The Greenbuild International Conference and Expo is being held in Philadelphia this week, and Cook-Wissahickon is a featured school campus! This international conference and exposition for architects, planners, educators, and landscape architects focuses on green building and will provide a half-day tour including Cook-Wissahickon school to showcase our storm water management program, native plants and sustainability education on Friday, November 22, from 2:00-6:00. To sign up for the event, click on this link and look for this session: TF09: The ABC’s of LEED: Achieving High Performance in Urban School Districts
This tour comes on the heels of Cook-Wissahickon winning the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Community Greening Award this fall, which will be awarded this December, as well as receiving a Pennsylvania Energy Efficient School Award for our landscaping, energy savings, and environmental education last summer.
How did we get here? It’s been an intensive community effort over the last five years.
Cook Wissahickon’s Green Committee (a/k/a the Wissahickon Sustainability Council), has worked for several years helping transform the school and its grounds into an environmentally friendly and more sustainable campus. Formed in 2008, the WSC consists of parents, teachers, neighbors, and local partners, such as the Schuylkill River Project, the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, TD Bank, the Delaware Valley Green Building Council (DVGBC), the Philadelphia Water Department, and Councilman Curtis Jones’s office.
Looking around our school, you will notice many of WSC’s accomplishments and projects underway: a native magnolia grove adjacent to the parking lot, two raised bed gardens, a “tree nursery” in the kindergarten yard, trees planted around the school perimeter with the the help of Philadelphia Tree Tenders, and a native plant garden and meadow at the front of the school funded by the Schuylkill River Restoration Project and Councilman Jones’s office. The purpose of these projects is to develop an outdoor classroom, manage stormwater (thereby reducing flooding and improving Philadelphia’s drinking water), attract wildlife, and extend the habitat of nearby Fairmount Park.
Inside of Cook-Wissahickon, WSC has promoted health and wellness programs including Fuel Up to Play, a Wellness Council, healthy snacks and lunches, and a new energy conservation program. Cook-Wissahickon was 1 of 3 schools selected by the school district and DVGBC to implement this program. Over the course of this school year, students and volunteers aim to reduce the amount of energy used, conserve paper and other resources, improve drinking water, and promote health and wellness.
Because of all of these efforts over the past few years, Cook-Wissahickon was 1 of 5 schools nominated by the school district in 2012 and 2013 as a “Green Ribbon School.” You can contribute to the greening of Cook-Wissahickon by joining WSC, which meets once a month and gathers at the school as needed to complete projects, or be available for weeding and cleaning up the grounds when we need a helping hand. Contact Jeanne Ortiz at dojbo1[AT]hotmail[DOT]com. Look for updates on our progress here on this website, through parent packets, and at Home and School Association meetings (and visit our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/WissahickonSustainabilityCouncil).