Green Schools

The Carmel Clay School District has implemented many different projects in an attempt to save taxpayer dollars and reduce its impact on the environment.  Below is a brief list of these efforts.

  • International Walk to Schools Day 2015
    Kudos to nine Carmel Clay schools for participating in International Walk to School Day on October 7th: Carmel Elementary, Cherry Tree Elementary, College Wood Elementary, Mohawk Trails Elementary, Orchard Park Elementary, Prairie Trace Elementary, Smoky Row Elementary, West Clay Elementary, and Woodbrook Elementary. The aim of Walk to School Day is to raise awareness about the many positive health, safety and environmental benefits gained from regular walking to and from school, not the least of which is fewer fill-ups at the gas station. Read more.  Posted October 2015

  • CCS Participates in Bike to School Day 2015
    This year seven Carmel Clay  schools planned activities for Bike to School Day on May 6th:  Carmel Elementary, College Wood Elementary, Creekside Middle School, Mohawk Trails Elementary, Orchard Park Elementary, Prairie Trace Elementary, and West Clay Elementary encouraged students to walk or bike to school.  Posted May 2015

  • CCS Community Garden Earns Award from Hamilton County Soil and Water District
    The Hamilton County Soil (HCS) and Water District (WD) recognized the CCS Plots to Plates Community Garden for being an Outstanding Supporter of their Backyard Conservation Program. The garden is located on the grounds of Carmel Middle School and has partnered with the HCS & WD to create a rain garden, host a garden field trip for Carmel Parks and Recreation summer campers and teach gardeners about using cover crops to nurture their soil in the fall. Posted March 2015
  • Recycling Drive collects 1,642 pounds of Holiday Lights
    Thanks to CCS families, Green Team members, custodians, Ace Hardware and the Carmel community for recycling. Special thanks to Deb Gastineau for organizing the drive for our community!  Posted January 2015
  • School Festivals Go Green!
    Thanks to West Clay Elementary Family Fun Night, Orchard Park Elementary International Festival, and Forest Dale Elementary Falcon Fest for providing recycling! Special thanks to Katie Lopez, Lisa Wilson and Heather Hurley for organizing recycling bins for these school events.  If you'd like to recycle at your event check out the Lend-A-Bin program.  Posted January 2015
  • College Wood Elementary Introduces Recycling in Cafeteria
    Thanks to their environmental leadership, College Wood Elementary staff rolled out a recycling program for the cafeteria.  A huge thanks to Susan McCord, Cafeteria Manager, Custodian Morris Eubank and Cafeteria Staff Member John Groom who provided recycling containers and are teaching students about which items to recycle and which to throw in the trash.  Students at College Wood Elementary are now helping the environment by starting with this new lunch-time routine. The recycling gets weighed every day and it is estimated that the students at CWE will keep 1,800 lbs. of trash out of landfills this school year!  Read more. Posted September 2014
  • Awesome Energy Savings at School, Ka-ching!
    As the whirl of summer activities wind down and families settle back into the new school year, we want take a minute to congratulate CCS students and staff for their efforts to save energy last year - which saved the district $1,351,494, according to Bob Yull, Energy Manager.  Way to go!  Let's keep it up for 2014-2015!!! Posted August 2014
  • Environmental Leaders Head to College, new leaders step up
    We want to thank CHS graduates Charles Liang and Katie Gao for their leadership of the Environmental and Sustainability Clubs and for serving on the Carmel Green Initiative board. Charles and Katie have made CHS a little greener by assisting with recycling, motion sensors in select bathrooms so the lights turn-off when vacant, raising environmental awareness at school and in the community, and much more.  We wish Charles and Katie all the best as they head to college. Charles will be studying applied physics at Columbia.  And Katie is attending Vanderbilt University.  We also want to welcome incoming Environmental Club co-presidents Elizabeth Baach and Adrian Tracena. Thank you for stepping up! CGI looks forward to your leadership.  Posted August 2014
  • CHS receives Green Ribbon Award
    These energy savings, student environmental leadership and much more was recognized when CHS was one of 2 Indiana schools and 48 schools nationwide receive the 2014 Green Ribbon Award from the U.S. Dept. of Education.  CHS was honored for exemplary efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education, including civics and green career pathways.  Congratulations Greyhounds!!! Posted August 2014
  • Congrats to our Carmel Clay School District and especially Bob Yull, Energy Manager, for ongoing efforts to save energy in our schools. Carmel Clay Schools earned Cenergistic's 2013 Energy Lighthouse Award, and Carmel and Forest Dale Elementary earned Energy Star. Both schools scored in the 80th percentile nationwide in energy efficiency.  This brings the total to 11 CCS buildings to have received this award. Read Nina Johnson's article in The Current.  Posted Oct 2013
  • Carmel Clay Schools reach another record high in energy savings
    Through its energy-savings program, CCS exceeded energy savings of $187,000 in December 2012.  This bring total avoided energy costs to more than $13 million since its inception in 1995.  Read more.. Posted Jan 2012
  • District-wide No Idle Policy
    Our students can now breathe easy! The new district-wide No Idle Policy enlists parents and visitors to Carmel Clay Schools to turn off their vehicle when parked. Reducing tailpipe pollution will improve air quality and respiratory health around our schools.  Read more.
  • Woodbrook and Cherry Tree Elementary Earn Energy Star
    Both schools ranked in the top 25% nationwide in energy efficiency and joined other CCS school to receive this award. Nine CCS building have received this award.  Read more.

