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Please note that this is a tentative schedule and items are subject to change.
The Environmental Education teams from Marin Sanitary Service, Zero Waste Marin, RethinkWaste, and the County of San Mateo’s Office of Sustainability work with students, teachers, and school administrators to engage students and empower them to conserve resources in their communities. The teams offer a suite of programs to schools, including technical assistance and training, educational materials, facility infrastructure (such as bin systems), as well as assemblies and in-class presentations. Agency partnerships allow the teams to provide layered, complimentary services to Marin and San Mateo County schools, and provide opportunities for collaboration on projects and presentations, as well as shared resources and best practices. Now they want to share their successes (and challenges!) so you can do it, too!
Emi joined the RethinkWaste team in October 2018. As the Environmental Education Manager, Emi oversees the Shoreway Environmental Center tours, as well as the In-School Recycling and Compost Program to improve waste reduction, recycling and organic performance at schools. This program incorporates student education, including classroom presentations, paired with on-site assistance and technical support in updating campus facilities and waste infrastructure. Before RethinkWaste, Emi coordinated the Green Business Program at the San Mateo County Office of Sustainability. Emi graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Analysis, with an emphasis in Public Policy and Environmental Justice from Pitzer College.
Emi Hashizume will touch on best practices surrounding the lunch waste system. We will discuss how to create an infrastructure set-up that visually reinforces the new sorting system and makes it easy to participate in, and how to pair it with student education. Presentations, assemblies, and interactive games engage students and Green Team members during the initial launch of the program and can be used as ongoing “refresher” education tools. Working with Green Teams in particular can empower students to share their knowledge and motivate their peers throughout the year and ultimately create a campus culture that is focused on reducing waste. Additional supplemental activities, such as field trips to local recycling facilities, will also be discussed.
Nicole is a voice for the ocean and its’ inhabitants. A former scuba diving instructor and marine biologist, she has worked as a naturalist with the Oceanic Society since 2004 leading whale watch trips. Before coming to the Office of Sustainability, she served as lead educator for the Pacifica Beach Coalition. As a sustainability consultant for the SMC Schools Program, Nicole works with administrators, students and teachers grades prek-12 in the 23 school districts around the county. She holds a bachelor’s degree in marine biology from UC Santa Cruz and a Master’s degree in Coastal Environmental Management from Duke University.
Nicole Larson will highlight the similarities and differences between the San Mateo and Marin programs, including how both programs are founded on strong partnerships and collaboration between agencies. These partnerships allow for the sharing of resources, referrals to other programs and resources, and coordination on education and training at various school sites. Nicole will highlight how this best practice of strong partnerships facilitates county-wide diversion efforts.
Casey Fritz is the Schools & Community Recycling Coordinator for Marin Sanitary Service, the private waste hauler servicing central Marin County. She focuses on the partnership with Zero Waste Marin Schools, achieving compliance with state laws such as AB 341 and AB 1826 at school and community sites, education and training, and running the recycling facility tour program. Prior to joining MSS, she worked at the local nonprofit SEI contracted for educational work on the Zero Waste Marin Schools Program as the project manager. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
Casey Fritz will review one of the first phases of successful zero waste school programs, which includes an initial meeting with stakeholders. Normally, this meeting includes the principal, or Green Team teacher or other leader, the head custodian and possibly an interested member of the PTA. We consider this first step a best practice because it brings together all of the groups that will be working on zero waste, and allows for county and hauler staff to assess what the school site is already doing to gauge what recommendations would be most relevant. Once this assessment of readiness and waste audit of campus is complete, we can begin training all stakeholders to ensure everyone starts off on the same foot and is working towards the same goals.
Casey Poldino is a Waste Management Specialist with the County of Marin and Zero Waste Marin. Casey has been with the County since 2015 working on outreach, education, and Zero Waste Programs. She designed the Zero Waste Schools Program in 2016 to advance recycling and composting efforts in all K-12 schools. This ongoing program provides education, training, and infrastructure to enrolled schools. Prior to her work with the county, Casey managed the Community Recycling Program with Conservation Corps North Bay and worked with partners on sustainable materials management. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Humboldt State University.
Casey Poldino will present how to bring the first year of a zero waste program to a close. Best practices in this phase include a follow-up waste audit to collect data about improvement in diversion, which can be presented to stakeholders along with recommendations for further improvement. We will also discuss recognition of the hard work of students, teachers, and custodians, and recommend ways to continue zero waste work over the summer or through distance learning to extend the culture of zero waste into the home and the community.