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Green team rakes in the green at BRE

BRE’s grant winning Green Team (pictured from left to right), back row: Braden T., Mrs. Jody Robinson, Mrs. Jennifer Romero, Mr. Jose Mendoza; middle row: Ben J., Liam A., Jackson C., Maggie B., Katherine S., Anderson R. and Blake C.; front row: Tatum H., Isabella W., Emma A., Jacob V. and Cash B.

By Kathy Fallert; photo courtesy of Heidi Taylor

The Buffalo Ridge Elementary (BRE) Green Team, the school’s environmental team, was awarded a $12,000 grant on April 4 to be used toward solar energy after a competition involving seven other schools. Overall, from this energy competition along with previous trash sorting and weighing, and last year’s water conservation grant, Green Team has raked in more than $30,000 to help upgrade BRE.

This competition required school energy actions to be completed by Green Team which included making and hanging posters, having a school audit completed by Misty Darby from Black Hills Energy, creating lesson plans, completing home energy actions which were forms that families submitted, school energy savings and submitting the final project – a jazzy music video which can be viewed at

Green Team, led by learning commons assistant Jody Robinson and learning specialist Jennifer Romero, learned that the district spends 7 million dollars on electricity each year. The eight schools that participated in this energy saving competition saved the district an impressive $3,000 in one month.

BRE was in last place for a while during the competition, but they learned different ways to save energy in the school thanks to building custodian Jose Mendoza (aka “Mr. Jose”) who firmly believed that BRE would win and handed out home energy actions to everyone he knew. The team was then able to move up in energy savings. The deciding factor in the competition between BRE and the other leading school was how many home energy actions were submitted online and on paper by families.

BRE Principal John Veit commented, “Our Green Team students are extremely passionate about conservation. They learned a great deal and were able to share their new learning not only with kids in our school, but were able to send this message out to our families as well. This was a tremendous lesson for all of us to learn from their leadership and guidance. We are very excited at the opportunity to use this grant to improve our school and provide another learning opportunity for these empowered students.”



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