Oakland Tech EarthTeam

This is our very first post. In the 2016-2017 school year, Oakland Tech student interns will participate in an after school service-learning project to reduce contamination in the waste streams in their school & communities. This blog will serve as a platform for interns to share their work.

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Interns finish out the end of the year!

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On Thursday, June 1st interns joined together for the last day of the year. Such a bittersweet ending after all we have been through together!

To celebrate all the leadership, stewardship, and service the interns have shown throughout the year, we held a potluck under the shaded trees. Interns chowed down on burritos and LOADS of chips! It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed getting of of the classroom to enjoy it, and each other.

Interns participated in a short reflection, reminiscing all the fun (and not so fun) moments of the year. Next, it was time for certificates and stipends! Woohoo!

We ended the day acknowledging our person sitting next to us, commending them for bringing their own unique spirit and character into the program. It was great to reflect not only on what we have accomplished, but also how we have grown together as one big eco-loving family!

It may have been the last day of the year but as we look back on campus we can sit with the reassurance that this year will never be forgotten. Oakland Tech has a working 3-Bin system, and Tech Interns are responsible for that! They have left their footprint!

Great job to the 12 Oakland Tech 2016-2017 Earth Team Interns! You all are incredible!

LEADERSHIP  I  STEWARDSHIP  I  SERVICE

Interns table at Tech’s Multi-Cultural Event!

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On Thursday, May 25, Oakland Tech had a Multi-Cultural event where different clubs and groups could set up tables and sell things or get other students interested in their clubs.  Earth Team decided to set up a table to talk to other students and see if they were interested in learning more about us or becoming an intern themselves next year. IN addition, we gave away some of our Clif bars, water bottles, and did some Earth Inspired face painting.

Many people would walk up to our table and after we greeted them and tried to start up conversations they would just turn and walk away, after seeing we didn’t have food that interested them.  Although, to my surprise lots of students were actually interested in what we do and ended up signing up for more information about the internship next school year.  A lot of students enjoyed the face painting, we decided to not charge for it but instead use it as a way to have fun and interact more with the students. Some of the paintings were a fish, a whale, a butterfly, a rainbow, a turtle, and a really cool dragon.Not only did other students have fun with the face paint but we did too, we face painted each other or ourselves.  

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After the Multi-Cultural event we all headed to upper campus to distribute the 3-bins and talk with Jason, the Upper Campus Custodian.  When we got up there we found out that Jason had already distributed the bins to all the classrooms, so instead we went around talking to the teachers who were still on campus, telling them that the 3-bin system is now in place at upper campus and letting them know who to contact if they had any questions or concerns.  

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I really enjoyed talking with Jason as he was very supportive and excited about the 3-bin system, which was a good change from all the push back we had gotten in the beginning.  I took away that some people are really supportive on the change we seek and want to help in any way that they can, that they care for the same things that we do and with all of that it makes creating a change much easier and pleasant for everyone.

Written By: Nicole, OT Intern 


Earth Team had our own table at the Multi-Cultural Event. At our table we were face painting people, selling food, water bottles, and introducing students to our internship hoping that some are interested for the next year.

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Many people came to our table wondering who we were and I felt excited that people were interested in what we do and are curious about the program. It felt good knowing that people have already signed up to get more information.

After all the hard work that we have done during this school year it feels good that people are satisfied with our work and want to continue what we started. After this event we went up to upper campus to talk to the Custodian and put in the bins into the classrooms and around the campus. I was very happy to see that Jason was interested in the 3-bin system and was already on board. What I will take away is that in order for people to continue something you started, you need to show success in order for them to be motivated.

Written By: Maribel, OT Intern 

Thanks for reading! 

LEADERSHIP  I  STEWARDSHIP  I  SERVICE

Intern access progress with their final Contamination Audit of the year!

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*Student Blog*

A Contamination Audit is when we sort through the 3-bins and collect data on how many things are being properly sorted and how much contamination still remains in the bins.  This last contamination audit was very important as it showed how much better our school has gotten at sorting, it is the result of all of our hard work, time, and effort.  

When coming into this audit our goal was trying to get other students who are interested in the environment and ultimately people who will be the interns for next year to come out and sort with us, for us to take over the role of leading the audit and guiding them through the process of what we do.  Unfortunately, we were not able to get the word out as much as we would have liked because the week of our audit happened to also be the week of AP testing.  We did end up having one person join us, and we lead ourselves through the process.  

