Green Team Faces a New Change in COVID Climate

Most parents can testify to the truth of the phrase ‘the terrible twos and threes.’ To the earth’s dismay, the phrase holds for environmental science teacher Clare Knodle, the Green Team’s mother. COVID took over only two years into the club’s existence and has had a lasting impact since. 

“Honestly, I didn’t know how under the circumstances this year we could really do anything impactful,” said Knodle.

If you’re an upperclassmen at Black River Falls High School, you probably remember the Green Team’s efforts to reduce food waste during lunch. With COVID restrictions in place, it has been nearly impossible for the club to continue those efforts. 

“We can’t recycle milk cartons due to saliva contamination, we can’t recycle plastic bottles due to saliva contamination or any other food container due to saliva contamination,” said Knodle. 

So far, the lunch program has been the most efficient avenue for the Green Team in terms of increasing sustainability. While COVID has put a limit on recycling, the focus on the lunch program hasn’t shifted. 

“My role has become making sure that there are accessible food items for vegetarians and people with dietary restrictions even through the pandemic. We’re all still focused on making sure we reduce our waste in the foodservice program,” said junior Theta Dal Cerro. 

However, with more students eating off-campus than ever before, the group realized they needed to expand their efforts into other areas. 

“We thought, if we can’t do anything tangible in the lunch program, then let’s work on the individual by encouraging green and healthy choices,” said Knodle. 

One place the group has focused its efforts on is social media. 

“So far, I’ve been able to create Facebook posts every Friday about how to reduce your carbon footprint at home. I’m really proud of those because they’re reaching a wider audience than just the high school students,” said senior Kara Zeps. 

The club has always been determined to provide accurate and empowering information to the student body. In the future, they’re hoping to continue expanding the number of ways in which they do that. 

“Now, they’re trying to figure out how to make short films and TikTok that will demonstrate how to decrease an individual’s carbon footprint,” said Knodle. 

With so many goals and projects running simultaneously, the Green Team has to have high numbers, right? Wrong. The club rides on the back of only five driven students. 

“COVID impacted the club by sort of reducing our numbers because a lot of students opted for online, and it can be harder for them to access the meetings as well as getting involved,” said Dal Cerro. 

Those five students have been working tirelessly to uphold the team’s goals but recognize that it could be more than a five-person task. 

“I think we’re trying to make the best of our situation, but there’s definitely more we could do if there were more passion and higher numbers behind our case,” said Zeps. 

Nonetheless, if there’s a group of students that can overcome dire situations, it’s the Green Team. 

“We are only limited by the effort of our members. They have shown me, there is always something we can do, so we will continue influencing others as best we can to make our world greener and healthier,” said Knodle.