"Go Green Expo" at Woodlin Elementary School

Impact Area

Improve EnvironmentTutor/Mentor Children

Volunteer Group Name & URL

Woodlin Elementary School PTA

Organization Served & URL

Children at Woodlin Elementary and the environment!

Project Goal/Description

To organize children and volunteers to educate the community on what it means to be green and how to reduce our carbon and ecological footprints in homes, workplaces, neighborhoods, county and planet. This project was held at a "Go Green Expo" at Woodlin Elementary School.

Timeline for Planning

  • 2 months before: Complete proposal and get approval from PTA leaders, principal, and event sponsor. Seek advice from Montgomery County Volunteer Center if help is needed.
  • 4-6 weeks before: Contact possible exhibitors who are energy conservation experts in the private, nonprofit, and public sectors. Contact core volunteers.
  • 1 month before: Visit space. Begin volunteer recruitment online. Solicit donated refreshments.
  • 3 weeks before: Publicize event. Secure agreement for any rented items or for space.
  • 2 weeks before: Send reminders to exhibitors, contact media, prepare signs, lock in donations of supplies or food.
  • 1 week before: Send volunteers reminders of responsibilities. Lay out space.
  • Day before event: Do as much setup as possible.
  • Day of event: Arrive early. Assist exhibitors as needed. Enjoy your hard work!
  • Follow-up: Thank all exhibitors and volunteers. Ask for feedback from attendees and exhibitors.

How Many Volunteers

Initial organizing group of 4 school volunteers. Total of about 40 volunteers for duration of planning and at the event. Also about 20 exhibitors from the private, non-profit and government sectors. Volunteers communicated via e-mail. Volunteer tasks included: coordinating overall activity, setting up, checking sound system, hanging table and exterior signs, flyer design and printing, assisting with children’s activities and arts and crafts tables, serving refreshments, overseeing recycling, assisting, packing up and closing down at the end.

How Was This Publicized to Recruit Volunteers?

Publicity through school website, fliers, PTA newsletter and listserv, civic association listserv, elected officials websites, exhibitors’ websites, school town meeting announcements, word-of-mouth.

Required Facilities, Materials & Expenses

  • Facilities: Event was held in All Purpose Room at school.
  • Project supplies: Expenses include custodian for four hours on a Saturday, $15 for opening the school, rental of All Purpose Room (APR), indoor and outdoor publicity signs, printing of fliers to go in student backpacks, light refreshments. Approximate total cost: $250.

Challenges

Costs of indoor activity can be high. A way to overcome that is to hold a fair like this out-doors, though that is risky with weather uncertainty.

Group Type

SchoolYouth

Strategic Priority Addressed

Children Prepared to Live & LearnHealthy & Sustainable Communities

Result

All attendees gained a greater sense of the importance of caring for our planet through service and self. Kids got excited about green living and making a positive environmental impact. Families had fun at a free event that was very educational and not overly expensive to plan.

Special Points of Interest

  • Comment from lead organizer Linda Katz: “Because Woodlin is certified as a green school by the state of Maryland, it seemed logical to undertake a project [for Community Service Day] that would educate the community on what it means to be green….I framed this educational activity for adults and children as a ‘Green Expo.’”

Key Planning Steps:

  • Meet with Principal, PTA leaders, Green Event sponsor, and Montgomery County Office of Community Partnership leaders for input and approval

  • Attract exhibitors to the first-ever event (if done again would be much less time-consuming) by contacting government, nonprofit and private groups in the field of energy conservation.

Tips:

  • Invite local press and elected officials. Involve local community beyond school. Post repeated announcements on school and other local listservs.

  • Take many photos. Make checklists. Keep electronic records and notes for the following years.

  • Have many fun activities for kids. Collect contact info of all volunteers.