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Four KSD Schools Place in Annual Green Schools Quest

Kirkwood Early Childhood Center and Kirkwood High School Named as First Place Winners in State-Wide Green Schools Quest

Nipher Middle and North Middle Tie for Second Place

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)-Missouri Gateway Chapter challenged public and private schools within the chapter’s territory (Missouri and Southern Illinois) to devise and implement, with the help of Green Mentors, the most creative, effective and no or low-cost sustainable practices for their schools. This year, over 3,000 students and 180 faculty and staff were directly involved in this year’s Green Schools Quest projects. 

The Kirkwood School District (KSD) had six schools participate: Kirkwood Early Childhood Center, Keysor Elementary School, Westchester Elementary School, Nipher Middle School, North Middle School and Kirkwood High School.

The projects were judged and winners were announced at the 12th Annual Green School Event at the Missouri History Museum. 

KECC was announced as the winner of the elementary school category and Kirkwood High School was announced as the winner of the high school category.  Nipher Middle School and North Kirkwood Middle School tied for the middle school category.

On Monday, May 6, Hope Gribble from USGBC presented plaques, certificates and cash prizes to the KSD schools who placed.

Following is a recap of each school’s project that placed:

Kirkwood Early Childhood Center (1st Place Elementary School)

Project title: The Rise of the Compost Captains
School Team Sponsor: Christa Payton

Students at KECC learned about the environmental impacts of not composting. A group of students became “Composting Captains”. The captains went around KECC classrooms after lunch with bins to collect the compost. The compost was dumped into composting receptacles, and the bins were delivered to the KECC Cafeteria staff. To date, the Compost Captains have collected over 8,000 pounds of food.

For winning, representatives from KECC were presented a $600 check which will go toward future sustainability programs at KECC.

Kirkwood High School (1st Place High School)
Project title: KHS Waste Reduction
School Team Sponsor: Mandy Melton
Mentor: Greg Williams, Siemens

Kirkwood High School seniors in the Environmental Sustainability class opted into this class with the shared desire to make a positive difference and legacy on KHS. Each student worked on an individual project and submitted them collectively to the Green Schools Quest.  Projects include hydroponic watering systems to increase plants on campus and within classrooms to improve air quality; tapping maple trees for maple sugar; increase biodiversity for birds and bugs on campus by building “bug hotels” and pollinating insects on campus; and working on solar-powered WiFi router, so classes can take technology devices outside, without losing connection to the internet.

For winning, representatives from KHS were presented a $600 check which will go toward future sustainability programs at KHS.

North Kirkwood Middle School (2st Place Middle School)
Project title: NKMS Ecology Class Single Use Plastics
School Team Sponsors: Chris Hooker (Primary), and Jason Moore, Alli Hormberg, Kristin Siebert, Orly Pimsberg, and Pamela Sigsby.

North Kirkwood Middle School sought to impact their school and community more sustainable by impacting how students, parents and the community viewed single use plastics. The students completed four projects, The Straw Wars, Greenusable Bags, Chicken Fence, and Downtown Kirkwood Recycling Bins.

For Straw Wars, the students devised a campaign to raise. Awareness about plastics in the environment and reduce single-use plastic straw consumption by students, parents, and the community. Nearly 200 students, parents and staff members at NKMS pledged not to use plastic straws, and the group sold reusable metal straws during various NKMS events and Kirkwood community businesses.

The students in the Reusable Grocery Bag Campaign encouraged people to “Just Say No” to plastic bags. Students first created an awareness campaign about the number of plastic bags used, along with their environmental impact. Students sold NKMS Greenusable Bags to the community and partnered with area businesses. By using a bag at local stores, community members were eligible for raffle prizes. The students also asked for pledges to say no to using plastic bags.

The students in the Resuable Chicken Fence group identified the need to contain the chickens in a safe area for two reasons: the chickens were making a mess making the courtyard space limited, and chickens were getting eaten by hawks. The students designed a fencing space, built by plastic bottles that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

Students working in the Downtown Kirkwood Recycling Bins group noticed there were only two recycling bins in the entire downtown Kirkwood area. Students presented to Downtown Kirkwood Director. Office staff shared they have tried to get recycling bins, but it’s been difficult as recycling containers get contaminated from individuals not recycling properly. The students will continue educational efforts for the community.

For the second-place tie, representatives from NKMS were presented a $200 check which will go toward future sustainability programs at NKMS.

Art and Sustainability “What if There Were No Pollinators?”
School Team Sponsor: Ellen Holley


Nipher students in the 8th grade Art & Sustainability class explored ways to combine art and ecology this fall. After reading 101 Ways to Green Your School, three ideas bubbled up from the group: upcycling furniture, creating habitat, and improving water efficiency. The group focused on the first two ideas, combining them to develop our project. Throughout the semester, the students completed a project that met our original objective: to use art to educate others about the importance of pollinators and their habitat.

For the second-place tie, representatives from Nipher were presented a $200 check which will go toward future sustainability programs at Nipher.

Other KSD schools submitting a project include:

How Can We Improved What is Already Being Done?
School Team Sponsors: Cindy Voller

Westchester students in Mrs. Voller’s 5th grade REACH class were the building leaders for this year’s quest. The group wanted to continue sustainability efforts at Westchester. The students worked to enhance current sustainability efforts at Westchester. Some projects included improving the chicken coop, introducing beehives to the campus, and enhanced green spaces by planting a sensory garden and native pollinator garden.

Keysor Elementary
Project title: Pollinator Pantry Project
School Team Sponsor: Robin Wellman

The seed for this year’s project was planted when staff members attended a local workshop about gardening for pollinators. Staff became inspired to involve our whole school by setting sights on becoming “Pollinator Pantry Certified” through the St. Louis County Parks.  This project brought the entire school community together with a shared mission to meet the needs of pollinators in outdoor spaces. Keysor administration, staff, kids, and families became involved in a variety of ways.

At the beginning of the project, Keysor was not certified as a Pollinator Pantry Site and only two of the six grades, first and second, had plans to teach about pollinators this school year. At the completion of the project, Keysor will be certified by St. Louis County Parks in May 2019 as a Pollinator Pantry Site. Also, at the end of the project, every single grade level, art, music, PE, library, Girl Scouts, and gifted class, has planned and implemented instructional activities focused on pollinators.