The Reed High Eco Warriors environmental club was formed during the 2010-11 school year after students heard a presentation from a representative from ACE, a national nonprofit that teaches high school students about science and climate change and encourages them to get involved in green projects.
Genevieve Morehouse, Reed High environmental science and advanced placement biology teacher, co-advises the environmental club with Leigh Metcalfe, RHS physical and environmental science teacher.
“ACE contacted Leigh and asked if they could come do a presentation,” Morehouse said. “So Rebecca (Anderson), who gets the ACE clubs started in the schools, came and talked to the students.”
Anderson’s presentation motivated a group of about a dozen students to form an environmental club, which the students aptly named the Eco Warriors.
“It goes along with the Reed Raiders,” Morehouse said. “We are the Reed Eco Warriors.”
Morehouse said she is proud of what the small group of students has accomplished so far, which includes winning GREENevada’s High School Sustainability Plan Competition in April and gaining enough attention from the school district for Reed to be selected as one of the first sites that will receive solar panels.
“I got an email from my principal recently saying that because of the media attention we have gotten for Reed High School, when the school district starts installing solar panels, Reed will be one of the first to get them,” Morehouse said. “I thought it was cool that she credited the Eco Warriors.”
The Eco Warriors gained attention on Earth Day when the group presented a plan to make the bathrooms at RHS more eco-friendly. The competition was held at University of Nevada, Reno, and Reed students competed against eight other local high schools to score $12,000 to implement the sustainability plan at Reed.
“We turned in a 10-page document,” Morehouse said.
Though the students had a lot of ideas about how to make Reed High more environmentally friendly, the club decided to focus on the school’s restrooms.
“We all agreed it is frustrating to walk by that bathrooms and hear water running,” Morehouse said, so the students devised a plan to remodel the bathrooms.
The plan included new toilets, sinks and lighting.
The current toilets use eight gallons of water per flush, Morehouse said. Students calculated that Reed would save 2 million gallons of water per year simply by installing low-flush toilets.
Morehouse said students constantly leave the bathroom faucets running, so the Eco Warriors proposed installing faucets that shut off automatically.
To conserve energy, the students also proposed installing lights with heat and motion sensors and timers.
Sustainability competition organizers were very impressed with the specificity of Reed’s plan, as well as the plans of other high school teams.
“The student proposals became very specific,” said Alex Gamboa, executive director of Envirolution, a GREENevada partner.
Envirolution, ACE, Black Rock Solar, GreenPower, Sierra Nevada Journeys and Urban Roots Garden Classrooms formed GREENevada in 2010 with the intent of teaching students in northern Nevada about global responsibility and how they can make an impact on the world in which they live.
Gamboa said all schools that participated in the Earth Day competition presented impressive sustainability plans and won money for their efforts, but Reed High got the largest check.
Reed High Eco Warriors who participated include Hetor Tinajero, Celeste Tinajero, Amy Ross, Grace Field, Suzanne Lee, Hayley McGuire and Shaine Shipp.