This last audit was a lot shorter than any of the others as we all knew exactly what each role needed to do and what the most efficient way to go about doing things.  I felt more prepared going into this audit more than any other as I already had completed multiple other audits at this point.  Our team has become more efficient and knowledgable about conducting waste or contamination audits.  

Our major findings were that there was 4.3% contamination of the recycling, 16.7% contamination of the compost, 76% contamination of the landfill.  While the contamination doesn’t matter as much for the landfill, it still has drastically changes from the beginning of the year when during our first audit 91% of the waste in the landfill could be put into another bin. Since the last audit the recycling contamination has dramatically dropped, from 23$ to 4.3% while the compost contamination has remained approximately the same, from 17% to 16.7%.  Next year, I think the focus should be on properly sorting the compost as that still is over the contamination amount allowed.

Following our Contamination Meeting we had a meeting to write the report that can be shared with our partners, principle, school district, etc. Before we got started we had to of our fellow peers interview our team.

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The girls interviewed Earth Team because they wanted more information about what we do and our points of view on litter around our campus.  They were interviewing us for their “Taking Action Project” and needed comments by people.  It felt weird being interviewed as an expert because they were only a few years younger than me but we had a lot of info to provide. 

Thanks for reading! 

LEADERSHIP  I  STEWARDSHIP  I  SERVICE

Interns camp out at Slide Ranch for the 17th Annual LEAF event!

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The LEAF camping trip took place at Slide Ranch at Muir Beach. We were all excited, yet tired during the an hour and a half car ride to Slide Ranch. The trip lasted from Friday afternoon to Sunday. During the trip, we saw many familiar faces from the first LEAF camping trip and also some new faces. Because many people from other schools were familiar faces, it was comfortable working with them.

During the first night, we had a campfire. We roasted our hotdogs and also made s’mores. The campfire wasn’t as nice as the one at Presidio; however, it was still very cozy because everyone gathered around.

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One of the activities we did was milking the goats. It felt weird, yet it was very interesting. All the us were milking the goat at a slow speed while our guide was milking at a rate five times faster. We also end up tasting the goat milk right from the goat. I didn’t want to do it, but kind of Jenna forced me to. It tasted warm and sweet.

Another activity we did was making cheese. We learned how to make cheese with ingredients that can be found at home such as milk, vinegar, and lemon. The cheese tasted great. We also helped in the garden and planted chards.

In the afternoon, we went to the beach to pick up trash. I thought we were going to a normal sandy beach, but it turned out being a rocky and dangerous beach. We had to climb through rocks to get around and we were so close to the ocean with big waves. Surprisingly, we collected more trash than we expected.

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One thing I learned about sustainable garden is that it is beneficial to people and is good for the environment because no food goes to waste. It is hard work to maintain a garden, but it is very sustainable.

One takeaway is realizing how much trash there was at a beach that doesn’t have much people. I realized how big of a problem litter is and how much more awareness needs to be done about litter. 

Thanks for reading! 

LEADERSHIP  I  STEWARDSHIP  I  SERVICE

Interns present to Tech Staff for the last check in of the year!

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On May 3rd, Interns presented to over 110 Tech Staff & Faculty for the last check in of the year. Here is what one of our interns had to say about the day!

*STUDENT BLOG*

This time the presentations were about the results of the 3-Bin system. There was 17% contamination in compost and 24% contamination in recycling. We found these numbers to be amazing, we expected the contamination to be much higher. We also presented the results of our student surveys. Showing staff that 75% of students were very satisfied/satisfied that the 3bin system was at Tech. In addition, 76% of students believe their classes are using the system extremely well/well, and 78% of students said having in class presentation were most beneficial method of teaching the 3bin system. We showed this to the staff acknowledge their importance in the success of the 3-Bin system.

This wasn’t our first time at a staff meeting. Normally everyone would be nervous to present in front of teachers but no one was nervous. When it was time to present we confidently stood in front of everyone and said our piece. All the teachers were glad to see actual results. It felt as if they were actually listening to us this time. I was expecting them to have many questions but there were very few. The questions were also very simple to answer now that we have the information.

My biggest take away from presenting to the staff is the amount of improvement that we have had. In the first staff meeting the teachers did not think too much of us, now they trust and believe in us which is an amazing feeling.

THANKS FOR READING! 

LEADERSHIP  I  STEWARDSHIP  I  SERVICE

Interns Kayak and Clean up the beautiful bay!

