Green K-12

Third graders help coordinate one-stop drop-off for green-minded consumers on Nov. 15

As part of an annual study of earth science issues, the David Lipscomb Elementary School third graders are studying this month the negative effects of medications that get into landfills and the water supply. The students will cap off their study by coordinating a household and e-waste collection on Tuesday, Nov. 15, America Recycles Day, at the elementary school. More...

David Lipscomb Elementary collects more than 10,000 pounds of electronics at household waste collection

In its third annual household and hazardous waste collection in November, the David Lipscomb Elementary School students collected more than 10,000 pounds of electronic waste, 1 ton of newspaper and 6,000 pharmaceutical pills, among other things.

In 2008, the David Lipscomb third-graders held their first hazardous waste collection. In preparation, the students studied hazardous waste and recycling, including a visit to the Metro Public Works recycling plant and using Jello to simulate “toxic materials” to show how toxins seep down into the groundwater.

“The household waste collection benefits our elementary school students by showing them real-life applications to the information that they learned in class,” said Ginger Reasonover, one of the teacher who coordinated the students’ efforts.

In the 2010 collection, 90 elementary school students teamed up with 51 university and high school students, faculty and staff at Lipscomb to collect batteries, cell phones, fluorescent light bulbs, electronics and more.

Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy students came out to collect and count the unused and outdated medications.  Thirty-four cell phones were collected and donated to Cell Phones for Soldiers. The money collected from recycling the newspaper will benefit the elementary school’s Monarch Watch Program, which helps feed the people of Mexico.

“For the community, it not only provides an opportunity to dispose of their items, but it makes it convenient to do.   With the collection being in the local neighborhood, they were able to drive right in and our students unloaded their cars quickly and efficiently,” said Linda Phipps, associate professor of chemistry and sustainability.

The total amount of household waste collected was:

  • 10,364 pounds of electronic waste
  • 1 ton of newspaper
  • 6,000 oral pharmaceutical pills, plus assorted liquids and creams
  • 134 carloads of waste
  • 3,561 batteries
  • 34 cell phones
  • 64 fluorescent bulbs
  • 102 aluminum cans

David Lipscomb Elementary School receives 2009 Governor's Award for Excellence in Green Schools, K-12

The Governor's Award for Excellence in Green Schools - K-12 went to David Lipscomb Elementary in Nashville. David Lipscomb Elementary School has several outstanding elements in their approach to environmental education. One key element was the creation of a new outdoor classroom for students. The outdoor classroom includes an amphitheater, math patio, a human sundail, weather station, frog pond, birding equipment, rainwater collection system and an area for vegetables, butterflies, and Tennessee native plants. In addition to providing a publicly available recycling receptacle in their parking lot, the school also recycles plastics, aluminum, paper, cardboard, and does its own composting. Since January 2008, 30,000 pounds of mixed recyclables have been collected at Lipscomb and kept out of the landfill. Due to its many accomplishments, David Lipscomb Elementary School has achieved Performer Level in the Tennessee Pollution Prevention Program. It's the first K-4 school in Tennessee to attain highets-leverl Performer status. (Taken from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservations's Times and Trails newsletter, Volume 6, No. 4, June 2009 Special Issue.

Photo: (back l-r) Dr. Mike Hammond, David Lipscomb Campus School Headmaster;  Deputy Governor John Morgan; Ginger Reasonover, David Lipscomb Elementary School; TDEC Commissioner Jim Fyke;  Sharon Farmer,  David Lipscomb Elementary School Principal; TDEC Deputy Commissioner Paul Sloan;  (front l-r) Kennedy Winrow, 3rd grade student; Abigail McQueen, kindergarten student; Becky Collins, David Lipscomb Elementary School.

Campus school students decorate Green Expo with innovative green art

The Green Expo, April 2-4, not only explored the business side of the green movement, it also included a wonderful display of green art, created by the David Lipscomb Campus School and Belmont University art students.

From hard-hitting posters critical of ethanol, pollution and cloning (made by the Belmont students), to homemade pink paper flowers and green leaves for a tree (made by second-graders), the green art exhibit at the Expo captured the breadth of the environmental sustainability movement, adding some fresh creativity and vivid colors to the three-day event coordinated by the Lipscomb University Institute for Sustainable Practice.

David Lipscomb Elementary School students created collages in the shape of T-shirts from newspaper advertisements, such as ads for green products, said the elementary school art teacher Nancy Lochridge.

Lochridge also combined art with the science of nature by helping the elementary school students create paper from the pulp of a tree. The homemade paper became pink flowers and green leaves of a “second generation tree” displayed at the Expo.

“This was a great way to work a science project into an art creation.  The children loved it,” said Lochridge.

While on display at the Expo, each piece of art had its own explanation of what the artist was trying to convey about environmental sustainability. Many referenced the amount of waste and pollution the human race creates each day, from chop sticks to art supplies to junk cars.

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More green efforts at David Lipscomb Elementary School

Click here to read DLES student comments comments about Earth Day in the Tennessean.

