Green Path Academy
The Green Path Academy curriculum embodies So What Else's foundational tenets of developing youth into community leaders and service to our community and planet.
Through outdoor education, research and the mentorship of experienced environmental educators, this program aspires to teach and motivate students, early on, to become socially and environmentally conscious global citizens. Students are able to learn in a hands-on setting about the environmental issues taking place in our world today and how they affect their lives. The classes are designed to teach students not only the importance of living sustainably but also HOW they can do this as an individual and as a group. This program introduces children to alternative environmental topics and projects that create a sense of environmental responsibility and awareness. Students gain a heightened interconnectedness with nature and are thus empowered to make sustainable change in their school or community center and their own lives as informed and passionate advocates for the planet.
Bottle brick benches - benches made of recycled material - are great educational activities that bring communities together.
One way to teach communities about the environment and zero waste is through the fun activity of making bottle bricks, or taking inorganic "trash" to create sturdy "bricks" that can be used to build art installations, benches, trash receptacles, and even buildings! Building a bench with bottle bricks is a great way to encourage the community to come together and use their “trash” for something useful and beautiful while creating a useful teaching tool. It gets us as a community thinking about how much plastic waste we generate each day and offers us a useful way to reuse this resource to create a beautiful and educational community gathering space.
Bottle bricking is a popular activity at many of our after school Green Path Academies and summer camps and an easy way for our youth to not only clean up their neighborhoods and communities, but turn that trash into useful treasure. To date, So What Else helped create Maryland's first earth bench in Black Hill Regional Park in Germantown and sponsored its second at Roland Park Country School in Baltimore.
Bottle bricking is something that people around the world are doing. We got this idea started with the organization called the Peace On EarthBench Movement (POEM), and another organization working in Latin America called Hug It Forward builds schools out of bottle bricks. The Harvest Collective and So What Else’s Green Path Academy is bringing the movement here to Maryland and are actively working on finding the right home for building a third bench.