WFAA·TV Project Green Eco-Educators Awards.
Voting starts on April 10 at 9 a.m.

Project Green will highlight North Texas eco-educators who have demonstrated innovation and creativity by executing a "green" initiative at their school. The goal of the Project Green Eco-Educators Awards is to celebrate school personnel who lead, create and execute projects that educate students and improve the quality of the environment.

A synopsis of each semi-final project will be posted and will be voted on for the "Viewers' Choice Award," on this page, starting at 9:00am CST on Monday, April 10, 2017 and ending at 11:59pm CST on Sunday, April 16, 2017. A panel of judges will select winners in all categories except "Viewers' Choice." One winner will be awarded in each category.

Winners and their projects will be highlighted on WFAA-TV and will receive cash prizes to further their efforts. Winners will also be highlighted on the Project Green Facebook page.


Nominee: Matthew Cook
School Name: Azle Elementary School
Project: Azle Elementary Design
Grade Category: K-5th Grades

Project Description: The kids were challenged to create a 3-d model of the rainwater harvesting or a rain garden and show how to create a permeable parking lot. The kids presented these results and models to the administration of Azle ISD and architects involved in the building the new Azle Elementary school. They had to explain what happens when water runs-off the parking lot surface, how new construction creates more run off water, how run off can pick up chemical pollutants on the road surfaces, how capturing rainwater can be a teaching tool for students to learn about conservation, and how using rain water to water native plants saves money, looks nice and is better for the plants.

Results: The architects were highly impressed with the knowledge and presentation given by these 5th graders. It is undetermined if their plans will be used at this time, but it was a great learning experience for the children.

Nominee: Natalie Dhanoolal Rubio
School Name: Newton Rayzor Elementary
Project: Cheryl Philips Outdoor Learning Environment
Grade Category: K-5th Grades

Project Description: The students at Newton Rayzor Elementary are considered at risk due to income and opportunities. The Cheryl Philips Outdoor Learning Center was created in 2004 but was not fully utilized until Mrs. Dhanoolal took the initiative to make it a real learning environment. She coordinated the school and local community to work in the area to bring it to the level where students could learn about the cycles of life. This includes plant cycle and animal cycles. Plants are studied from the perspective of uses of native Texas plants, food sources for humans and other animals, clean air systems. Rain water is captured through the water recycling system and is used to water the plants and the chickens. Live chickens are studied as food sources, fertilizer and to study the animal life cycle. Food sources are grown and eaten by the children. One kindergarten class grew a watermelon and a homeless person ate their watermelon. This gave the school the opportunity to talk about those in need and how some have more than others. This low income, IB school incorporates the importance of being green in their daily lessons and everyday systems, all lead by Mrs. Dhanoolal.

Results: Students have hands on daily activities in the outdoors and learn about conservation, renewable resources and their pros and cons and systems in both the plant life and animal life. The science scores increased from 57% passing to 68% passing in one year. Students produced food which was donated to the food bank and the school took on a section of the community garden because of their knowledge of growing food and feeding the hungry. This school is a great school, not due to test scores, but because the students are aware of their environment, are thinkers and problem solvers and act to help their school and communities daily. Mrs. Dhanoolal is a key leader in the school and works on a global basis to teach those outside her school community through the IB system.

Nominee: Daniel Kinkade
School Name: Perry Middle School
Project: Perry Growers Gardening and Nature Club
Grade Category: 6-8th Grades

Project Description: Perry Growers was created to provide stimulating learning opportunities for middle school students. Program has featured many diverse projects: the creation of a butterfly garden, a compost clinic, recycling program, trash pickup, planted plants that provide native habitat for bees and butterflies. An on-going project is campus beautification. Students recently planted 100 bulbs, and native wild flowers. Students created habitats for song birds. Perry Growers focuses on conservation, and growth--both on the campus and as individuals.

Results: Perry Growers is an on-going program specifically designed to introduce students to varied outdoor learning activities. Students from our suburban area learn that they can make a positive impact in our school, our neighborhood and our world.

Nominee: Richard Montejo
School Name: The Harmony School of Innovation
Project: Light Sensing Blind Closing Mechanism
Grade Category: 9-12th Grades

Project Description: The Light Sensing Blind Closing Mechanism opens and closes the window blinds according to the level of light coming in and turns the lights on or off accordingly. The LSBCM is a device designed to limit the amount of energy that is used for lighting during daylight hours. In other words, its saves money and energy by turning off artificial lights powered by electricity and allowing natural light from the sun to enter through the windows into the room to perform the task of lighting instead. Future plans include making the system itself solar powered as to conserve as much energy as possible.

Results: This project won a gold medal at the H-SEP and will be presented at the I_SWEEEP international competition in Houston in May.

Nominee: Annette Reese
School Name: Hebron High School
Project: Go Greener
Grade Category: 9-12th Grades

Project Description: Our school recycles paper but not plastic. Annette spent her own money to put plastic recycling containers in each classroom and her own time helping collect them. She got students involved in the pickup and more aware of the impact of plastic in the environment. She would love more funds to expand the plastic recycling to the 9th grade campus and get a plastic recycling dumpster on site because right now she's taking it herself.

Results: The amount of plastic containers used in HS is unbelievable and all that plastic is now recycled instead of in the trash (our oceans). Students have seen that their choices make an impact and that even one person can start a green movement, they just have to be willing to take the initiative.