News Release, Charles County Public Schools

The Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE) Maryland Green School program recently named Henry E. Lackey High School as a 2019 Maryland Green School. Lackey completed a two-year application process earlier this year to achieve Green School certification.  

To become certified, schools must demonstrate a continuous effort to enhance environmental learning. These efforts include the integration of sustainable best management practices and environmental issues into class activities and instruction, and professional development opportunities for staff. Schools must also demonstrate conservation practices and evidence of existing community partnerships that help enhance environmental learning.

Lackey joins several other Charles County certified Green Schools. Schools completing the recertification process this year are Dr. James Craik and Gale-Bailey elementary schools, and General Smallwood Middle School.

Other Charles County Green Schools include Arthur Middleton, Dr. Samuel A. Mudd, J.C. Parks, and William B. Wade elementary schools, Theodore G. Davis, Milton M. Somers and Piccowaxen middle schools, and North Point and Westlake high schools. The Nanjemoy Creek Environmental Education Center also is a certified Maryland Green Center. Certified Green Schools and Green Centers are required to complete the recertification process every four years.

To start the process of becoming a Green School, Lackey staff formed a Green Committee that met monthly to discuss activities and ideas in which the school could enhance green learning. Staff also helped to revitalize the environmental club for students. In the club, students explore programs and ways they can help to reduce harm to the environment. Lackey also has a strong recycling program in which students help to empty classroom bins weekly.

Rachael Rizor is a science teacher at Lackey and spearheaded the school’s Green School application process. She credits both students and staff for helping to enhance schoolwide environmental practices.

“We are committed to making a difference in four sustainable practices: energy conservation, solid waste reduction, environmental learning and water conservation” Rizor said.

To conserve energy, the school holds “Natural Light Fridays” in which staff and students are reminded to turn off the lights when they leave a room. To promote solid waste reduction, students and staff stepped up their recycling efforts, including holding a shoe drive and collecting old cell phones. Lackey has a greenhouse on school grounds that Rizor said was revamped to demonstrate environmental learning. Lackey teachers also utilize other areas of school grounds for outdoor learning opportunities and post conservation reminders in all bathrooms, urging students to conserve water.

Additionally, Lackey staff have developed partnerships with the Alice Ferguson Foundation and the Nanjemoy Creek Environmental Education Center to offer hands-on field studies for students to learn about environmental literacy.

Rizor said both students and staff plan to continue schoolwide environmental efforts. “We are extremely excited and honored to receive this accolade. We plan to continue to improve our school’s ecological footprint in the years to come,” she said.

The Green School designation recognizes schools for using resources to educate students and staff on environmental changes in Maryland, modeling environmental practices in building and landscape design, and demonstrating how to maintain these practices.

All Maryland schools achieving Green School certification will be recognized May 30 at the annual Maryland Green Schools Youth Summit at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis. Each school receives a Green School flag and county citations. The program was founded 20 years ago to help foster a student-led approach to learning that incorporates local environmental issue investigation and teacher professional development with environmental best practices and community stewardship.  

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...