If we could give a gold star to the school with the most eco-friendly efforts for achieving sustainability through recycling, then it should go to Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School in Wisconson. The school was started some thirty years ago by a group of families who wanted a school centered on a strong sense of community, respect for nature, and appreciation for the value of service. Over the years, they’ve been supported through fundraising events, tuition, and gifts. It has grown to nearly 160 students ranging from kindergarten to 8th grade.
A local contractor recommended Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School to get in contact with Focus on Energy’s Small Business Program to turn the school’s structure into a more energy efficient building. The Small Business Program helped reduce the school’s energy use by removing incandescent lighting, retrofitting high efficiency fluorescent lamps, installing LED exit signs, adding pipe insulation, and light switch sensors for all bathrooms. In addition to saving money and energy usage, the school did not anticipate such a positive and active reaction from the community. As a result, the school continues to find more eco-friendly efforts to help achieve sustainability through recycling.
Spotlight question for Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School:
Why is recycling important to your school?
“Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School in Viroqua celebrates all ways that we as a school community can live healthier, more sustainable lives in our small, rural town in southwestern Wisconsin. The Plant Green recycling program has been a wonderful addition to our school and we deeply appreciate volunteer Angie Lemar’s initiative in starting and maintaining the program for our school. As a nonprofit K-8 school that must raise 25% of our budget each year in order to keep our school open to families of all economic levels, we appreciate programs like this which mirror our values and provide income to support our teachers, children and programs. The Planet Green recycling box is found prominently in our main office, so the recycling message is shown for all in our school community: children, parents, staff, and faculty.
Our emphasis on sustainability has existed throughout our 34 years and has included a range of activities- from our move into the former public grade school building in 1995 (recycling on a large scale!) to our recent work with E3 Coalition and the Wisconsin Focus on Energy program to retrofit lighting and add other energy efficient options to our building. We have a new Permaculture Greenspace and Outdoor Classroom of native and edible plants and a rain garden was created from an old asphalt road bed.
Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School is known for its innovative Organic Hot Lunch Program that is supported by our students growing food in our school garden, other local farmers and the Viroqua Food Co-op. We are lucky to live in Vernon County where one of the largest concentrations of organic farms exists in the entire country. Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School is blessed to have a supportive and healthy community in which our children grown and prosper.
Thank you to Planet Green for supporting our school and helping our community be more sustainable.”
-Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School
Angie using Planet Green’s recycling box in the school’s main office.
The school’s Greenspace and outdoor classroom!
Students planting garlic in the school’s garden.
Students waiting in line for their plate of a healthy, organic lunch.
As of October 2012, Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School has been recycling inkjets, cell phones, and other small electronics with Planet Green. If you would like to show your support, you can recycle on their behalf via http://planetgreenrecycle.com/prws.