Earth Patrol was developed to assist with conservation efforts at schools. Earth Patrol's success relies on its participants. Earth Patrol students perform a variety of weekly activities such as: collect recyclables from classrooms and other locations; create commercials and announcements to encourage conservation; monitor water conservation efforts; plant and maintain gardens; promote litter prevention; visit classrooms to monitor for computers, lights and appliances left on; and to look for recyclables in the waste can and trash in recycling containers.

Students enjoy wearing green Earth Patrol vests and monitor buttons (in elementary schools) or lanyards (in middle and high schools), which show they are proud Earth Patrol members. When Earth Patrol students find recycling, water conservation and energy management activities that are correctly followed, a green door hanger is left on the door stating, “Thanks, you are making a difference.” The green door hanger compliments classrooms, offices, or other areas in the school that are making positive conservation efforts. Areas needing improvement receive a yellow door hanger that says, “Gotcha, wasted resources are gone forever” and on the back of the yellow door hanger, students can identify areas that need improvement.

Students become a strong enabling force in helping schools discover recycling, water and energy saving strategies. Being part of a team is an important factor in a successful recycling, water conservation and energy management program. Teachers and employees contribute by providing challenges to students, letting them know their positive actions make a difference at their school. Earth Patrol students enjoy participating in environmental meetings and are positive role models for their peers. Schools may order Earth Patrol supplies at no cost by filling out the Recycling Supplies Order Form.

Getting Started

First get approval from your school Administrator to participate. Inform students, employees, parents, teachers, PTA / PTO or other parent groups, and volunteers of the Earth Patrol program and its mission. Communication about the program is very important to make your Earth Patrol successful. Utilize the school announcements, commercials, posters and the school marquee to advertise your program.

Your Administrator should designate a Conservation Liaison. This can be one or more employees at the school who enjoy conservation and would be willing to sponsor the Earth Patrol. Larger schools have numerous Recycling Liaisons to help share the responsibility.

Select Earth Patrol members. Choose students who are interested and eager to participate in an effective recycling, water and energy conservation program, which benefits the school. There is no limit to the number of students who can participate. Some schools have 100 or more members, use specific grades such as fifth grade students, and have ESE, ISS and other groups participating. Choose student groups that work best for your school’s environment.

Next you should assign patrol areas, days of the week and monitoring times. Designate a location for Earth Patrol Central. This is where students will report to pick up their monitor buttons and vests or lanyards, door hangers and other supplies. Students review the calendar to see what areas of the school need to be patrolled. As students monitor the areas they can leave door hangers to show that they patrolled the area. The best location for Earth Patrol Central is usually in the Conservation Liaison’s classroom or office.

Hopefully you will find your school’s Earth Patrol program to be a helpful part of the school’s recycling and conservation efforts.