In the fall of 2012, the newly formed Eco Rotary Club of Solana Beach learned about the organization Hug It Forward and its mission to build schools in Guatemala using a model of reinforced recycled plastic bottles. This concept matched the Rotary Club’s mission to support sustainable projects good for the environment.

Inspired by Hug it Forward, the Eco Rotary Club began to collaborate with Ocean Knoll Elementary School, an International Baccalaureate (IB) candidate school, in the Encinitas Union School District and Healthy Day Partners, a non-profit organization. Healthy Day Partners encourages a healthy lifestyle among the students and their parents by supporting a one-acre farm on Ocean Knoll’s campus.  Born from their missions to align global education and environmental issues, these organizations created a capstone project where students will help raise money to build a school in Guatemala and erect a bottle greenhouse on the school farm.  The collaborative efforts of the emerging “Bottle School Project” are listed below:

  • Students will plant and maintain the Ocean Knoll Educational Farm, supplying the district lunch program with the fresh vegetables and fruit produced on site.
  • Students will learn to prepare the fresh food they grow.
  • Eco Rotary Club volunteers are helping to build compost bins, clear the land, and donate supplies such as bamboo and a special type bag to use as planters.
  • Ocean Knoll’s IB coordinator is working with the 6thgrade teachers to provide global environmental education lessons. Core concepts included in the program are:
    • Importance of recycling
    • Impact of plastic on the world
    • How to design structures made out of recycled materials
    • Awareness of student lifestyles in Guatemala
      • With supervision from skilled community members, students will build a greenhouse made of plastic bottles on the school farm.
  • In collaboration with Hug It Forward, Rotary Club members, and supporters will travel to Guatemala in April to work with the local community building bottle schools.

For more information contact Maureen Duncan mvduncan@sbcglobal.net.