What is the Earth Flag Program?
The Lake County Earth Flag Program was created by the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County (SWALCO) in 1993. Over 130 schools have participated in the program since then. The Program is designed to educate students, teachers, administration and parents about the need to rethink trash habits and the impact waste reduction, reuse and recycling have on the environment. Schools enrolled in the Program agree to complete five criteria over the course of a school year. Students learn through classroom lessons, hands-on activities and presentations that they can have a direct impact on the earth and its natural resources by finding alternatives to throwing it all away.
Why is the Earth Flag Program Important?
Each resident of Lake County generates an average of seven pounds of waste every day. That amounts to more than 2,100 tons of solid waste per day in Lake County alone. That is a lot of garbage to bury in the county's two privately owned landfills.
Teaching our children to think about the waste they generate, make decisions to reduce these wastes and recycle what they do generate is one of the most effective ways to protect and preserve the environment and our precious natural resources. Through the Earth Flag Program, SWALCO brings the principles of responsible solid waste management into the schools while addressing Illinois Learning Standards.
Who Can Participate?
Any school teaching Lake County students can apply to participate in the program. Both public and private schools serving students from kindergarten through 12th grade can enroll.
It is very easy to join the Earth Flag Program. Interested teachers, principals and parents can contact the Public Information Officer at 847.336.9340 extension 4 at any time to indicate an interest in enrolling their school in the Program.
What are the Program Criteria?
The Earth Flag Program requires schools to achieve five specific criteria with the assistance of their assigned Earth Flag Team volunteer, provided by SWALCO. Schools completing the Program earn a flag featuring an image of the Earth taken from the moon during an Apollo space mission.
- Earth Flag Program Criteria
School Staff are informed about the Program at a meeting, or through other communication methods (e.g. email).
SWALCO makes a presentation about the Program to the school's PTA/O, or an article about the program is published in the school newsletter.
Presentations are made to at least one grade level or to a student group (such as the student council, enviro-club, etc.) who will then teach their peers that lesson.
SWALCO helps the school set up or refine a recycling program. The school reports amounts of recyclables to SWALCO.
SWALCO helps the school conduct at least one school-wide waste reduction event.
Upon completing all the program criteria, schools can celebrate their hard work by holding a school assembly. At this assembly, the school is formally presented with its brand new Earth Flag!
There are many different options to choose from when deciding on an Earth Flag assembly. Schools can create a multi-disciplinary student assembly with songs, skits, reports and posters presented by students from each grade. This is a great way of incorporating the Earth Flag message throughout the school year.
For more information contact Merleanne Rampale, 847-336-9340 x. 4.