Happy New Year!  2020 provides the perfect opportunity to take up new sustainable habits and celebrate those we already do. This month’s newsletter is full of informational links so please take the time to read on.

Unity Charter School serves zero waste lunches and asks that if you pack your child’s lunch and snacks, you follow the same practice. The State of Recycling is not as great as we may think it is. We understand that there are items that we just cannot avoid and are very hard to recycle. We have found three solutions for you:

  • Mascara wands can be given a second life with an animal reghabilition group at https://www.appalachianwild.org/wands-for-wildlife.html

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  • Polystyrene (styrofoam) is very hard to recycle and is not permitted in our school. (Please use reusable travel mugs when making that Dunkin’ run on the way to school.) Inevitably, it will show up often in packaging. When this happens at your home, you can take it to  Foam Pack Industries, 72 Fadem Rd.  Springfield, NJ 07081  (973) 376-3700 http://foampackindustries.com/ Mon-Fri 8 am - 4 pm for recycling!

  • Your used markers can be turned into fuel! The ColorCycle program has repurposed more than 70 tons of expended markers in the United States and Canada since 2013, and uses the most advanced plastic conversion technologies available today to make wax compounds for asphalt and roofing shingles as well as to generate electricity that can be used to heat homes, cook food, and power vehicles. Unity Charter School’s students and teachers have been collecting used markers that are ready to be discarded for 5 years. Please help support our efforts by sending your kids in with any used markers you may have around the house. Highlighters and dry erase markers can also be included. Drop-off boxes are located by the nurse’s office for your child to deposit the markers.

Winter is the perfect time to gear up for our garden and outdoor learning spaces!  Our raised bed frames have met the end of their lives and we need your help to rebuild. Each learning group will be doing a complete overhaul of their garden beds this year. Please contact your child’s room parents to find out what their class has planned. This year’s PTO’s events are raising funds specifically for this garden remodel and we thank them for their support.  We will need as many families as possible to make our outdoor spaces “spring” back to life. 

Our learning groups are continuing with Unity’s education for sustainability focus through our constructivist field trips and assemblies. Here are just a few from this month:

  • Our middle schoolers had another amazing guest speaker as part of their STARS class: Dina Deleasa-Gonsar, Food Blogger & TV Personality. Join us on Tuesday, February 2 at 1:10 to meet and hear David Viana, Executive Chef & Contestant on Top Chef.

  •  Our Lower School Chorus visited the clients at the Cedar Knolls Adult Day Medical Day Center. The students sang winter songs and created pine cone bird feeders with their new friends to be hung outside the facility’s windows.  We hope the birds keep them company all winter!

  •  Our Green Team created bird feeders from fallen branches on campus for our feathered friends to enjoy.

Our study of Sustainable Economics and the woes of fast fashion is well underway in our middle school. The upcycled pieces being created by our students are pretty inspiring. Join us on Thursday, January 30th at 6pm for our Winter Concert and Sustainable Fashion Show. Not only will you get to hear and see our lower school chorus and dance club, but you will also get to view fashion pieces created by our middle school students as part of their personal learning plans. Twelve of our students have been invited to participate in the New Jersey Clean Communities Environmental Student Exchange this spring due to their hard work on their PLP projects. This overnight field trip is entirely funded by Morris County Clean Communities and we are very proud to have been selected as the school to represent Morris County! Students selected to attend the student exchange will be announced at the Sustainable Fashion Show on the 30th.

As the cold air of winter nips at you, make a bowl of veggie soup and snuggle up with the kids. Better yet, let the students make that soup for you!  Come to Souper Game Night on Friday, January 24. This commUnity event is not to be missed.