Isabella Pardales, a senior from Yarmouth High School, was the winner of the GreenAllies 2017 National Challenge.
GreenAllies, a national nonprofit based in Pennsylvania, empowers and supports students to innovate and lead environmental sustainability efforts. The National Challenge is a contest that has students around the country compete in a contest by taking the initiative on creating and leading a sustainability project.
Pardales’ project is a campaign that would help educate students about the benefits of using reusable water bottles instead of plastic water bottles.
Pardales dubbed her project Take Back the Tap.
In her presentation, Pardales laid down some facts and statistics. “Not selling bottled water for one day in the cafeteria meant that over 50 individual bottles would not enter the waste stream,” said Pardales. “Over 150 reusable water bottles sold to students will result in less individual bottles entering the waste stream.”
At first, Pardales wanted her project to be about eliminating bottled water sales at her school, but according to her school’s cafeteria director, it was not economically feasible to do so.
“Bottled water is a large source of revenue for our cafeteria and a complete ban on its sale was not economically feasible this year,” said Pardales. She added, “I worked closely with our nutrition director to assess the financial impact a full ban would have and we decided to focus primarily on increasing student participation in the cafeteria in order to be able to one day facilitate a full ban.”
When confronted with challenges, Pardales had GreenAllies for support. She spoke about the guidance she received from the organization.
“My mentor Venus was extremely supportive of my endeavors and always pushed me to think one step ahead. She understood the challenges I faced and helped me to tackle them head on,” said Pardales. “She encouraged me to involve the community outside of my school as much as possible when planning events like a film screening,” she added.
Although the campaign was about educating the community, Pardales said she also learned a lot from the project.
“This project solidified for me my interest in environmental activism,” she said.
“I have volunteered on many campaigns, attended many trainings, and participated in many direct actions, but never have I initiated a campaign on my own. It required a different level of participation, organization, and focus that I was used to. I hope to continue initiating campaigns similar to Take Back the Tap at college and beyond.”
Parades definitely left a mark in her community with Take Back the Tap. “Prior to Take Back the Tap there was little, if any, discussions about plastic bottle usage on campus,” Pardales said.” This project also had a visual impact on my school and community … I now see Take Back the Tap stickers on reusable water bottles both in school and out,” she said.
Two first-grade teachers, Josh Olins and Cathlyn Langston, worked with the Falmouth Land Trust this past school year to install new water stations at the elementary school.
The goal was to teach students about resource conservation, particularly reducing single-use plastic water bottles.
Over the last decade Olins, in particular, has been on a mission to reduce waste and increase energy efficiency at Falmouth Elementary.
“We all watch kids trying to re-fill water bottles at traditional drinking fountains and see water going all over the place and making a mess on the floors. Clearly, there needed to be a better way,” Olins said.
Along with the water stations, the land trust also installed a large poster that demonstrates how the water cycle works, which helps students appreciate where their water comes from.
“This was a very synergistic, collaborative effort that supports our school, the environment and our community,” Jennifer Grimm, executive director of the land trust, said.
Yarmouth teen chosen for exchange scholarship to Germany
Sophie Walsh, a high school student from Yarmouth, has been selected for the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange scholarship, which funds an academic year of high school study and cultural immersion in Germany for a select group of American students. The CBYX program is funded jointly by the U.S. Congress and the German Bundestag as a symbol of the special economic and political relationship between America and Germany. Walsh was one of only 250 students nationwide to receive the scholarship. She will be spending the 2017-18 academic year living with a German host family and attending a local high school in Germany.
Walsh was selected for CBYX for her academic qualifications, cultural open-mindedness, and motivation, serving as a youth ambassador representing the United States. Past participants have had opportunities to meet with the President of the German Bundestag, as well as leaders of the Bundestag and members of the U.S. Congress.
Created in 1983 during the President Ronald Reagan’s Administration, CBYX strengthens U.S.-German relations by forging lasting ties of deeper understanding.
To learn more about CBYX visit www.usagermanyscholarship.org.
Students at Falmouth Elementary School drink up after two new water stations were installed with the help of the Falmouth Land Trust. Clockwise are Louisa Padwe, Charles Padwe and Wilson Langston.
A project by Yarmouth High School senior Isabella Pardales that educates students about the benefits of using reusable water bottles has won national recognition.