Education about sustainability and how to build in energy saving ways is the foundation for our work at GreenTown. Luckily teachers think Greensburg is a great educational town, so we lead many school tours each year. In December, a group of students from the Barton County came for a GreenTour as part of a school trip. The 24 elementary school students, who came from schools in Great Bend, Ellinwood, Hoisington, and Otis, are all members of a gifted program in the area.
I sat down with one of their teachers, Martha Wondra, and asked her what influenced her decision to bring her students to Greensburg. She said her primary objective in bringing her students to Greensburg was to let her students experience sustainability in action. Wondra believes that being green is the future and she hopes that her students cultivate an appreciation for natural resources. The desired outcome for Wondra is that the students' trip to Greensburg will have a “ripple effect,” affecting the way her students think and act regarding the environment, which in turn will affect their peers’ thoughts and actions.
The students had a quick tour around town, starting off in The Big Well, then visiting our Silo Eco-Home, after which they took a tour of Kiowa County Schools, where they ate lunch. They wrapped up their day in the Kiowa County Commons visiting the Museum, Media Center, and Soda Fountain. As the students recouped at the Soda Fountain after their busy day, I asked them about their experience in Greensburg.
Many students were impressed with The Big Well, referencing the descent into the well with enthusiasm. Others were impressed that a wind turbine powers most of the school, adding that they are glad that Greensburg is not using nuclear power. Greensburg's repurposing efforts caught the eye of some students, who were pleased at the efforts to reuse items instead of throwing them away. A final sentiment, stated by one student, but affirmed by many more, was, “I want to move to Greensburg, move into the [Silo Eco-Home] and I would go to the Soda Fountain every day!” This sentiment reminds me how wonderful it is to live in a place where the entire town is a tourist attraction by virtue of the green rebuild. Hopefully the children’s experience in Greensburg at this formative age will allow them to initiate the green ripple effect throughout their entire lives.