The Green Team Sees a Boost in Popularity


Ashley Kuropatkin

This year, Walpole High School’s Green Team has grown in size and popularity to spread the message of improving the environment. This year, the number of members expanded from five to over 30, its greatest amount in team history. The team is run by all juniors: president Thomas Knoth alongside co vice-presidents Rohit Josyula and Nathan Shnaider.

“Surprisingly, this is not a new group at all,” Shnaider said. “It has been active for many years, but never took off. I had the vision to develop the team into something more than just taking out the recycling.”

Karen Baumgartner, a teacher in the special education department, is the club director and helps to schedule events and supply the team. The Green Team was originally created in 2009 to promote a healthy relationship between students and nature.

“I have always been an advocate for improving the environment, and my inspiration for joining was because of the pollution and lack of recycling,” Josyula said.

Many students were motivated to join this club for a variety of reasons, including the vast amount of community service hours offered. Additionally, an ultimate goal for the members is to spread the word about caring for the environment based on personal experience, such as junior Jenifer Atallah.

“I was inspired to join the Green Team due to the constant pollution I have witnessed throughout the world,” Atallah said. “I often travel to Lebanon, a country that has not yet adopted a system for garbage collection, so I have seen many natural landscapes destroyed by plastic and artificial waste.”

The team collaborates with the town to strengthen and preserve the Walpole community. Part of the team’s funding is from the textile recycling located on the school’s property. Robin Chapell—the Health Director for the Board of Health—and her environmental committee members have also offered to help with the team’s funding as they paid for club T-shirts. The team is also partnered with the Walpole Recycling Committee, and both groups want to ultimately inform others about the importance of the environment.

“I was inspired by the dedication of my friends to such a neglected but important aspect of care for the school,” Knoth said. “I hope to gain a better understanding of how people take care of their trash and recycling and how the club can change it for the better, for our planet—starting at our school.”

The Green Team collaborates with other clubs as well. They have already participated in a forest cleanup on Oct. 20, after the school’s annual Pink Walk run by student council. As for the future, the team hopes to also grow a garden and make a film about recycling and the Green Team as a whole.

“By participating in the Green Team, I have the experience of helping to make a difference in my school and community,” Shnaider said. “I know that I’ve helped to make a positive lasting impact in not only my members, but all of the students at Walpole High School.”