Step 4: Complete an Action Project

Completing an action project is an important step to bringing your chosen sustainability topic out of the classroom and engaging others in the school or community. The Sustainable Schools team looks for projects that will create a real and lasting change in the behavior of the students and creatively share the information learned during the workshop with others. This is also a great opportunity for teachers to introduce the importance of service-learning projects and how to make everyday decisions to solve worldwide problems. 

Choose from one of our favorite project ideas or scroll down to see more unique, individualized ideas. More than 50 classrooms have completed an action project and received certification. Read more.


Favorite Project Ideas

Water Conservation

  • Conduct a Water Audit in your classroom or school.
    Find out just how much water your classroom or school is actually using! This project will include hands-on testing of all applicable water sources. Students will discover their individual water use at school while projecting for total water use over a day, a week, and the whole school year. Discussion will include conservation actions and tools used to save water.

  • Create 'Reminder Droplets' to increase at-home water conservation.
    Conserving water at home is just as important as conserving at school! After students complete an informal water audit at home, students will create individualized pledge droplets. Each droplet will be laminated and returned so students can remind themselves and family-members to save water, whether it's taking shorter showers or embracing brown lawns.

  • Compete in a Video, Skit, or Poster Campaign to educate others.
    In groups, have students create a skit, video, or poster to spread awareness for water conservation. Make it a friendly competition by hosting a premiere, awards show, or art display and invite families, other classrooms, and community members. Note - follow-up scheduling is for the creation of these items, extra scheduling may be required to host an event or showing. 

Waste Prevention

  • Conduct a Waste Audit in your classroom or school.
    Find out exactly how waste is dealt with in your classroom or school. This project will include hands-on sorting of all applicable waste stations (trash, recycling bins, FoodPlus!). Students will discover what materials are most common and if students and teachers know how to correctly dispose of items. Discussion will include how to reduce overall waste and improve recycling habits.

  • Host a Litter Cleanup around your school grounds or a nearby community space.
    Take a break from the classroom and make your school or community and cleaner and healthier place by hosting a litter pick-up. Students will have the chance to collect litter and discuss ways in which our derelict waste can impact the different habitats around us. For an added bonus, add on an additional waste audit of the litter to see what types of items are being thrown out.

  • Train your students to become Lunchroom Mentors.
    Ever wondered how successful students are at sorting their leftover waste in the lunchroom? Host a training session to teach your students how to become lunchroom mentors tasked with assisting students in correctly sorting their waste. Connect with lunchroom faculty to figure out what can be improved. Note: Training and discussion included in follow-up workshop, extra scheduling may be required to get students into the lunchroom following the training.

Energy Efficiency and Climate Change

  • Conduct an Energy Audit in your classroom.
    Find out just how much energy your classroom is actually using. Students will work in groups to assess energy use around the classroom and come together to input data and see total energy use. Discussion will include how to reduce energy use in the classroom and at home.
  • Create 'Reminder Bolts' to increase at-home energy efficiency.
    Saving energy at home is just as important as saving at school! After students complete an informal energy audit at home, students will create individualized pledge bolts. Each bolt will be laminated and returned so students can remind themselves and family-members to save energy, whether it's watching less t.v. after dinner or starting a carpool for work or school.
    • Compete in a Video, Skit, or Poster Campaign to educate others.
      In groups, have students create a skit, video, or poster to spread awareness for energy efficiency. Make it a friendly competition by hosting a premiere, awards show, or art display and invite families, other classrooms, and community members. Note - follow-up scheduling is for the creation of these items, extra scheduling may be required to host an event or showing.


      Additional project ideas

      All Topics

      • Ask the PTA for funding to make conservation upgrades around your school.
      • Work with the facilities management to incorporate sustainable practices around the school.
      • Coordinate a field trip to an organization or facility related to your topic.
      • Participate in a stream, wilderness path, or community park restoration project.
      • Use recycled paper and objects to create informational posters about your topic.
      • Do a research project related to your topic. Share as posters, presentations, or videos.
      • Start a mentoring program to help younger students sort waste, save water, or be energy efficient.
      • Become power rangers, water warriors, or recycling rebels and monitor your schools efficiency.

      Energy

      • Research ideas on how to “unplug” and have fun without using energy and share your ideas.
      • Have students become ’Power Rangers’ club, in charge of turning off lights and electronics throughout the school when not in use.
      • Start a carpooling, walking, and/or biking program at your school. 
      • Research different forms of energy and share your information with a poster, brochure, skit or video.
      • Work with your PTA to get funding for an educational tool, such as a smart meter.
      • Create an educational video highlighting your favorite tips to be energy efficient. Host a preview for other students or community members.
      • Work with your facilities manager to incorporate energy efficiency into school-wide building management. For example, LED light bulbs, motion detectors, and power strips.
      • Improve local carbon sinks. Participate in a restoration project with native species.
      • Complete an energy audit for your classroom or school and share possible solutions with other students or school staff.

      Waste

      • Ask the PTA for funding to make upgrades. For example, try to find a way to get extra recycling bins or permanent signage for lunchroom sorting bins.
      • Coordinate a field trip to an organization or facility related to waste management in Whatcom County. 
      • Use recyclables to create informational posters about the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling. Include some research about landfills, recycling centers, or waste in the environment. 
      • Start a mentoring program to help younger students sort waste correctly in the lunchroom.

      Water

      • Ask the PTA for funding to make school upgrades. For example, try to find a way to get a rain barrel or drip-irrigation for your garden.
      • See if the facilities manager would be willing to hold a Q&A session with your students. Work with them to incorporate water conservation into school-wide building management practices. 
      • Coordinate a field trip to an organization or facility related to water management in Whatcom County. Share what you learned with other classrooms through a video or skit.
      • Support our local waterways! Participate in a stream or community park restoration project.
      • Do a research project on water bodies and their importance. Share what you find with others.
      • Become ‘Water Warriors’ and monitor the schools usage of water. Share conservation solutions with other teachers and school staff.

      For additional help, contact the Green Classroom Coordinator at schools@re-sources.org or (360) 733-8307 ext. 106.