  • Community Garden - In the fall of 2012, Carmel Clay Schools will provide land for an organic vegetable community garden located behind the HBM Co-op buidling (old College Wood Elementary). The community garden will be available to Carmel residents and CCS employees. Read more.
  • Carmel Clay Schools reach another record high in energy savings - Through its energy-savings program, CCS exceeded energy savings of $182,000 in December 2011.  This bring total avoided energy costs to more than $12 million since its inception in 1995. Posted Jan 2012

  • Smoky Row Elementary awarded Energy Action in Schools Grant - The Smoky Row Elementary Green Team was awarded a $250 grant as a part of Energy Action in Schools. The program brings students and school administrators together to reduce energy costs in their buildings, while learning about energy efficiency.
  • Green your Thanksgiving to support our students - The Carmel High School Environmental Club is hosting a community Aluminum Can Drive. Read more.

  • The Carmel Clay School District is looking at ways to improve air quality for students. A no idle policy is being considered as a way to reduce tailpipe pollution in carpool lines to protect children from exposure to harmful emissions. The carpool policy would be in addition to the school bus policy which has been in place for several years. Read more.
  • CHS hosts Large Item Drop-off location at stadium. Read more

  • Carmel Clay Schools received the Carmel Chamber's Green Award for their environmental efforts.Read more.

  • CHS Environmental Club Moves Forward on Recycling Effort
    A group of volunteer parents conducted a one day recycling effort for America Recycles Day on November 15th, 2010 in all three cafeterias and collected over 8 bags of plastic bottles and containers and aluminum cans.  The CHS Environmental Club started by Mason Yao is working with the administration to offer recycling everyday at the Greyhound Station and the Freshman Cafeteria.
  • Students will participate in energy savings program
    The following schools will incorporate energy-savings education in their schools' curriculum: Carmel Middle School, Smoky Row Elementary, and Cherry Tree Elementary. The Energy Action Program, administered by the National Energy Foundation, includes an energy audit and helps students form energy action teams to monitor energy usage and recommend wasy to save money on utilities. 
  • Students Recycle 27 tons of Paper
    The Smoky Row Student Council collected 54,000 lbs of paper in 2010. Proceeds were donated to local charity. See photos
  • Energy Star Schools
    The following schools have earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) prestigious ENERGY STAR, the national symbol for protecting the environment through superior energy efficiency: Carmel High School, College Wood, Mohawk Trails, Prairie Trace, Smoky Row, Towne Meadow, and West Clay Elementary. Read more
  • No Idle Policy for School Buses
    Buses arriving at school to load or unload students remaining at school for more than 3 minutes are to turn off their engines.  These procedures save fuel costs and reduce tail pipe pollution near our students.  Read more on p20 x
  • Carmel Elementary and Middle Schools Implement Recycling
    Following a successful co-mingled recycling pilot program at Carmel Elementary which began in January of 2010, the administration decided to offer recycling at all elementary and middle schools in the fall of 2010.  At this time, CHS is only recycling cardboard and some paper.
The Promise Project

The Promise Project is a youth-led program for kids, ages 8-18, ThePromiseProject3who want to do something big about climate change. Kids will learn about their city government, meet their city councilors and Mayor Brainard, discover how their voices can be heard in our community, and learn how to work together to create lasting change. Kids will also discover that even as kids, they have power and can still be heard. As a result, they will become more confident and motivated individuals.

Kids will attend Carmel city council meetings and speak in front of their city council representatives, asking them to keep their promise to us that our future world will be healthy, clean, and beautiful, and asking them to put a Climate Recovery Ordinance on their agenda, which will make sustainability part of city code.

What is a Climate Recovery Ordinance? The first Climate Recovery Ordinance in the nation was passed in Eugene, Oregon by a group of hardworking youth. Watch this video to see more:

Why do we want to implement this project in Carmel? Through the efforts of cities to become more sustainable, we become leaders for climate accountability even with a lack of statewide leadership.

