James M. Bennett High School
Green School Application

Overview & Accomplishments

2023 Update

JMB is renewing our Green School Status. See our 2022 Application here.


Over two consecutive school years, James M. Bennett High School has worked to achieve the numerous requirements to become a Maryland Green School. Students, faculty, staff and members of our community have combined their efforts to increase environmental awareness, make fundamental changes, and extend environmental education into every subject area. This effort has involved each of our 1520 students and over 100 teachers and staff as well as students groups like the National Honor Society, the Leo Club, Afterschool Step-Up, and community partners such as Sonrise Church. Our school was designed to maximize energy efficiency through geothermal heating, automatic lavatories, and solar panels. Annually, the Clippers Choose Love for Earth Day is an environmental awareness campaign run through Environmental Science classes with posters, school announcements, the UNICEF TAP Project, a lunch-time pledge drive, and clean-up day. The project includes all teachers, students and staff in a celebration-style event.

Clubs and organizations are involved in a number of recycling projects including paper, plastics, used books (The Sign Language Club) and glasses (the Leo Club). Students in the Job Training class have also been growing plants and donating to Salisbury’s Boundless Community Garden. The National Honor Society has added native and non-invasive plants to the school’s Memorial Garden. The Wellness Committee has also sponsored the Walk Maryland Day to promote walking, exercise and appreciating nature.

In the pursuit of our school becoming a Green School, all content areas explored environmental topics and themes. For instance, students in Government classes studied urbanization and the issues that surround urban planning. In Technology classes, students applied the Engineering / Design Process to the environment and our community’s housing needs. Art II students used the school’s recycled paper to create works for Stash Your Trash, a community Earth Day project. In English 12, students researched the environment of the Eastern Shore, and in Spanish II, students studied and measured rainfall. Journalism I, students wrote articles on area environmental initiatives.

Science class student-projects focused on water conservation and pollution prevention, energy conservation, waste reduction, and habitat restoration. Others were challenged to improve James M. Bennett High School’s climate and habitat. Environmental Science and AP Environmental worked with Salisbury University to build and install 50 bird, bee and bat boxes on the school campus and in the community. Environmental Science students designed posters as a public service announcement in order to educate the school community on the causes and effects of climate change, as well as what can be done to reduce their carbon footprint. Additional student groups focused on increasing paper and plastic recycling efforts, conserving energy through powering down and picking up liter from our campus.

James M. Bennett High School has established several community partnerships used to increase our environmental awareness. These partnership collaborations develop education programs to understand the importance of reduce, reuse, recycle in Wicomico County. Benefitting not just our students, but also our community as a whole, we used the partnerships to engage parents, administration, environmental professionals and organizations, and students from elementary and middle schools that feed into Bennett. Mr. Mark Bushman, Education Director of Ward Museum, Salisbury MD visited our school on November 1st to guide staff effort to become a Green School. On January 27th, twenty-two teachers and three Salisbury University teaching interns participated in Project WET at Ward Museum to learn about different ways to incorporate Environmental Literacy into different Content Areas. Our science teachers have participated and presented at the MAEOE Conferences in 2017 and 2015, professional development at the Audubon Center Pickering Creek, the Mapping Maryland’s Stream project, and the BEAT Workshop—Bioenergy Academy for Teachers—a STEM class through UMES. We hope that this will create a culture of environmental awareness that sustains itself for generations to come.

If awarded the Green School honor, James M. Bennett High School will continue to make changes on our campus and in our community. We plan to go forward with new initiatives that bring awareness of environmental issues and implement ideas that make us better citizens of our planet.

Top 5 Accomplishments

#1. Recycling

James M Bennett High School recycles paper, cardboard, and used ink cartridges and plastics. Students promote recycling and assist in collecting and weighing these items.

# 2. Environmental Literacy in all content areas

At James M Bennett High school Environmental Literacy is incorporated into every content! At least one teacher from each department and teaching Interns from Salisbury University (future teachers!) are trained in the Project WET curriculum

# 3. Restoration and Habitat Creation

Students at James M Bennett High school have built and installed over 50 bird, bee and bat boxes. Students have also planted approximately 1800 wetland plants at Pickering Creek Audubon Nature Center.

# 4. From our school’s Green House to the Community

Students are growing plants in the greenhouse which will be planted at Boundless Community Garden in Salisbury.

# 5. Earth Day Celebration

Earth Day celebration with various student lead activities from Trashion Show, Clippers Choose Love for Earth Day pledge drive, schoolyard cleanup and schoolwide participation in UNICEF’s Tap Project.

