Students Become First Green Schools Society Inductees

Students Become First Green Schools Society Inductees
A group of Pocomoke Middle School students are pictured on a property they helped to clean last month. Submitted Photo

POCOMOKE – A new student group is the latest in Pocomoke Middle School’s ongoing environmental stewardship efforts.

Pocomoke Middle School this month launched a chapter of the National Green Schools Society (NGSS). On April 24, 16 eighth graders were inducted into the group.

“The National Green Schools Society celebrates the academic achievement of students in the area of science in addition to their environmental activism in school and community,” said Karen McCabe, a science teacher at Pocomoke Middle. “This is the first chapter of NGSS in Worcester County.”

According to McCabe, NGSS is a program designed to give environmentally focused students a chance to increase their impact in school and in their communities. She said the program made sense for Pocomoke Middle because the school was already committed to helping the environment.

“Pocomoke Middle School has made environmental literacy and advocacy a priority in our building,” she said.

The school recycles paper, plastic, metal, glass, batteries, markers and small electronics. The school also established a Surfrider Club with the help of the Ocean City Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. Pocomoke students even presented data regarding water quality in the Pocomoke River at the Maryland Watershed Summit last year and at the Youth Environmental Action Summit this year.

The school also partnered with Delmarva Power to reduce its water and electricity usage through the “Energizing Education” program. Delmarva Power provided every student and adult at Pocomoke Middle with a kit that included LED lightbulbs, a high efficiency shower head, an aerator for faucets and a submersible digital thermometer to check the temperature of water coming from household water heaters.

Launching a chapter of NGSS was a logical next step in the school’s ongoing efforts to go green.

“We decided to establish an honor society to recognize eighth grade students for their contributions in the classroom and community,” McCabe said.

Sixteen students were admitted to NGSS based on their environmental knowledge, leadership skills, earthly stewardship and service to others. Several of them participated in Pocomoke Pride Clean Up Day April 27 and going forward, they’ll be planting trees and stenciling storm drains at Pocomoke Middle. They’ll also be among the Pocomoke students working with the Surfrider Foundation on a post-Memorial Day beach cleanup.

Principal Matthew Record says he’s proud of the fact that students have already started to take the environmental lessons they’ve learned through programs at school back into their community.

“I think as we prepare students to be successful out in the community part of that is environmental stewardship,” he said. “In order to be a 21st century learner students need to understand best practices in environmental science.”

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.