This project was started by 17-year-old Maddie Adkins, with support from Jim Poyser of Youth Power Indiana and Leslie Webb of Carmel Green Initiative.  Maddie is a high school student, co-president of the CHS Environmental Club and CGI board member who is passionate about taking climate action.  Several youth leaders have stepped up to work on the Promise Project.

YOUTH LEADERS DSCF2309_Miranda_Jose_Alex_Jodh_by_library_2
Miranda Frausto (Senior)
Jose Ortuzar (Junior)
Alex Workman (Freshman)
Natalie Workman (7th gade)
Jodh Pullela  (Freshman)
Ben Rayill (Sophomore)
Teddy Rayhill (5th grade)

Maddie Adkins (college)
Louie Genduso
Leslie Webb



Our instagram address is @promise_project_in.   Petition_Button




Maddie is available to present the Promise Project to your Carmel group and help answer questions for kids and parents. To schedule a presentation, contact Maddie at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Presentations so far...
  • Carmel Elementary, 3rd, 4th and 5th graders
  • Prairie Trace Elementary, Green Club
  • Cherry Tree Elementary, Green Club
  • University High School, Environmental Club
  • The Orchard School
  • Harshman Middle School
  • Paramount School of Excellence
  • Decatur Township School of Excellence
  • Youth Philanthropy Initiative   DSCF2038_BrownieTroop_Groop
  • Carmel West Service Unit Brownie Troop #2019
  • St Thomas Aquinus
  • Cherry Tree Elementary, Grades 3-5.









Maddie drafted and submitted a Climate Resilience and Recovery Resolution to Mayor Brainard.  Maddie and Alex met with the mayor and city councilors to advocate for climate action, and to ask them to keep their promise to the upcoming generation. If you have a questions, you can reach Maddie at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it









You're Invited!

Who: Anyone who cares about the environment and wants to get involved! Invite your friends, teachers, classmates, troop leaders, etc. All ages are welcome to come and learn more about the Promise Project!

What: Beyond being a great way to come and see what The Promise Project is all about, participants will also have an opportunity to practice testifying during a mock city council meeting. This orientation meeting is a great way for kids to learn more, and see if they want get involved.

Where: City Council Chambers, 2nd Floor at City Hall, One Civic Square in Carmel, 46032.  (Map)

When: Thursday, June 16th.  Two time slots to choose from:

  • 4:30-5:30 p.m.
  • 5:30-6:30 p.m.

This will be such a fun and important event, so please spread the word!  If you have any questions, please contact Maddie at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it







We will let you know when the resolution is put on the agenda.  The City Council generally meets on the 1st and 3rd Mondays at 6 p.m.
Please mark your calendars!
  • August 1
  • August 15
  • September 5
  • September 19
  • October 3
  • October 17
  • November 7
  • November 8 - ELECTION DAY

Arrive before 5:45 p.m. to submit a Blue Card.  This is very important. The council meetings begin at 6 p.m. but you have to arrive early to fill out and turn in a blue card. The meeting starts with an invocation and the pledge of allegiance.  Then there is a recognition of employees/citizens, and approval of the minutes.  After that, it will be open for people who wish to address the council. This is the opportunity for the kids to speak.





Carmel Youth move City Council to act on Climate
Carmel is first city in Indiana to Pass Climate Resolution


Schools Offering Sustainable Alternative to Bottled Water

Cherry Tree Elementary has reduced its plastic water bottle use by two-thirds with a method introduced by its cafeteria mangaer Mary Sipes last spring.  Students who want to drink water with their lunch no longer have to buy a bottle of it for 60 cents; they can drink it for free!  And they do so out of re-usable plastic cups that go through the cafeteria's dishwasher.  Students fill their cups at a five-gallon water cooler on a cart in the lunchroom.  Kudos to Mary for reducing waste and thinking outside of the box!  For details of her creative solution, click here: Reusable_Plastic_Cups_and_Water_Coolers_at_Cherry_Tree.doc

Students in Cherry Tree's green club wanted to share this sustainable solution with other schools. This fall, they applied for a grant from the Carmel Green Teen Microgrant Program.  The $610.64 check they received will pay for cups and coolers for Smoky Row Elementary and Carmel Elementary and is enough for even more schools to get on board.  Thanks, Cherry Tree, for helping Carmel schools go green!!!

Reflecting and Looking Ahead

We celebrate the numerous accomplishments of students, parents and staff during the 2009-10 school year, as they participated in learning about and caring for the earth through student green clubs, recycling drives, giving away trees and CFL light bulbs, planting trees, clean up projects, art contests, and more!  The power of people who come together for the common good is AMAZING!

