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Durfee gets "greener" one step at a time  

Katelyn DeAlmeida '12
Trends Editor

Bryan Melo '11
News Editor 
April 11, 2011

All great initiatives have their beginnings. The Green Team, initially a small group of students headed by environmental and biology teacher Mr. Brendan O'Neil, has grown in a matter of only two years. Now boasting a size of about 30 to 50 students, the Green Team has grown from only about a dozen students from two years ago.

The Green Team began as an idea which later materialized mainly through the efforts of O'Neil, as well as Durfee senior Jared Robinson. The aim of the club is to promote eco-friendly habits among the school and to create a recycling program. The program recycles hundreds of cans and bottles each week, as well as pounds of paper which would have otherwise gone to waste.

The program does not stop there. Last year, students were also involved in tree planting projects throughout the city. The eager group of students also hosted a ceremony in which Phillips donated energy efficient fluorescent light bulbs to the school, replacing many inefficient fixtures.

For the past two years, the club has organized a week-long series of events and activities called "Green Week", aimed at encouraging eco-friendly habits among the student body. During Green Week, the club looks to promote their message in several ways and through various mediums. Last year's events included providing helpful tips to students during the morning announcements, turning off lights to conserve energy, a community clean-up, and tree planting projects.

"We hope to raise awareness of environmental issues and the amount of waste we produce," said O'Neil.

This year's Green Week will run from April 12 to April 16, beginning with a guest speaker on behalf of Alliance for Climate Education, to speak about topics concerning the importance of recycling and climate issues. Members will also take part in a campus and community clean up, collecting trash and debris from Durfee and surrounding areas. The Green Team also plans on helping the community by taking part in another tree planting project and helping animals at a local shelter. All students, whether or not members the club, are also asked to wear the color green throughout the week to show their support for the environment.

In preparation for the event, the Green Team has participated in various fund-raising activities, such as selling t-shirts, sweatshirts, eco-friendly water bottles and light bulbs during the past month. Students were also able to raise about five-hundred dollars through their efforts in a tag day event at  a local Stop & Shop. The team plans on spending the accumulated funds on a field trip to a local zoo or aquarium during the spring or summer.

Every Wednesday and Friday, members walk around the school to pick up recycling bins around the classrooms. Green Team member Hailey Cambra feels that the group is doing their best to make Durfee students more involved in improving the school’s overall environment.

"The activities we’ve planned are to try and get students to be more environmentally friendly and aware," says Cambra.

O'Neil expressed how the success of the Green Team has really progressed and that it is open to newcomers. "This year’s Green Team has been growing with many enthusiastic members who are making the school a better place," said O'Neil.

Given the successes of the recycling project and initiatives from the club, the expansion of the program in the years to come is extremely probable. The team is continually looking for new members and all students who wish to be of assistance to the program are welcome and encouraged to join.