99 Green Apple Day of Service projects you can start right now

Published on: 
12 Sep 2014
Author: 
Emily Riordan

Still wondering how you can be a part of this year’s Green Apple Day of Service?

Have your event all planned out for Sept. 27, and looking for more to do?

Here are 99 ideas that anyone can implement at their school or campus. Yes, anyone. 

In this list you’ll see ideas for teachers, parents, volunteers and students at any grade level, from pre-kindergarten through college and beyond. Pick one, pick two, pick two dozen!

Let us know which one is your favorite in the comments, sign up the ones you’ll take on at mygreenapple.org.

Educate

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  1. Create posters that will showcase green aspects of a (school) building.
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  3. Create a planter from plastic bottles.
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  5. Create signage to conserve energy to be posted in halls and classrooms.
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  7. Have all your classmates sign a pledge to avoid using disposable plastic water bottles.
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  9. Create signage about how to pack a healthy, zero-waste lunch.
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  11. Educate my classmates about the LEED green building rating system.
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  13. Make a presentation on sustainable living to younger students.
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  15. Choose your favorite sustainability book and read it to an elementary school class (examples: The Lorax by Dr. Seuss or Don’t Throw That Away)
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  17. Draw a poster explaining the wastewater filtration system.
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  19. Test different materials for water filtration capacity, such as grass, stones, cotton balls, and more.
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  21. Host a competition among fellow students to draw the ideal green school.
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  23. Create a set of questions and host green school jeopardy for my class.
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  25. Coordinate a how-to book on sustainable living where each student in a class contributes one page of the book using recycled materials.
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  27. Create a green (or get greener) feature scavenger hunt on my campus.
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  29. Create a series of Facebook and Twitter posts containing environmental facts, articles, and videos.
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  31. Build a team of “sustainability captains” in my class or at my school.
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  33. Develop a charter for a sustainability club at my school.
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  35. Develop a short presentation about opportunities to improve my school and deliver it to my campus leaders.
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  37. Teach my parents about an environmental initiative happening at my school.
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  39. Ask school partners from the community to join us for Green Apple Day of Service.
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  41. Research and write a “tip of the week” to be more environmentally responsible, and create a timeline for each tip to be shared.
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  43. Create a spreadsheet, survey, or app for students to track their carbon footprints. 

Take it outside

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  1. Plant a tree to promote habitat restoration.
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  3. Plant species that are native to your geography.
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  5. Find my favorite tree on campus and write a poem about it, then share with fellow classmates.
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  7. Find my favorite green space on campus and sketch a picture of it, then share with classmates.
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  9. Create a no idling campaign for cars and busses at drop off/pick up, including signage.
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  11. Lead an effort to clean up the sidewalks surrounding campus.
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  13. Create a list of the best outdoor spaces on my campus that inspire me.
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  15. Lead a team of students to take photos of areas on campus that might be made healthier, safer, or more efficient, and create a list of ways to improve them.
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  17. Plant herbs like basil, cilantro or mint in a recycled container and maintain it in my classroom.
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  19. Create a competition to draw the ultimate outdoor classroom.
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  21. Design a new outdoor, shaded area for learning, studying and playing.
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  23. Plant a small vegetable garden with help from parents, friends and neighbors.
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  25. Plant vines (grapes, beans, or other similar plants) on railings.

Waste not

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  1. Create signs to improve recycling education on campus, to be posted on or near bins.
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  3. Add a recycling and composting bin to my classroom.
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  5. Design a recycled materials arts-and-crafts project for younger students.
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  7. Map all of the trash, recycling, composting bins on my campus, and make sure they’re in place for optimum use.
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  9. Make signs encouraging use of and explaining the benefits of hand dryers in bathrooms and/or facts about paper towel consumption.
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  11. Create a recycling game or relay race to educate fellow students about recycling.
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  13. Assemble trash free meal kits using only reusable containers for food, drink, utensils, and snacks.
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  15. Create a poster demonstrating how the composting process works.
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  17. Create a waste management system (or a series of bins) to use at home.
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  19. Make a plan to collect recyclables from an athletics, performance or other afterschool event.
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  21. Draw a concept diagram showing where waste, recyclables, and composting goes when each group of materials is taken from campus.
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  23. Organize a zero-waste school dance.