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On Saturday, April 1st, Oakland Tech interns partnered up with Environmental Traveling Companions (ETC) on a one of a kind journey! ETC’s mission is to make the joy and challenge of outdoor adventures accessible to people with disabilities and under-resourced youth, inspiring self-confidence, connection to nature, and stewardship of the environment. 

Oakland Tech has been hard at work all year on the implementation, and progress monitoring of the 3-Bin system on campus. This weekend was a great break from the classroom & smoggy indoors, instead, interns got to experience the gorgeous Sausalito Shoreline with a lunch break at a secluded beach.

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Interns learned all about proper water safety procedure for kayaking, as well as many fun facts about the history and wildlife of the area. Kayaking was a great mental break for our team, and our team was very appreciative for the opportunity to simple relax and feel connected to nature.

Although, thats not all we did. Interns completed a litter survey of the secluded beach spot collecting 150+ pieces if litter. Not only was it a good feeling to leave the area better than we found it, but it was also a great real world example to show how littering can effect places that can’t even be reached by foot!

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“Kayaking was my favorite event because it’s a lot of fun in the water, being a team, joking around and reaching a beautiful destination. I’ve also had a fear of being in the water so I am glad I got to do it” – OT Intern

THANKS FOR READING! 

LEADERSHIP  I  STEWARDSHIP  I  SERVICE

Interns celebrate the Custodial Staff leadership team!

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On March 16th, interns invited all Custodial night shift staff for a potluck appreciation to celebrate and thank them for all the leadership they have shown with the 3-Bin project. Oakland Tech is not only one of the few high school’s that has an operating 3-Bin system, but is also one of the largest schools to have one. Earth Team acknowledges that the custodial staff has been a core member in the implementation of the system, and is grateful to have a team to work through all the obstacles and challenges of being the first high school of its kind! 

*STUDENT BLOG*

At the potluck event, interns brought supplies, delicious food and drinks. We ate, socialized and presented them a letter and a $50 Target gift card as a way of expressing our gratitude to them. We celebrated the hard work of the custodians because the 3-bin system wouldn’t have been made possible without them.

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The custodians at Tech were the ones who guided us as we implemented the 2 new types of brutes and bins (compost & recycling) by teaching us how to line the bags, etc. They are the ones who collect each garbage bag from classrooms, hallways and outside and transfer them to the dumpster bins.

We’ve had several meetings previously discussing the best methods of educating the student body, how to efficiently run this new sustainable system and other matters. Custodial staff work extremely long hours and so that’s why, this potluck was dedicated to specially them. It was a day to recognize and appreciate their cooperation, commitment and work for the Oakland Tech community.

This is the first year Tech will be having the 3-bin system… which will permanently make it’s stay here. And the custodial staff helped make that happen.

Check Out the Team! 

Thanks for reading! 

LEADERSHIP  I  STEWARDSHIP  I  SERVICE

Interns spread litter awareness through the streets of Oakland!

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On March 18th, Oakland Tech interns participated in the Annual Litter March, a service learning project by Oakland High. Interns marched along side 100+ other students and community members to raise awareness about the effects litter has on our environment. Over 3,000+ pieces of litter were collected!

*STUDENT BLOG* 

Our day started with Earth Team interns from various schools arriving at Jose de la Cruz park early in the morning. We were ecstatic and optimistic about starting the day, and were ready to spread awareness about the dangers of litter to the community around us.

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After a brief time we all gathered our signs, grabbers, and trash bags and began our student lead march down the street. As we continued down our path, we held up our vibrant signs and chanted our pro earth slogans such as “Save Earth, Save Yourself!” and “There’s No Planet B!”. Interns picked up multiple pieces of trash from the surrounding sidewalks, streets, and storefronts as we marched. We received multiple smiles and honks from passing cars, encouraging us and showing support for our cause.

At one point we came across a small park where the most trash of the day was picked up. Trash cans were overflowing and the area was close to a bunch of people. The park was engulfed in litter, making it look more like a dumping ground than a place where children and families came to enjoy themselves. We all gathered together to pitch in and help clear up the garbage. After we were done and the park seemed sufficiently clean and rehabilitated, we moved on. We continued on to one of the main streets gaining more attention as we neared the end of our litter march.

The most challenging part of the day was just picking up litter without disturbing the regular routines of community members. Mingling with other interns was fun and we all got along seeing as though we were all in the same boat and knew the challenges one another faced when it came to educating the public.

