creekside Elementary. In the first month that the school was open the recycling rate was an impressive 55 percent. David supports all conservation efforts in this brand new school, and maintains its sustainable features with environmentally friendly cleaning products.

Staff and Program

Ginger Ott and Scenic Hill Elementary School, Kent School District
Ginger, the school’s head custodian, has consistently shown initiative and dedication to recycling, energy conservation, and water conservation at Scenic Hill Elementary. As a result of her efforts, Scenic Hill Elementary is the first level three Green School in King County. Scenic Hill Green Team students have taught other students about recycling, resource conservation and worm bin composting.

Jim Wiesen and Team Yerukim, Jewish Day School, Bellevue
Jim, the school’s athletic director, invigorated participation in the school recycling program by improving signage, securing a grant to purchase bins for classroom, and using his popular PE class to get the word out about recycling. Team Yerukim students developed a Green Report Card for students and families to assess their lunch waste and recycling knowledge.

Related information

Earth Heroes at School

Environmental resources for teachers and students

King County Solid Waste