ECCO Club: Being Green & Giving Green

The Pennfield School’s nascent ECCO Club (Environmental Club and Composting Organization) has made a big impact on making the school more environmentally friendly. What began as a small group of students concerned mostly with “being green” has become a club that, through those efforts, has made some green (cash!), and shared some green as well!

Each November, Pennfield holds a large fundraising event called “Cornucopia”: a fine arts show and sale featuring the artisanal work of local and regional artists and craftspeople. This year ECCO club set up a table in the Kids’ Tent, and produced a variety of items for sale, ranging from a sofa and coffee table made from pallets and discarded raised bed lumber, to embellished succulent dish gardens, to non-toxic household cleaning fluid. Their hard work paid off. The ECCO club earned over $1000.00 from the sale of all of their items. The next task was to decide as a group what to do with this windfall.

Learning of their great monetary success, club members met several times to seriously discuss what would be the right and responsible thing to do. They agreed that it would be prudent to anticipate any costs that might be incurred during the school year, deduct that amount from the total earnings, and then donate a portion what was left. ECCO members each stated their opinions regarding who should receive donations, and the amount. In the end, ECCO club decided to donate to four local environmentally oriented non-profit organizations: Aquidneck Land Trust (ALT), Save the Bay, Norman Bird Sanctuary and Aquidneck Community Table(ACT). Their donations were met with wonderful acknowledgements of appreciation!

Executive Director of ALT, Charles Allott, wrote: “We are so psyched by the ECCO club donation!” And from their Development Director, Laura Freedman Pedrick: “We were thrilled to receive the gift from the ECCO club!”

Save the Bay’s Executive Director, Jonathan Stone, wrote “To members of the ECCO Club: Thank you for your donation! We are so appreciative of your support. Keep up the wonderful work!”

And this, posted on social media channels: “Norman Bird Sanctuary would like to give a special Thank You to the inspiring students in the ECCO Club…at the Pennfield School…You rock!”

The next step is to determine if some of the remaining funds can be designated as “restricted” so they can be used in subsequent years. The ideal answer would be yes, but if that doesn’t make sense, ECCO members will need to research the environmental needs of the school to see what they can contribute. Not a bad challenge to be faced with!

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