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Nipher Middle School Named as First Place Winner in Statewide Green Schools Quest

Nipher Middle School in the Kirkwood School District was announced as the winner in the Middle School Division in the 15th annual Green Schools Quest competition. This annual competition is coordinated by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)-Missouri Gateway Chapter. USGBC challenges public and private schools within the chapter’s territory (Missouri and Southern Illinois) to devise and implement, with the help of Green Mentors, the most creative, effective, and no or low-cost sustainable practices for their schools. This year, 31 schools competed in the quest.

For their project, Nipher students set out to work on the school’s sustainability initiative by improving existing outdoor learning spaces. The sixth and seventh grade homeroom classes of Courtney Karr, Kim Breckenridge, Mark Banaszak and Dan Brady collaborated on ideas to improve the school’s outdoor spaces.

The group landed on the project: "A Year of Growth: Implementing Sustainability Through Homeroom Classes." The project involved four related areas of focus: chickens, vegetable gardens, a pollinator garden, and bees. Work began with fundraising efforts to build an expanded chicken enclosure and purchase new beehives. With the collected funds, the team got to work and installed low tunnels over raised beds to extend the growing season of vegetable crops and cleaned seeds of native plants before performing a seed stomp in the new pollinator garden.

The project took six months to complete. Thanks to their efforts, the Nipher community has a beautiful, sustainable learning space. “Our project highlighted the interconnectedness of our spaces and reinforced our role as global citizens,” said Courtney Karr, Nipher French teacher and Green Schools Quest co-lead teacher along with Kim Breckenridge. Nipher principal Dr. Laura Havener shared her praise for the group’s efforts, “As students collaborated to improve our outdoor spaces for our school community, they also made a positive impact on the earth and made strides toward our school sustainability goals.”

Nipher will receive a trophy and a $300 prize for continued school sustainability efforts.