Systemic Sustainability

1.1 Curriculum and Instruction: Environmental Issue Instruction

Algebra 1 (Grades 9, 10)

This lesson was presented and completed with Algebra 1 students (mainly freshman) during our unit on Exponential Functions. The students made connections with the growth of exponential functions and population growth. We looked at world population data from 1950 through 2050 (predicted) and had the discussion about the sustainability of our population growth with the limited resources of our environment. Students read the article, answered the questions and had a discussion about the impact of our population growth on our community and environments.

Technology Management for Family Wellness (Grades 9-12)

Apply the Engineering / Design Process to housing needs. Accurately integrate content specific vocabulary and trends (lifespan design, boomerang child, automation, universal design, ergonomics, family strength traits, functional, kinetic energy, solar energy, ecological footprint, environmental sustainability, eco design, textile recycling, repurpose . Work cooperatively to investigate, make decisions and create a design proposal to meet the lifespan housing needs of a specific family.

Earth Science (Grades 9-10)

Students in Earth Science classes studied the causes and effect s of climate change. As a part of the climate change unit, students created public service announcement posters. Students were encouraged to design their posters as a public service announcement in order to educate the school community on the causes and effects of climate change, as well as what can be done to reduce their carbon footprint. The posters were designed to allow students to explore the following topics related to climate change:

  • What are fossil fuels and how are they related to climate change?
  • What is deforestation and how does that relate to climate change?
  • What human activities contribute to climate change?
  • What are the effects of climate change?
  • What can people do on a daily basis to reduce their impact on climate change?
Environmental Science and AP Environmental Science (Grades 10-12)

Students in Environmental Science and AP Environmental Science classes studied human impacts on land use. Students explored ow humans have altered the biomes (explore land use around the world). They explored the different types of land use and organizations that manage public lands (Lecture and public land sorting activity). Students then evaluated the issues surrounding land use management (Issue analysis of rangeland management, forest resource management and fracking). Students described the different types of mining and conducted a mining environmental impact assessment study (Cookie mining lab). Students evaluated past and present land use policy. Students analyzed urban land use and investigated Smart Growth options by creating and evaluating a model of an urban community.


Students in Government classes studied analyzed the relationship between water problem and government policy. Students in government classes also studied urbanization and the issues that surround urban planning.

Spanish 3 (Grades 10-11)

In conjunction with the Robo en la Noche, set in the Costa Rican rain forest, Spanish 3 students visited the Baltimore Aquarium. Additionally they did short 30 second recordings in the rain forest about characters in the novel. Students also identified monkeys, parrots, frogs, turtles and other assorted animals from their study.


Students in Arts 3 and 4 designed and modelled clothes from trash.

ELA Journalism

Students in the journalism class focus on environmental topics that are relevant to our school and students write articles related to the environment as a part of our school’s newspaper The Kelp.


Students in Marketing classes used the Kill- a – Watt Meter to study the electricity used by different devices. Students created posters to create awareness about conserving energy that were displayed throughout the school.

1.2 Professional Development

1.2.1 Full Staff Awareness

The Instructional Leadership team discussed the Green School Program in October, and December 2016. It was decided that Green School Certification would be sought

At a faculty meeting held on December 5, 2017 The whole James M Bennett Faculty was made aware of the Green School Application process. The faculty were informed on the school's intent to apply in spring 2017. Our Principal Mr. Briggs provided the background about the Green School process.

1.2.2 Ten Percent of Teaching Staff Professional Development

Mr. Mark Bushman, Education Director of Ward Museum, Salisbury Md visited our school on November 1st and provided Professional Development on “What it is to be a green School? ”

Project WET

Twenty Two teachers and three Teaching Interns from Salisbury University participated in the Project Wet Workshop at Ward Museum on January 27th to learn about different ways to incorporate Environmental Literacy into different Content Areas. The training provided lessons of how to bring the environment to the classroom and activities for taking students outside.

“The goal of Project WET is to facilitate and promote awareness, appreciation, knowledge and stewardship of water resources through the development and dissemination of classroom-ready teaching aids that are interdisciplinary through the establishment of state and internationally sponsored Project WET programs. The Project WET Curriculum and Activity Guide is a collection of innovative, water-related activities that are hands-on, easy to use, and fun!”
1.2.3 Additional Professional Development
MAEOE Conference

Environmental Science Teacher Hemalatha Bhaskaran, participated and presented at the MAEOE conference on February 4th 2017 and in 2015. She presented the work that she did as a part of Research Experience for Teachers at UMCES Horn Point Lab.

