Front Page News
Esteeming Yaundalyn Perry Ebron
A Prince George's County Environmental Hero
Hey Fam!! This has truly been an awesome year for me. God has been ordering my steps all of my life. He placed me in Mrs. Writter's 5th grade class and I am forever changed because of it. It was in her class that I learned about the three R's: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. She gave us cute magnets and challenged us to educate our parents about the three R's. I did it so well that mom hated to see me coming. I was the recycling police in our home. I eventually became a Science educator who also teaches Environmental Science. As a result of hard work and listening to God, my colleague and I have helped the Science department at my school become one to talk about.
At the beginning of the school year my Principal asked me and a colleague to work on a grant for our Greenhouse. My colleague and I put in countless hours to write the grant. What we came up with was a program we like to call "Food that Fuels: A Community Cupboard." This grant surrounds the vision of providing space for our school community to grow fresh and healthy food close to home. Potomac High School (PHS) sits on the southern edge of Prince George's (PG) County, alongside the south-east border of Washington DC, known for its food deserts and food insecurity. Access to full-service grocery stores are miles away from portions of our population. The school's greenhouse will be used as a community garden which will not only improve food access in Food Science classes, but can also extend to the offering in the school’s cafeteria. Additionally, the greenhouse community garden will provide the space for social change in the school culture and promote positive social changes for generations to come. My colleague and I sent in the grant and was awarded $50,000 to complete our project.
Later in the year I became a Coach for the Environmental Team at school. This is an Environmental academic competition that asks questions about all things related to Wildlife, Waste Reduction, Forestry, Soils, and Aquatics. Out of the 12 High Schools that participated (we have 29 high schools in our district), my school came in 2nd. We were so happy because we beat out schools that have specialty programs in Science.
The year continued with us becoming more Green. Under the leadership of my colleague and I we were awarded the designation of being a MD Green School. This means we are doing things school-wide to improve our environmental practices. Did you know that many Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) communities are disproportionately burdened by exposure to traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) and other environmental hazards associated with industrial activity. As a result of this information I am partnering with the University of MD to become a research site for Air Quality. This will allow the University to collect data to support the hypothesis that low-wealth individuals and people of color are exposed to more air
pollution in Prince George’s County compared to their White and more affluent counterparts.
We also expanded our Recycling program and will also begin a Composting program in the fall. We will raise Mussels to assist in cleaning up our local rivers, and we will grow Wild Rice to help improve the wetlands of MD.
All of the hard work paid off at the end of the school year. My school system has about 20,000 employees. Out of that number, 20 employees were honored for being Environmental Unsung Heroes at the Environmental Awards. I was so shocked that my colleague and I were on the list. I am truly thankful they saw the hard work of our Green Team.
Family … if you are recycling … continue your efforts. If you are not, please consider starting small and recycle just cans, then graduate to cans and paper. Eventually you will find yourself in the habit of reducing the amount of waste you send to the landfill and increasing the amount of recyclable waste you send to the recycling center.