MONROE - Students at Waterloo Elementary have collected and recycled more than 1,700 plastic water bottles since November.
The school on South Custer Street has kept more than 3,000 juice containers and 700 household batteries from being tossed into landfills.
The eco-friendly efforts of Waterloo has earned it the Green School certification designation from the Michigan Green Schools Program.
Second-grade teacher Kim Pearch said a recycling project started by her students several years ago has inspired the entire school to think environmentally and become more earth-friendly.
"Thinking about the environment has become part of our lifestyle," she said.
Waterloo and Raisinville Elementary, which held a Recycle Day last Saturday, both were picked for the Green School program.
Other Monroe County schools to receive the distinction are Jackman Road, Monroe Road, and Smith Road elementaries in Bedford Township, St. Patrick School near Carleton, St. Joseph Catholic School in Erie, Meadow Montessori, Dundee Elementary and Dundee Middle School, Monroe County Intermediate School District, Airport High School, and Knabusch Mathematics and Science Center.
To gain certification, the schools had to complete at least 10 of 20 energy-
saving and environmental activities, including offering activities such as recycling paper, adopting endangered species, exploring ways to save energy, and establishing a birdhouse habitat or native-plant garden.
Third-grade teacher Kim Eltschlager said students at Jackman Road Elementary recycled ink printer cartridges and planted shrubs in the courtyard to achieve designation in the program.
"We also turned off as many lights as possible and made sure the lights were turned off when we left the classrooms," she said.
Mrs. Pearch said Waterloo students' involvement in the Green School program will continue Saturday when they will host a booth at the Earth Day Celebration at Loranger Square in Monroe.
Students will be giving away water bottles donated by Walgreens and energy efficient light bulbs provided by Village Pharmacy. Also, they will give a solar-power presentation using sunlight to solar cook an apple dessert. "We are hoping the sun will be shining," Mrs. Pearch said.
The Earth Day celebration will begin at 10 a.m. with opening ceremonies and end at 2 p.m.