Three Billings Schools Win in SMART Schools Challenges - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Three Billings Schools Win in SMART Schools Challenges

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Lt. Gov. Angela McLean recognizes schools winning SMART (Saving Money And Resources Today) Schools Challenges, which encourage schools to find way to improve energy efficiency, promote sustainable practices, and reduce waste.

We have some schools here that are being recognized for their practices and programs. Three Billings schools won in the different challenges: Broadwater Elementary, Castle Rock Middle School, and the Billings Career Center. The Career Center won for its recycling program.

Lily Apedaile is a teacher with the Career Center's biomedical sciences program. She brought the idea to her students of launching the recycling program as a part of the SMART Recycling Challenge. Her class placed informational sheets and recycling bins all around the school, and encouraged the entire school to get involved.

She says it's a kind of project-based learning and her students learned about recycling, while spreading the word.

"Hopefully they learned that they can make a change just by putting that one plastic bottle there, reducing carbon emissions and that it inspires them to continue trying to conserve resources as they go on through their lives,” Apedaile says.

Between September and April, the school recycled nearly 9,000 pounds of waste.

She says with the $1,000 grant award, they will continue expanding their recycling efforts into conservation. Apedaile hopes that next year, they can bring in ideas on how to conserve water and energy.

Broadwater Elementary and Castle Rock Middle School won in the SMART Energy Challenge, promoting energy efficiency. Broadwater created a bike/walk program, and Castle Rock achieved more than a 50 percent cost avoidance through energy conservation.

A total of 13 Montana schools were winners of the challenges. McLean will be at Broadwater Elementary on Friday to hand out awards.