Sentinel High School’s Eco Club recently won three major awards for keeping track of multiple data points in the school. They have been using Arc/LEED Dynamic Plaque. Ben Cummins is the Eco Club Mentor and a STEM teacher. He explains what this software does.

“It looks at the overall ‘health’ of the school,” Cummins said. “We track how much electricity and energy we use. It also looks at water consumption. It looks at waste and recycling. It looks at transportation, meaning how people get to school. Are they driving cars by themselves? Are they walking? Are they carpooling? The last one is called the human satisfaction.”

Cummins says they have been keeping track of all that data for the last 18 months. They put that data into the program and it gave them a 66 out of 100. Cummins says that score is not bad for a high school and he gives credit to the students.

“Most of them are freshman,” Cummins said. “I mean these guys are 14 and 15-years-old. They are doing amazing things. They are active in the waste audit. They are giving kids donuts who carpool. There are lots of really neat incentives that these guys are pushing. Every Friday, they clean up the grounds on campus and then they go get frozen yogurt afterwards. It is a social thing. It is a do-good thing. It is a project-based thing and it is a lot of fun.”

After collecting all the data, Cummins says they will focus a lot of attention on waste and recycling.

“On Friday, we are going to do this big waste audit because we don’t have any idea how much waste we are producing as a school,” Cummins said. “It could be 50 pounds, one million pounds, or somewhere in between. We are going to figure out how much waste we are producing on a daily basis. We are going to figure out what percentage of actual waste is compost or can be compostable. We are also going to figure out what percentage can be recyclable.”

The Eco Club’s awards will be presented on Thursday, May 9, 2019 at the US Green Building Council’s Montana Annual Summit. The club won the USGBC Green Schools Mountain Leadership Award and the State of Montana Smart Schools Award. In addition, the National Wildlife Federation awarded the club a $1000 grant for being an Eco School that focuses on water conservation.

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