MHS focus of WSN cover story
Middleton High School has always placed a big emphasis on being environmentally friendly and students and staff recently received some great publicity for their efforts.
MHS was the focus of a cover story in the June/July edition of Wisconsin School News, the monthly magazine published by the Wisconsin Association of School Boards. The five-page article was written by Shelby Anderson, the magazine’s editor.
You can read the entire article by visiting the WASB website.
“I was impressed by the students and staff,’’ said Anderson, who spent about a week working on the piece. “I got the impression that past and current staff really care about environmental education at MHS. I could tell that staff and other stakeholders like Gabrielle Hinahara are devoted to the mission of educating students about sustainable living and nurturing a respect and understanding of the environment.’’
The article quotes Hinahara, Board of Education president Ellen Lindgren and former MHS teacher Debra Weitzel, who received her master’s degree in environmental education from UW-Stevens Point in 1993 and formed the first team-taught environmental education course in the state. She also recently wrote the high school’s successful Green Ribbon School application.
Weitzel, who retired last year after more than 30 years in the district, also was the Ecology Club advisor. The club hosts an Organic Dinner each year. The club has raised nearly $20,000 for local environmental causes in the last five years.
“I thought it would make a nice cover story because we like to feature public school students on the cover as often as possible,’’ Anderson said. “When we got some photos of the students working in the school garden I knew that would add to the article's appeal. Other elements also made the article a good cover story. We liked that the school district works with a community group and, in general, seems very willing and open to do whatever it needs to bring environmental education studies opportunities to its students.’’
The MHS Environthon team finished second to Luxemburg- Casco at state this year, said Leah Williams, who is an Ecology Club co-advisor along with Sarah Klang. Eleven teams from seven school districts competed at state this year.
The MHS second-place Watershed team members were Matthew Kim, Julia Kobelt, Ryan Jansen, Suzy Kim and Evan Bauch. The Watershed team had the high score in soils and land use and was second in aquatic ecology, forestry and team presentations.
That continues an impressive run by MHS teams in the Environthon. In 2011, MHS won the state competition and took eighth at the 24th annual Environthon in Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada. That week-long competition includes teams from 54 states, provinces and territories and is the largest high school environmental competition in the world.
MHS has placed in the top three at state in the Environthon every since but one its inception in 1999. MHS has also won state in 2000, 2001, 2008, 2009 and 2010.
MHS also has won multiple Energy Star school awards works closely with Wisconsin’s K-12 Energy Education Program.
MHS also offers two Advanced Placement Environmental Science classes and four sections each of a social studies-science team effort in environmental studies. Field trips include a two-day excursion to UW Trout Lake Research Station to study limnology, invasive species, and bogs; a two-day excursion to Sandhill Wildlife Area to track Blandings Turtles and to view migrating Sandhill Cranes; a one-day trip to view DNR electro-shocking of trout for annual census; a field trip to the International Crane Foundation and Aldo Leopold Shack and Legacy Center; and a trip to view the captive breeding program for endangered species at the Milwaukee Zoo.
“From speaking with staff, it's clear that administrators are supportive of the good work at the high school and across the school district,’’ Anderson said.