Clawson's Schalm Elementary earns top 'green' program designation

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From the youngest kids to the oldest, there is one common theme at Schalm Elementary In Clawson: Everyone's thinking green.

"I think it's important to teach kids about the environment and how to treat it and how to be respectful and responsible to our planet," said teacher Marji Oberer.

Schalm Elementary has earned the coveted "evergreen" designation by the State of Michigan.

That is the highest status in the state, which means the school participates in more than 20 green activities.

Oberer teaches at Schalm and started the green program seven years ago.

It started with recycling paper and then electronics, and then more projects grew from there.

"We also encourage the kids to have “Trashless Tuesdays” which are lunches that have the least amount of trash that you can," she said.

Fourth grader Jackson Sines has taken away a lot of lessons when it comes to preserving the earth.

"Recycling is really important because if you don't recycle, all of your things that could be recycled and join them with the things that are trash and they could go to the landfills," he said. "If you recycle paper, like you don't have to cut down as many trees."

Sines, as well as other older elementary students, have made recycling part of their everyday lives.

"The kids who help us recycle, they start telling each other, 'Wait, this was in the trash and it should have been in the recycle bin,' and they'll pull paper scraps and put them in the recycle bin," Oberer said.

And it looks like the younger generation is already thinking green as well.

"Reduce reuse and recycle

Two other Clawson schools have been recognized by the state.

Clawson High School has earned "emerald" status and Clawson Middle School is recognized as a "green school."