Green Team growing in school district |

Green Team growing in school district

Axie Navas
Parent instructors, Sierra House Principal Ryan Galles and members of the Green Team pose with the "Give Plastic the Boot" sculpture. Axie Navas / Tahoe Daily Tribune

Sierra House Elementary School’s blossoming Green Team could take root in other South Shore schools next fall.

A group of parents started the enrichment program last month to spread nutritional awareness and discuss the importance of conservation. Under their guidance, the children saw firsthand how long it takes for plastic to decompose and planted their own miniature gardens.

“We all have some background in environmental community work,” lead instructor Michelle McLean said. “The kids understand plastic is bad and how it affects the environment. The lunches at school are great, it’s mainly that we’re trying to get them to stop using plastic.”

McLean, whose son is enrolled at Sierra House, worked under the National Environmental Protection Act during her time as an archaeologist with the U.S. Forest Service. Fellow Green Team instructor Megan Suarez served as the sustainability director for the Sierra Nevada Alliance while Rebecca Bryson is a member of the Lake Tahoe Sustainability Collaborative.

“Neither myself, Rebecca or Megan are trained teachers but we all have experience, skills and knowledge and the passion to be involved with our kids. Forty kids signing up for a class at Sierra is a lot of kids, and it really indicated to us how many parents wanted their children to be involved in the Green Team and the kinds of issues we were teaching,” McLean said.

Their goal is to bring the program to Bijou Community School next fall and align it with Sierra House’s budding growing dome initiative.

According to McLean, groups have already donated $53,000 for the growing dome, a futuristic-looking greenhouse that would let students and community members garden year round. But the project is estimated to cost about $80,000, and construction realistically won’t begin until summer 2014, Sierra House Principal Ryan Galles said in a previous article. The initiative still needs school board approval.

There’s a direct correlation between the growing dome and the work of the Green Team, Galles said. Those students are being groomed to help maintain and foster that program once it gets off the ground.

“It’s a great opportunity to build student leadership in environmental education,” he said.

The students’ work will take a hiatus this summer, but Galles anticipates their “Give Plastic the Boot” initiative will spread to other schools next fall. A Lake Tahoe Community College professor crafted a wire boot as part of the campaign to decrease plastic waste on campus and in the community. That kind of consciousness building isn’t limited to Sierra House, according to Galles, and showing students the importance of reducing waste can be taught at any of the South Shore schools.

“To understand that plastic doesn’t go away, that’s a big eye opener for the kids,” he said.

‘Rent’ hits LTCC stage this weekend

The Lake Tahoe Community College Theater Arts Department will present the Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning musical “Rent” this weekend.

Performances will take place June 14-15 and 20-22 at 8 p.m. with Sunday matinees on June 16 and 23 at 2 p.m.

Based on Giacomo Puccini’s opera “La Bohème,” the rock musical tells the story of a group of young, impoverished artists struggling to survive and create in New York during the Bohemian Alphabet City days and under the shadow of HIV/AIDS.

General admission costs $15. Tickets may be purchased in advance at LTCC’s bookstore Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. or Friday from 9:30 a.m to 9 p.m. The box office will be open for ticket sales one hour prior to performances.

The show is for mature audiences only and not recommend for children younger than 18 years old.

LTCC students graduate

Lake Tahoe Community College will host its graduation Friday, June 28 at 6 p.m. in the gymnasium. The theme — One College, One Community — honors the students, the college and the larger community.

Students, community members take a swing at cancer today

Golfers will play a full day of golf at the Tahoe Paradise Golf Course Wednesday to raise money for the South Tahoe Cancer League.

Golfers, including students from South Tahoe High School and Tahoe Valley, will start at sunrise and play as many holes as they can before sundown. The golfers usually play about 120 holes and have raised more than $50,000 for the league over the past seven years.

To make a per-hole or flat-dollar donation, email Tahoe Valley Elementary School teacher Greg Kuntz at For more information, contact Moose Lodge at 530-541-1632 between 2-8 p.m.

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