Reducing North Point High School’s Carbon Footprint

Water Hydration Station

Water Hydration Station

Have you heard a student ever talk about their school’s carbon footprint? Have they spoken about a school going green? This topic seems to be something looked past by the average student. Today, being aware about the environment is more important than ever. Carbon emissions are constantly on the rise. People and communities are now working together more and more to try and reduce carbon emissions in an effort of save the environment.  

North Point High School has been working on, and still is working on, reducing its own carbon footprint. North Point is an Ocean Guardian School, the first in Maryland. They have currently earned five NOAA Ocean Guardian School banners which has made NPHS the first school on the East Coast to earn five banners. As an Ocean Guardian School, new projects, opportunities, learning programs, and more environmental practices are provided to its students. The National Marine Sanctuaries site states that an Ocean Guardian School “provides project(s) for students related to the conservation of local watersheds, the world’s ocean, and/or special ocean areas, like National Marine Sanctuaries,” and “provides ways for classrooms to promote best environmental practices within local communities, while at the same time projecting a positive image of the school itself.” 

Ms. Lolita Cariaso Kiorpes, a science teacher at North Point, shared some of the projects that North Point Ocean Guardian School students have done in order to reduce their own carbon footprint and ultimately help the environment. North Point is currently equipped with five water hydration stations that students, staff, and the community can use to refill reusable water bottles in order to reduce plastic waste. The Ocean Guardian School team will be receiving reusable cutlery made from more environmentally friendly materials, like bamboo to sell to the community as a fund raiser. Spring of 2019, students planted 25 trees around the school, and they plan on planting more. A native garden is also being maintained at the school. Ms. Kiorpes also shared about how a campaign to stop car idling, since it adds more carbon to the atmosphere, that they are trying to implement. Students are also working with some of the electrical CTE students to figure out how many solar powered panels would be needed to power the North Point stadium. Students also have many opportunities to go on different trips and do different tasks that raise awareness and help the environment. Students go canoeing, go out and test the water quality of local watershed rivers, streams, and other areas. They receive funding from the National Marine Sanctuaries program Ocean Guardian School, which helps make projects and field outings more cost-effective for students and the school.  

The environment is such an important yet overlooked feature of the Earth and life itself. Many people look past the environment around them and it can be difficult to get students to understand how their actions impact their living area. “Teach students who aren’t involved in the environment, about the environment,” said Ms. Kiorpes. She works hard to help students act and learn about how they can make a healthy Earth. Ms. Kiorpes also said, “Poor water quality is not just bad for humans, but it’s bad for other living organisms,” as it relates to the water quality of lakes, rivers, and oceans. The quality of an environment itself can determine the quality of a human’s life. If fish are dying in the water, then why would a person want to drink that water. It’s important to spread awareness and North Point High School students are doing just that.