MICHIGAN CITY | Michigan City’s Krueger Middle School received a 2013 Indiana Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence today. The award was presented in Bloomington, Indiana, during a luncheon honoring this year’s recipients that was held in conjunction with the Association of Indiana Solid Waste Management Districts annual conference.
“We’re so honored by this award,” said Krueger Principal Vera Jones. “Our students, staff, and community partners have worked very hard to make our vision a reality. It is so rewarding to know that others across the state and beyond are taking notice.”
According to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, which administers the award, the Indiana Governors’ Award is given annually to “companies or organizations that utilize innovative enviromental practices through programs and technologies that reduce waste, save money, and contribute greatly to Indiana’s environmental protection efforts. These successful projects benefit the health and welfare of Indiana’s communities and the state as a whole.”
This year, 41 organizations were nominated for the Governors’ award, and there were five recipients. Krueger was the only school among the honorees.
A team from the school accepted the award in Bloomington, including Jones, Environmental Science Teacher Amanda Maycroft, Environmental Technology Teacher Brian Schroll, Wellness Teacher Erica Ackerson, and Science Teachers Leslie Samelson, Betty Catterlin, and Penny Will.
“We simply wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the many individuals and organizations who have helped us along the way, and continue to support Krueger,” said Jones. “They all share this honor with us.”
Krueger has transformed its 100-acre campus into an Outdoor Environmental Science Center. Working with the Michigan City Forester, Purdue University North Central, Save the Dunes, the LaPorte County Soil and Water Conservation District, and others they developed a curriculum that exceeds Indiana academic standards. Several major grants, including two Indiana Coastal Grants, have funded the creation of two trail systems and a savannah prairie, and a wetlands restoration project is currently under way. Work on a marsh area and a stormwater management project is slated to begin in June 2014.
Teaching and learning at Krueger is centered on hands-on experiences, and both core subjects and rotation classes are conducted with an environmental focus, using inquiry-based techniques. This Friday, for example, Krueger students will finish Field Days tours for first graders from all Michigan City elementary schools. In the spring, they will lead area fourth and fifth graders on Field Day tours, teaching the younger students.
“Our efforts have resulted in increased achievement and fewer discipline problems,” said Jones. “We’re engaging the students, making this school an exciting place to be. And it is showing in achievement.”
At Krueger, staff, students and community partners are always thinking about what’s next. “Our Environmental Technology students are currently researching options for wind and solar power projects,” says Jones. “We’re also envisioing a fitness trail and frisbee golf course.”