Monday, June 5, 2023

January Emerald Keepers of the Month: CUSD’s Charity Campbell and Amanda Tarantino

Amanda Tarantino and Charity Campbell

Coronado Emerald Keepers of the Month, Charity Campbell and Amanda Tarantino, have made huge strides toward reducing waste in the Coronado Schools. They are brimming with ideas to create, as well as to improve, sustainable programs. Campbell, Coronado Unified’s Director of Child Nutrition Services, and Tarantino, Child Nutrition Supervisor, have written grants to facilitate their plans for food waste reduction and the elimination of plastic waste. They are also involving students in the process of growing their own food. They do this all while making it fun for the kids and incorporating learning standards. Intern Jacklyn Neves collects data for them to track the benefits of their initiatives. These women know the power of collaboration as a force multiplier—they are working with Emerald Keepers, I Love a Clean San Diego, the City of Coronado and EDCO to make these initiatives happen.

Reducing 50 percent of the waste in Coronado schools by the end of the school year is one of their goals—and they are well on their way! They have implemented “share tables” to reduce food waste. This food waste, which usually goes to the landfills, is what produces harmful levels of methane, a greenhouse gas. Federal guidelines mandate that servers provide the students with all of the ingredients to prepare their lunches. Whole fruits, unopened milk containers, and food packages can be sanitized and put on the share tables for others to enjoy. “The kids really enjoy it,” says Campbell. The custodians are also showing appreciation for the simplification of their jobs.

Village Elementary teachers Brittany Lindquist and Devon Roberts try out the filtered, chilled,
water bottle filling stations.

Disposable water bottles are also part of Campbell’s and Tarantino’s waste-reduction target. Working with the CUSD Wellness Committee and Emerald Keepers, they have been instrumental in eliminating single-use water bottles on all school campuses. A recent article published in The Hill states that 71 percent of single-use plastic bottles end up in waterways or landfills rather than being recycled. Now that all CUSD buildings (and many other locations around Coronado) have state-of-the art cooled and filtered water refill stations, students and staff are asked to use their refillable water bottles. As of November 2022, Neves’ data shows that at least 33,400 water bottles have been saved by using the refill stations!

Congratulations Charity Campbell and Amanda Tarantino, Emerald Keepers of the Month. Emerald Keepers is looking forward to more great Earth-saving work from this dynamic duo.