So, we move into this year inspired and ready to do more to green our schools.  In the spring, we came up with three areas of focus for the 2010-11 school year.  They are as follows: 1. Supporting co-mingled recycling; 2. Water Bottle Education; and 3. Supporting implementation of a district-approved No Idle Program where applicable.

If you are interested in sharing your talents in these efforts, please contact the green team coordinator at your school.

Also, you are welcome at our monthly meetings. Click here for meeting schedule.  Green_Schools_Meeting_Schedule_2010.doc Let's make 2010-11 a spectacular year!


Co-mingled Recycling Begins Districtwide

After Carmel Elementary's successful pilot program from January to June, 2010, Carmel Clay Schools is expanding co-mingled recycling to all elementary and middle schools beginning Fall, 2010.  District Energy Manager Bob Yull worked with Ray's Trash Service to make sure that each school has a co-mingled (or single-stream) dumpster, into which will go the schools' paper, cardboard, plastic bottles and containers, and (tin and aluminum) cans.  Each school's principal will determine the extent to which their school participates and who will bring the recyclables to the dumpster.  Recycling containers within classrooms and offices that were formerly used for paper only will now be used for all the above listed recyclables.  Whereas the community is highly encouraged to contribute paper to the Abitibi bins on our campuses, the co-mingled dumpsters are for school building use only.

The Green Schools Committee is deeply grateful to Mr. Yull and the CCS Administrative Green Team for their leadership in making our schools more environmentally sound!

Any schools needing more recycling bins for classrooms or cafeterias may apply for a Carmel Green Teen Grant to pay for them.  Applications are due Sept. 20, 2010.

Click here for a list of what's recyclable at the schools:

"Ban the Bottle, Try the Tap" Campaign at Towne Meadow

During Earth Week, a girl scout troop from Towne Meadow waged a campaign to "Ban the Bottle; Try the Tap."  The Carmel Green Teen Project funded the following activities:
Morning announcements-  Five girls from the girl scout troop (one per day) shared facts about bottled water with the rest of the school.

Two of the troop moms handed out paper cups of water to students who normally buy bottled water.  They did this for a different grade level each day (kindergarten and first grade on the same day).  They also went around and sat with students at their tables to talk with them about their campaign and the issues involved.  At the end of each lunch period, they used the microphone to speak to the whole group all at once, reinforcing the key ideas of the project.

Display: One of the troop moms and several of the girls built a display of the number of water bottles discarded in one day at Towne Meadow (112).

Posters: The girls hung posters with the slogan, "Ban the bottle, Try the tap!"  above all the school drinking fountains.

Garbage Patch Video: They showed an ABC news segment about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to all students in the school (right after morning announcements). 

Bulletin Board: They designed a bulletin board which depicted "5 Reasons Not to Drink Bottled Water."

Troop Leader and Towne Meadow parent: Ruth Perkins

Green Clubs: What's New This Year

Getting students engaged in green practices is the key to a healthy future for our community.  Green Clubs in our schools are a terrific forum for students to learn how to care for the earth and to put that knowledge into practice.  See below for what student green clubs in our district are doing so far this school year!

Orchard Park Elementary: Click here for their games, activities, and more ideas! Orchard_Park_Elementary_Green_Club.doc

Carmel Elementary: Click here for their activites and to see their student-made bulletin board! Carmel_Elementary_green_club.doc

Students and Families Participate in Earth Day Campus Clean-Up
On Saturday, April 24th, students and families volunteered their time, picking up trash at Carmel Middle School, Creekside Middle, and Carmel High School as part of a districtwide celebration of Earth Day.  Students from first grade through high school showed up despite forecasted rain and spent a couple of hours combing the campuses for wind-blown trash and surprising items left behind on school grounds.  From candy wrappers picked up at Creekside's neighbor West Clay Elementary School to a bicycle dragged out of the reeds in the CHS wetlands, volunteers left our well-maintained campuses even spiffier.  Many thanks to all of the volunteers and school staff that made this event a success!  Thank you also to the following folks who partnered with us for this clean-up event: Panera Bread, Dunkin Donuts and Citizens for Greenspace.
Green Schools Committee

All members of the school community including parents, students, staff and board members are invited to join the Green Schools Committee.  As part of the education process, you have an opportunity to play a unique role in enacting significant positive environmental and educational change in our schools and throughout our community.

The committee strives to work with schools to adopt green practices such as reducing waste, using eco-friendly products, reducing tailpipe pollution, implementing energy saving initiatives and recycling.  The Committee supports and encourages Green Teams at all Carmel schools by providing network and education opportunities.

Going green means saving money, using energy, fuel and other resources wisely, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and reducing our impact on the environment.  All this is to ensure the future health and safety of our children.

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