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We ended the day with one big Earth Team chant in which we all joined in and retired our signs and thanked the fellow community members who also participated in the event. Overall, one of the biggest take aways was that people care about what goes on in their community, and just because they don’t start something on their own doesn’t mean they’re not inspired or want to help. The youth organizing events like this and bringing attention to our planet’s litter problem is one of the many steps to help change our world to a more sustainable place.

Written By: Kendall, OT Intern 


It was a gloomy day that made you want to stay in bed, but we had to get up and support the cause we believed in. We were all supposed to meet up at the park in the morning. When I arrived I was surprised and happy to see so many people that were going to be with us during the march. I saw so many new faces from so many different schools. It was nice to see interns that did not know each other come together to raise awareness about the litter problem in Oakland. I walked around the area and saw so many creative posters and there were so many ideas they kept working on posters!

A speaker came to talk to us before we departed. He had started a company that picks up litter and he has been doing this for years. He wanted to say that he was overjoyed that so many young individuals were willing to spend time on a weekend picking up litter. His words reminded us that we are doing this to raise awareness for the betterment of Oakland. Then we all grabbed some bright yellow vests, gloves, and equipment to pick up trash and we were off.

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We started off by walking up the street and chanting. I instantly saw trash everywhere on the streets. We marched slowly because we wanted to pick up every piece of trash but alas we could not have such a slow march so we continued. There was trash everywhere, under cars, in between fences, and even in the gutters.

We passed by many people and they asked what we were doing. We proudly stated that we were raising awareness about litter and they told us that we were doing a good job. As we continued marching cars began to honk to show support. We were excited to see that our march was working! People in there cars were slowing down to see what were on our signs.

Soon we arrived at a park. It was filled with trash. There was trash in open places, playgrounds, and even in the bushes. Once we had spent over twenty minutes at the park it was time to move on. We cross a bridge with a river under it. And we saw so much trash that was too big for us to be picked up. This made me realized that the litter problem was worse than I thought. We continued walking and still saw so much trash. Trash was even in places people do not normally go to. We finally made it to a busy street and more and more cars started to honk at us. People on the streets were reading all our signs and were surprised to see how much garbage we had collected. We continued till eventually we made it back to the park.

By then we had collected so much trash that everyone felt so accomplished. All the participants gathered around and we all took a photo to commemorate the moment. I walked away feeling extremely happy because I knew that young people care enough about the Earth to organize events to help with the litter problem, but I knew that this was just a start and we had a long ways to go but with the support that we had I know we can do it.

Written By: Lawrence, OT Intern 

Thanks for reading!! 

LEADERSHIP  I  STEWARDSHIP  I  SERVICE

Interns educate, engage, and empower their peers to use the 3-Bin system!

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On March 16th, Oakland Tech interns did their second round of 3-Bin system presentations presenting to over 15+ classes reaching 350+ students. Presentations included education slides, KAHOOT survey, and the 3-Bin System bingo sorting game. Interns added more to the slides, including pictures of wounded animals and landfills, along with facts about how long certain items take to decompose in hopes that they could grab more attention from the students that “don’t care”. The reactions from the audience indicate that this was a good improvement, and it really seemed to help people understand how everyone, and everything can be effected by our disposal habits.

Here is what Jennifer, OT Intern had to say about the day:

Something Challenging that I’ve noticed when presenting to different classes was having to gain the audience or students attention and getting them to acknowledge the 3 bin system and its importance to the school.

My favorite part of the day was having to present to the classrooms with much confidence because it ended up being pretty fun. Another favorite was the KAHOOT survey we did for each class because it was a small aspect that the audience members got to enjoy the most. Having to interact with other peers about the project was an aspect that made it fun as well because the project is something that everyone has to work for to make O-tech a better school and help the environment while doing so, giving them knowledge in this topic was a good contribution for everyone.

It is still important to continue educating our fellow classmates because it is possible that some might still be confused or just not too serious about the 3 bin system. Education is key to change, if they aren’t educated enough they will continue to be ignorant in the ways of proper sorting, which can end up negatively affecting our environment. Through some more education they will get to be more serious and correctly sort their trash in the near future. Continuing education should be good for future students of O-tech that will arrive for their first semester. Of course they won’t understand at first but will eventually get a hang of properly using the 3-bin system.

I believe that we’ve improved from past presentations by all of the following; understanding our presentation as we present, acknowledging the audience’s preferred methods of learning, and becoming accustomed to presenting to fellow students/classmates.

Thanks for reading! 

LEADERSHIP  I  STEWARDSHIP  I  SERVICE