(Smithville, Texas) – Keep Texas Beautiful announced Smithville Elementary School as a winner of the 2011 Sadie Ray Graff Education Award on Friday, May 20. The Sadie Ray Graff Education Award is one of twelve categories in the Keep Texas Beautiful Youth & Educator Awards and recognizes the efforts of educators and educational institutions who encourage youth involvement and promote the Keep Texas Beautiful mission through environmental education.
The award honors Sadie Ray Graff, an educator in San Antonio, who began using the Waste In Place curriculum in 1979.
Each year, Keep Texas Beautiful recognizes the efforts of young people, educators and educational institutions that promote beautification, waste reduction and litter prevention through environmental education and community activism.
Seven years ago, Smithville Elementary (SES) began a "Grounds Crew" program that helped build pride in the school and helped clean school grounds for which students needed to apply. It was extremely successful and is still running. From this program, the Tutoring, Recycling, Environmental Organization (TREO), for which students must be nominated into the position of responsibility and trust, began about six years ago. This current school year was the first full year of the "Watt Watchers" program, and is the inaugural year of the "Junior Harvesters." The Junior Harvesters built garden beds, planted, tended and are now harvesting strawberries, lettuce, and so on. They are using the foods in the cafeteria and have sponsored taste testing for the campus and their parents in an open house. The Grounds Crew and TREO programs especially have a great impact on keeping the school beautiful by taking care of trash and recycling. From January 2010 to December 2010, a CAPCOG grant provided additional resources for their recycling program, which has stepped it up even more. Students are nominated to or apply for the positions each semester, and last year in the 5th grade alone (the grade at which most of these programs become available for student participation), out of 135 students, only 20 did not get involved.
Award winners will be recognized at KTB’s Youth & Educator Awards ceremony on Wednesday, June 22, at KTB’s 44th Annual Conference in Austin. A full list of award winners, as well as more information about the conference, can be found at www.ktb.org.
Keep Texas Beautiful, a statewide grassroots environmental and community improvement nonprofit, strives to educate and engage Texans to take responsibility for improving their community environment. KTB and its more than 360 affiliates work with government, businesses, civic groups, and volunteers to ensure that every Texan has the opportunity to make Texas the cleanest, most beautiful state in the nation. For more information on programs and events, call 1-800-CLEAN-TX or visit www.ktb.org.