LANSING —Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, presented the White Pine Award to Whitehall Middle School Friday for its outstanding environmental protection efforts.
Under the guidance of science teacher Susan Tate, students have made a positive impact by reducing the carbon imprint their school leaves on the environment through cutting energy costs and promoting tap water.
“Susan Tate’s innovative teaching style has allowed these students the unique opportunity to truly make a difference,” said Hansen, who chairs the Senate Committee on Outdoor Recreation and Tourism. “The Whitehall students and their project embody the true spirit of environmental stewardship and a devotion to long-term natural resource protection. Their dedication proves that this is more than just a class project; it is a commitment to community.”
After students recognized that a school building uses a large amount of energy, they began a project to reduce the carbon imprint that their school would have on the environment. Because they wanted this effort to continue, they created checklists for teachers to make sure their classrooms were conserving energy along with encouraging recycling within the school.
The group was also successful in having the week of March 4-10 recognized as “Michigan Drinks Tap Water” Week. Their strategy prompted interactions with the governor’s office, city of Whitehall and Whitehall Public School officials.
The Whitehall team was one of four first-prize winners of the Lexus Eco Challenge, a national competition designed to inspire young people to learn about the environment and improve it. The group was awarded a total of $25,000 in scholarships and grants. The students on the team are: Alaina Anderson, Brooke Bachelder, Elle Bachelder, Breann Comstock, Victoria Learman, Morgan Mitteer and Nathan McWhinnie.
Hansen said they are an example for others seeking to get involved.
“Let this White Pine tree serve as a reminder to future students, teachers and other community members to continue exercising the same sound conservation practices these students have started,” Hansen concluded.