Finances at the Geauga local school district are very limited. The Environmental Discovery Project seeks to incorporate cooperative learning with inquiry-based teaching in a way that doesn’t break the budget. The Environmental Discovery Project formed from a group of students from two Geauga county schools to create a holistic sustainability program. Students asked what they could do to create a positive environment during the school day, and went about coordinating projects that helped them get there. They have designed curriculum for local students, and have raised awareness about the importance of environmental impact at a local and global level. Not only do they work with local students but they join with other schools around Northeast Ohio to educate about sustaining our aquatic resources and habitats.
Complete Outdoor Classrooms are used to teach students about sustainable practices, runoff pollution and for other hands-on interdisciplinary educational activities. Science-related subject areas in all grade levels are seeing the results of these projects and are implementing creative curriculum as well. Even classes such as study halls enter the mix, as students go outdoors to weed and harvest when they have free time. The Environmental Discovery Project has transformed the landscape and attitudes of the Geauga community.
The Geauga community helps whenever they can through donating services to the project. The Environmental Discovery project has allowed people to devote positive energy to young people’s ideas. More than thirty community organizations and individuals have helped the school with both monetary and in-kind donations of labor and goods.
The students of the Environmental Discovery Project are truly unique. They have inspired implementation of sustainable practices at the local, state and national levels. They have spread awareness to over 6,000 students, teaching about water purity concerns and sustainability. They have raised over $200,000 in grants, awards and goods, a princely sum in the rural school district, and among many of their accolades are winners of the SCA Green Your School Contest. Most importantly, they are role models for student achievement. They spend a great deal of time traveling to other schools and programs helping other students set up programming in their own schools. These dedicated high school students have truly changed their world for the better and made their large mark on their school and community.