Ascension celebrates Earth Day with Green Ribbon win

Science teacher Donna Jackel handed a potted plant to a student in Ascension School’s garden April 21. The school earned the Green Ribbon designation from U.S. Department of Education in 2022. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)

About five years ago, leaders at Ascension School asked what they could do to answer Pope Francis’ call to care for creation. Their response led to Ascension’s designation as a 2022 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School.

The awards were announced on Earth Day last year, and a year later the school held a school-wide event April 21 to celebrate the honor. 

Science teacher Donna Jackel said they delayed the celebration because they wanted to plan a school-wide event close to Earth Day.

Jackel and the school’s Green Club were instrumental in implementing some of the school’s green initiatives.

Eighth-grade students from science teacher Dan Vowels’ class looked at the different parts of a bee hive on Ascension School’s campus April 21. The school has 10,000 Italian bees that will be placed in the hive. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)

Once a school earns the Green Ribbon designation they are expected to maintain their green efforts, Jackel noted.

In the past year, Ascension, located at 4600 Lynbrook Dr., has installed energy-efficient windows and lighting throughout the school.

They are currently working on setting up bee hives on the school’s campus. Middle school science teacher Dan Vowels and his students are leading that project. Vowels has 10,000 Italian bees that are ready to go into a hive set up near Ascension Church’s rectory. Italian bees are “docile. They will not attack” and are easy to work with, Vowels noted. The goal is for students to study the bees’ life cycle and through pollination he hopes the bees will be useful to the surrounding community.

Dan Vowels, a science teacher at Ascension School, picked up a crate containing 10,000 Italian bees. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)
Ruby Thomas
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