Audubon Center Pickering Creek

Earth and Environmental Science Teacher: Carrie Bell, Chemistry and Environmental Science teacher: Genise Fleming and Environmental Science teacher: Hemalatha Bhaskaran worked with Audubon Center Pickering Creek on trainings focusing on developing student-led action projects to improve local stream and creek health. Mrs. Bell and Mrs. Bhaskaran also participated in 12 hours of professional development on July 26-27, 2016, focusing on changing land and natural resource use over time on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and how those changes have impacted both local water quality and the lives of Eastern Shore residents.

Mapping Maryland’s Streams

Chemistry and Environmental Science Teacher Genise Fleming Participated in the in the Mapping Maryland’s Streams Professional Development. Attached the lesson plan she developed.

BEAT Workshop

Ed Parrott Biology teacher participated in BIOENERGY ACADEMY FOR TEACHERS (BEAT) which promotes transdisciplinary content in STEM at University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

1.3 School-Wide Environmental Behavior Changes

In an effort to conserve energy Mr. Rob Jones our technology specialist has set up all of our school computers to automatically turn on as students arrive, and turn off at the end of the day. He has also set all printers to default to double sided printing. He has also been collecting recycling all projector bulbs that he replaces. Further, To reduce the paper consumption all the faculty resources are now on Share Point as opposed to hard copies being printed out and placed into binders distributed to all staff members. Rob was instrumental in facilitating this move, and training staff members in using the resource.

The new James M Bennett High School building opened in 2010, replacing the original 1960s building. The original building was lightly built, poorly insulated, and operated at high energy costs. The new building has many green features, not the least of which are geothermal heating and cooling, low emissivity windows, and smart building controls. To conserve energy all the lights at JMB are energy efficient and motion sensitive lights

The power point has the highlights of some of the green infrastructure.

With a partnership with Solar City, JMB now has a solar panel array. Since the system went online in July, 2015, 83% of the electricity consumed by the campus has been produced by this onsite solar array.

The Guidance department is working on reducing paper use by discontinuing requests for hard copies of records.

1.4 Celebration

2016 Clippers Choose Love for Earth Day Celebration

April 18th to 22nd, 2016: Students in Environmental Science classes organized an environmental awareness campaign for Earth day. Students shared some environmental problems and solutions with our student body through posters and morning announcements. Students also participated in a school wide clean up on Earth Day April 22nd.

As a school wide Earth Day campaign students to participate in UNICEF’s TAP PROJECT, where for every 5 minutes we go without using our cell phones, a child in need will get clean drinking water for a day. More information about the TAP PROJECT can be found at https://tap.unicefusa.org/. Please challenge your students to participate in the TAP PROJECT.

Students also be organized a pledge drive during all lunch shifts challenging students to do something positive for the environment or participate in the TAP Project.

Celebrating Green School 2017

To celebrate the green school initiative and to celebrate recycling ….students from the Green School Committee have been sharing recycling facts during the morning announcements and the Art Club presented a visual display of the paper recycled at JMB. Students are also planning to work with the Salisbury community and organize Stash Your Trash activities to celebrate our Green School for Earth Day 2017.

Celebrating Green School Application

To celebrate the Green School Application process all the Green School related application activities were shared with the faculty though the weekly faculty bulletin. The information was shared with the parents by our Principal Mr. Briggs, through his weekly parent link. Green School activities were shared with the students through the morning announcements. Our custodial staff were thanked for all their help with the Green School Process with thank you notes and donuts.

Student-driven Sustainability

2.1 Water Conservation / Pollution Prevention

Students in Environmental Science and Earth Science classes worked together and picked trash from around our school to prevent runoff into nearby storm water drains and streams (approximately 120 students were involved).

Students in AP Environmental Science and Environmental Science classes worked with Audubon Center, Pickering Creek to study the human impacts on water quality and ways to reduce the impacts of runoff. Students visited Pickering Creek and studied the relationship between land use and water quality. Between 2015 and 2016 students planted over 1845 wetland plants.

Eighteen students from our school’s Lions club participated in a tree planting event organized by the Lions Club of Salisbury. (The event was organized by Mr. Bob Langan who is our parent representative on the green school committee and the Lion’s club advisor!)

2.3 Solid Waste Reduction

Students in the science department have successfully started a paper recycling program at James M Bennett High School. Students from the science department collect and keep track of all the paper that is recycled throughout the school.

Students of the green school committee promoted the recycling efforts through videos and facts during the morning announcement.

