Lipscomb Academy Elementary School has won the 2013 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award in the Excellence in Environmental Education category and was honored for the achievement and positive impact on the state’s natural resources in an awards ceremony on June 25. This honor marks the
second time Lipscomb Academy has garnered this prestigious statewide award, having previously won it in 2009.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau announced the winners of the 2013 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards on June 4.
The Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards program recognizes exceptional voluntary actions that improve or protect our environment and natural resources with projects or initiatives not required by law or regulation. In its 27th year, the program covers nine categories: Building Green; Clean Air, Energy and Renewable Resources; Environmental Education and Outreach; Environmental Education and Outreach (school category); Land Use; Materials Management; Natural Heritage; and Sustainable Performance.
A panel of 28 judges representing agricultural, conservation, and environmental professionals evaluated more than 100 nominations and selected this year’s award recipients based on criteria including on-the-ground achievement, innovation and public education.
“The continued health of Tennessee’s air, land and water plays a critical role in keeping our communities strong and attractive for locating a business or raising a family,” Haslam said. “Recognizing the innovative efforts that help conserve and protect our natural resources is important.”
Beginning in 2012, third-grade teachers and students at Lipscomb Academy Elementary School implemented a year-long project with several service learning components. The project, “Keep Our Water Clean,” focused students’ academic studies on environmentally safe disposal practices for unused prescription and over-the-counter medicines. Students studied the production of medications and engaged in several hands-on experiments, and learned that medications dumped into the landfill or flushed down the toilet leach into soil and remain in the water supply.
They subsequently made their findings public using a variety of media and venues. Finally, the third-graders collaborated with the Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy, Nissan North America, and the Nashville Police Department to host a Household Hazardous Waste collection event where 21,768 pills (163 pounds) were collected, preventing the medications from entering Nashville’s water supply. Throughout the project, students informed thousands of Nashvillians about the proper disposal of medications to prevent water pollution, antibiotic resistance, and medicine residue in soil and food products. The project received first place in Tennessee for Disney’s Planet Challenge, and ranked in the top eight projects in Disney’s national competition.
“At a very early age, LAES students understand that they have the ability to make a difference in the world around them. We are thrilled to have our students recognized for their efforts and impact in environmental stewardship,” said Jonathan Sheahen, Lipscomb Academy Elementary School Principal.
"Seeds in a garden, once planted and cared for, grow into fruitful plants. Likewise, we are cultivating the life-long appreciation of God's creation and the way we interact together in a positive way to make a difference. Change one child - change the family, change one family - change a community, change one community - change the world," said Ginger Reasonover, Lipscomb Academy Elementary School Science Coordinator, and Becky Collins, LAES Kindergarten Teacher, in a joint statement.