Conserve energy

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  1. Recruit my teacher to teach a “lights-off class” for one or more days.
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  3. Organize a field day of activities like flying a kite that are fun but don’t require any electricity.
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  5. Organize a Friday campus walkthrough to ensure lights are powered down for the weekend.
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  7. Check for energy saving power strips or plug in light bulbs into light sensor outlets.
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  9. Create a display that shows the amount of energy used at school every day/week/month, and translate the energy used into the equivalent number of households or cars.
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  11. Use a light meter to look for areas that are more brightly lit than needed, and work with facilities department to explore de-lamping options.
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  13. Create a substantive greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory for the school using the EPA’s Climate CHECK software (recommended for high school students).
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  15. Invite energy auditors to check on school building energy usage, and shadow the auditors during their visit.
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  17. Create a home energy audit with 10 steps to make your home more green.
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  19. Craft light switch plate stickers reminding people to turn off the lights when they aren’t needed.
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  21. Create a map of energy use in the school using simple tools (e.g., watt meter, light meter) and then generate suggestions for conservation in different locations. 

Save water

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  1. Ask students to document their water usage for 1 day (and engage their parents).
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  3. Decorate a reusable water bottle and pledge to use it every day for a full month.
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  5. Create a water fixture inventory for my campus.
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  7. Create a demonstration of the amount of water used every day per person at school.
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  9. Create a lesson plan for my parents about water usage at home.
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  11. Launch a campaign to take 1 shower per day for only 2 minutes.
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  13. Organize a field trip to a water treatment facility in your community.
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  15. Interview the manager of the wastewater treatment facility, on video.
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  17. Design a rain barrel using only recycled materials.
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  19. Build your own shower timers to take home (out of recycled materials).
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  21. Design and plant a small a rain garden near a drainage area on campus.
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  23. Create a map of water fountains on the campus or locations where I would want water fountains – or bottle refilling stations!
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  25. Paint a map of the watershed as a mural and write an explanation about its significance.
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  27. Create a water filter to install in rain gutters at my school.

Indoor improvements

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  1. Conduct an all-hands-on-deck classroom clean up (to tackle dust).
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  3. Create a “biophilic” craft or brainstorm on how to bring the outside in to my class.
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  5. Bring plants in the classrooms and create a schedule for watering.
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  7. Conduct an indoor air quality checklist/audit (American Lung Association and the EPA have great tools).
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  9. Install a green wall on campus using recycled water bottles and wire on a chain link fence.
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  11. Conduct a classroom light bulb audit.
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  13. Take an inventory of potentially toxic cleaning materials and suggest green products in their place.
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  15. Make signs about the value of daylighting and when and why curtains should stay open.
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  17. Create a green cleaning kit for teachers to share and borrow in their classrooms.
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  19. Research ideas to mask the bathroom smell (good) without the use of chemicals.

Contests and showcases

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  1. Host an organic food cooking contest.
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  3. Host a local food cooking contest.
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  5. Organize a recycled material fashion design contest and show.
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  7. Coordinate a found material craft contest and art show.
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  9. Create a contest to design furniture using only recycled PET plastic.
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  11. Build model green school (with recycled materials or building materials/toys).
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  13. Organize a green scavenger hunt on campus or in the community.
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  15. Write your own earth-friendly story to share in your school library.

Watch, listen and learn

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  1. Create a “Why I’m Inspired” wall matching environmental commitments to what about our planet inspires you.
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  3. Watch informative short videos from the Center for Green Schools.
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  5. Create a sustainability-themed short film, documentary, infomercial or music video.
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  7. Create a jingle for an environmental-themed commercial for your school.
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  9. Watch TED Talks about the environment.
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  11. Host a movie night of environmental documentaries, such as Inconvenient Truth11th Hour or others.
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  13. Start a sustainability radio show.
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  15. Watch the USGBC Youtube Channel and write a paragraph about what you learned.
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  17. Host an outdoor movie screening featuring an environmental-themed movie or documentary.

Register your project today