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Skyview Junior High snags Green Flag award for sustainability and environmental education

Skyview Junior High Green Team students unfurl the school
Skyview Junior High Green Team students unfurl the school's Green Flag at this morning's presentation while instructors Tom Nowak, left, and John Schmied help. At right is Courtney Sullivan of the National Wildlife Federation, who presented the award honoring the school's commitment to sustainability and environmental education.
— image credit: Andy Nystrom/ Reporter

Skyview Junior High's Green Team students proudly raised a Green Flag at last week's end-of-school assembly as the crowd's applause filled the gym.

The Bothell school not only garnered the National Wildlife Federation's highest honor in its Eco-Schools USA program, but Skyview is only the seventh school in the country to fly the large flag for its commitment to sustainability and environmental education.

When unfurled, the flag covered the combined width of about six students and instructors John Schmied and Tom Nowak.

"The National Wildlife Federation has been proud to work with Skyview for many years," Courtney Sullivan, the federation's education manager for the Pacific Northwest, told the crowd. "We started our relationship with you with your amazing school-yard habitat, (which) has been a model for other schools across the nation."

Skyview's Outdoor Environmental Learning Center is a student-tended, 6.5-acre outdoor classroom and service learning project in which volunteers have devoted more than 9,800 hours of service to create sustainable trails, dig wetlands, remove invasive plants and plant more than 2,000 native plants as part of a natural habitat.

Skyview was recently awarded a Washington State Pillar 3 award, was named a Level 3 Green School, launched a Naturalist in Training Program and boasts successful recycling and composting programs. Dena Peel of the Snohomish County Public Utility District also presented the school with a plaque at the assembly to commemorate the installation of a 3.5 KW solar system at the school.

"Tom and I have kind of dug holes with everybody else and tried to develop a program that's really good," Schmied told the crowd and thanked the facilities and kitchen staffs for their involvement in Skyview's green programs.

After the assembly, Schmied told the Reporter that every award the students receive, they inspire other people at school and in the community to become involved in sustaining the environment.

Although their green efforts are paying off, Schmied feels there still needs to be more programs like Skyview's taking shape worldwide.

"We work on this like water on a flat rock until we drill a hole through it and accomplish our mission," he said.

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