What Has the Eco Team Been Up To?

Katie Bryan, Science and Technology Writer

Most students who were at WFS three years ago remember 8th grade Austin Sarker-Young ’22 standing in front of the Middle School business meeting, announcing his plan for the Eco Team. Or at least they remember the slogan: GO ECO! But what has happened to the Eco Team since Sarker-Young graduated middle school? What is the Eco Team working on? 

Some background of the origin of the Eco Team is necessary to catch up to the current situation. In August of 2017, Sarker-Young inquired to Jonathon Huxtable, Head of the Middle School, if Wilmington Friends School was a certified eco-friendly school. Huxtable responded with, “no, but that can change.” The Eco Team materialized early that school year the long term goal to get the National Wildlife Federation (NWF)’s Eco-Schools Award. Wilmington Friends School has always strived to be eco-friendly but the National Wildlife Federation certificate as an eco school would be a gigantic step in being environmentally conscious. Since its inception, the Eco Team has built a meadow near the football field and the rain water garden outside the West Gym. They have completed the first level out of three (the Bronze Award) and are currently working on the energy pathway audit for the second level called the silver level. 

Pablo Charriez ’24 and Bella Adjei-Owusu ’22 are the “audit task force (coined by Sarker-Young).” They have been assigned by Sarker-Young to complete the Silverevel audit. This audit is a series of questions that Charriez and Adjei-Owusu must answer, this involves asking grounds crew and administration about the status of different parts of the school’s campus that could be more eco-friendly. Most of the Audit questions were centered around energy usage. Many of the requirements for the silver level regard changing/reducing energy consumption. Adjei-Owusu summed up the audit task force’s job as, “Regulating how WFS uses their power and trying to see if we can reduce it to a more economical option.” The audit will hopefully be completed by the end of the year and the team will work on brainstorming ways to limit energy usage or make it more eco friendly. 

Like most clubs and teams, the Eco Team would greatly improve without the struggle of covid. Pre-covid, meetings were proctored by Carlos Charriez, the sixth grade science teacher and sixth grade dean, and Jonathan Huxtable. These meetings would originate in Charriez’s room but they would also set aside time to go around the school and do smaller eco-friendly activities to help the school get closer to being certified. But sadly these fun group activities have been lost with covid and replaced with Zoom meetings. Adjei-Owusu commented, We (the Eco Team) were more united before the pandemic, and we felt more like a Team.” Huxtable pointed out that “zoom meetings are easier to generate broader groups and that is being underutilized currently.” Although Zoom has obvious negatives, it is often easier for more members to attend meetings from all different places. 

After Sarker-Young graduated Middle School, he continued the Eco Team as the ‘student leader’ through high school. But Sarker-Young said, “More team members from the middle school would be great.” Sarker-Young is a junior and realizes that he will soon graduate, leaving the Eco Team practically stranded as, according to Huxtable, “It remains his energy that is the propelling force in the Eco Team.” Sarker-Young is currently working on a succession plan because the Eco Team’s goals will not be completed in the short period of time he has. He noted, “Usually graduation is good but in this case it’s a bad thing.” The Eco Team will need to prosper once Sarker-Young leaves because the way the certificate works is once you have completed the final level (green flag) renewals are needed every two years or so. 

The Eco Team is a perfect example of what Wilmington Friends strives to be. A student led and teacher guided team of people working together and making progress towards something they are passionate about. Huxtable proudly explained that “The team sets an example for any other student to be an agent of change.” Sarker-Young’s slogan is what is often thought of when the Eco Team is mentioned but it is certainly much more than a catchy slogan, the team work and dedication of the team members are what have gotten this team so far. But with that being said, GO ECO!