Tennessee Pollution Prevention Partnership: Green School Performer

After a yearlong process, David Lipscomb Elementary school became only the third school in the state, and the first private school, to earn the top environmental status of “Green School Performer," from the Tennessee Pollution Prevention Partnership in May 2008. To achieve this status, the elementary school carried out:

  • An energy audit of the campus and had students use TVA home energy kits for their own audit at home
  • Continual recycling at the school and bins open to the public
  • Hydroponic gardening
  • On-site composting
  • A chemical audit and clean-out of the campus
  • Intentional efforts to use less paper
  • Sales of custom re-usable grocery bags to families
  • Re-usable plates and glasses now used in cafeteria
  • Did a traffic study to measure air pollution
  • Served as Monarch Watch Waystation, raising, tagging and monitoring Monarch butterflies
  • A newspaper collection where more than 7,500 pounds of newspaper was collected and then sold to purchase 100 tree seedlings to replace trees being clear cut in Mexico

Each year to sustain the “performer” status the elementary school picks one of the five state-designated “green” categories (such as land and water conservation, recycling or air quality) to focus on and complete a new project. The school is also involved in different community groups and act as a mentor to other schools trying to become greener.

Outdoor Classroom

David Lipscomb Elementary’s outdoor classroom, opened for use in April 2008, includes an amphitheater, a math patio, human sundial, weather station, frog pond, birding equipment, rainwater collection system, a Tennessee garden for native plants, and vegetable, butterfly, herb, and bulb gardens. The outdoor classroom brings many grade-level projects together in one central area for easy access. Classes are able to conduct experiments, make observations, record journal entries or enjoy a quiet chapel period. A rain garden project has begun for 2009 with water harvesting rain barrels.

Lipscomb elementary teachers and administrators participated in a Tennessee Department of Education video offering assistance in outdoor classroom planning and the benefits of outdoor education for schools across Tennessee; the Tennessee Outdoor Classroom Symposium met at the site last spring; Lipscomb teachers Ginger Reasonover and Becky Collins have presented at the 2009 Outdoor Classroom Symposium as well as the Tennessee Association of Independent Schools.

Monarch Watch Project

The study of Monarch butterflies began at David Lipscomb ten years ago when a teacher brought caterpillars into a pre-school classroom science center. That project led to participation in the annual tri-national tagging program. In the fall of 2007, 77 Monarchs were reared, tagged, and released from David Lipscomb’s kindergarten classrooms. Students and faculty have created a butterfly habitat with host and nectar plants as well as shelter and puddling areas. In 2008, David Lipscomb Elementary School was designated Monarch Waystation #1056 by Monarch Watch.

Since beginning Lipscomb Elementary's Monarch tagging project, more than 700 Monarchs have been reared and released from the campus. The butterflies travel more than 1,500 miles from the school to their wintering site in Mexico, and three of those tagged in 2003 were recovered in Mexico. 

The Monarch butterfly project has also aided in math through building calendar, counting, and graphing skills. The students built vocabulary and developed journaling skills by recording their observations. Mapping skills were used in geography as students learned to find their own home, as well as the place where the butterflies are going. Children practiced their Spanish as they wrote letters to pen pals and created paper butterflies in art for the international symbolic paper Monarch migration. 

David Lipscomb’s butterfly gardens and Monarch project have inspired several groups to join the fun. Kindergarten teacher, Becky Collins, has been invited to give Monarch seminars at Otter Creek Church of Christ, Woodmont Christian Day School, Grassland Elementary School, and the Nashville, TN chapter of the National Butterfly Association of America.


Recycling at David Lipscomb Elementary

  • Kindergartners remove pull tabs from aluminum cans and send them to the local Ronald McDonald house to support families with seriously ill children in area hospitals. The cans are then sold at a recycle facility for $.37 per pound. This money is donated to Monarch Watch to further the science of Monarch migration study and help improve the economic status of Mexican families living near overwintering sites.
  • In 2008, the school collected over 7,500 pounds of newspaper to recycle, and proceeds went to purchase 100 new tree seedlings to replace trees lost in the Monarch butterfly refuge in Mexico.
  • In Fall 2008, the students held a hazardous waste collection, gathering up about 1,000 batteries, 25 fluorescent light bulbs, 6 cell phones and medications (about 2,000 pills) from the community.
  • Since January 2008, 30,000 pounds of mixed recyclables have been diverted from a landfill by the school (as of March 2009).

Environmental Education

Students at David Lipscomb have long been active in Environmental education. Each grade level emphasizes specific aspects of natural science, including the life cycles of ants, butterflies, chicks, and frogs, animal habitats, migration, plant growth, natural resources, and recycling. All of these topics are used in a cross-curricular manner as topics for journaling, art projects, technology research, census-taking, and surveys. David Lipscomb Elementary School is listed on the Environmental Education in Tennessee website ( as a model school.

To meet state Green School standards, the school picked one of the five state-designated categories to focus on in each grade from kindergarten to fourth grade.

  • Kindergartners focus on waste reduction as well as participating in the Monarch butterfly program and developing a rain garden.
  • First graders focus on land and water conservation.
  • Second graders focus on air quality in interactive labs.
  • Third graders focus on hazardous waste by conducting a community household hazardous waste pick up day.
  • Fourth graders focus on energy conservation.