Students from Environmental Science, Biology and Teaching Academy of Maryland (TAM) classes made posters and Memes to promote recycling. Students from TAM class upcycled cardboard boxes to recycle boxes and distributed them to classes that did not have recycle bins. (approximately 60 students were involved)

Students in AP Environmental Science classes decorated and displayed a Christmas Tree with Upcycled ornaments. Each student created an ornament completely from materials that would be considered trash. The tree was on display at our school’s main street. The ornaments were judged by our school’s secretaries and the winners received a homework pass! (Approximately 65 students were involved)

On Friday, March 3 Seniors Erin Langan and Guillermo Molina took 10 used ink cartridges to Staples to be recycled. These students work with our Media Specialist to collect and recycle ink cartridges from around our school.

2.4 Habitat Restoration

Students in Environmental and AP Environmental Science classes worked with Salisbury University’s Environmental Studies Department to build and install 50 bird, bee and bat boxes. The boxes were installed around the school and also in the community (approximately 65 students were involved)

JMB Memorial Garden

The James M. Bennett Memorial Garden was originally established in 2000, as a memorial to three Bennett students who passed away that school year. Adam Travatello, Lauren Sterling, and Jessie Smith all passed away during the 1999-2000 school year. They had interlocking circles of friends, therefore the students got the idea to build a garden in memoriam.

Jake Day, a Bennett student at the time and now current mayor of Salisbury, aspired to be an architect, and took the liberty of designing the garden. The theme of the garden became “circles of life” in order to celebrate the lives of the deceased. The designs were completed in May 2000 however construction was slow at first. The community decided to come together and complete the project over the summer.

The garden was completed on August 19, 2000, and a celebration was held on site. Bricks were added as time went on to remember those who were once part of the JMB family. However over time, the garden lost attention. A renewed interest in the garden began in 2013, marking the formation of the Memorial Garden Committee. This committee is responsible for the maintenance and beauty of the garden, making it a spot of peace and tranquility. Students may sit in the garden surrounded by trees and plants and enjoy nature’s beauty. The committee spends countless hours weeding the garden, planting flowers and adding bird nesting boxes to enhance its beauty and biodiversity of the Memorial Garden.

Senior Jake Berman identified the plants in the Memorial Garden and created interpretive signage about the ecological benefits of the plants in the memorial garden (approximately 30 students were involved).

2.7 Healthy School Environment

Students in Coach Jay Fenoglietto class have been working in to the green house to growing plants and donating to Salisbury’s Boundless Community Garden . Students are working with Master Gardener Nicole Miller and learning how to grow plants organically.

JMB’s SGA is promoting health school environment and lifestyle by organizing the 5K Turkey Trot in 2015 and this spring students are organizing the Bunny Hop on April 8th.

Walk Maryland Day is an annual event sponsored by the state of Maryland and the University of Maryland Extension to promote walking, exercise and traveling across the state of Maryland and appreciating nature. Participants can walk and log their miles. They can choose to log their miles onto the website and see how far they walked across the state. Our participants walked and we added all of our total miles together. Our goal was to walk 500 miles during the course of the week. JMB participants walked 537 miles during the week. A total of 90 students and 26 staff members participated in the program.

Community Partnerships & Recognition

3.1 Community Partnerships

James M Bennett High School Environmental Science classes partnered with Ward Museum and organized a field based study to explore human impacts on local biodiversity.

James M Bennett High School and Salisbury University's Environmental Studies Department have worked together to provide students opportunities to work on action projects. Mr. William Nelson was awarded a grant to work with our students to build bird, bee and bat boxes.

James M Bennett High School has partnered with Audubon Pickering Creek to meet the Environmental Literacy Standards by participating in the Audubon Watershed Experience and the Restore Maryland’s Stream’s Program

Salisbury Environmental Beauty Committee is partnering with JMB to be a part of the Stash your Trash initiative. They will be providing signs and stickers to be posted around the school.

School Active in Community

Students from Leo Club collected and sorted glasses

The SGA paired with From Roots to Wings to collect gently used socks for the homeless in the area. The Family and Consumer Science classes took the donations, and sorted them for repurposing.

Environmental Science students built rain barrels, that were donated to the local community garden.

Community Active in School

Mr. Mark Bushman, Green Leader has worked with our school and helped us throughout the Green School Application Process

Salisbury University’s Mr. Bill Nelson worked with Environmental Science classes to build bird boxes.

Mrs. Bhaskaran received grants to support Environmental Research.

3.2 Systemic Partnerships

JMB is in the process of applying for a community garden. Teachers from English, ELL, Special Education and Science Departments are working on our school’s Garden Committee

Our Principal has been in contact with the Curriculum supervisors about the Green School’s Program and Environmental Literacy.

3.3 Awards and Special Recognition

On April 25, 2016 the Art III's and IV's 'Trashion Show' was recognized by WBOC's Delmarva Life Show.