A Letter to Mrs. Obama from the Tupper Lake (NY) Middle/High School Green Team

Dear Mrs. Obama,

On behalf of our Green Team/Wellness Committee we applaud your efforts to improve school nutrition and decrease childhood obesity.

Our school, and many schools in our country,  rely on federal subsidies to make school lunches affordable and available to our students. Your consideration of the “kinds” of food offered would be so appreciated. Tupper Lake School District is trying to offer alternatives to the canned and processed foods that are currently federal subsidy items.

We would like to invite you and your family to our school to see the changes we have made to support your initiatives. Our school is nestled in the heart of the Adirondacks in New York State, and is adjacent to The Wild Center, a state of the art, innovative, LEED certified  natural history museum of the Adirondacks. It is a “must see” experience when in this area.

In our efforts to promote healthy choices for our students, we have secured a grant from Clean Air-Cool Planet to purchase a freezer to store fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables. That grant has also funded a compost storage bin and the construction of a root cellar, to be used as learning activities for our students. In this way they will understand that eating healthy, home-grown vegetables and the process of storing, composting, and returning enriched soil back to the garden completes a life cycle. Many students do not understand that healthy, whole foods do not come in a processed package.

This grant has enabled us to make recent changes in our cafeteria menu. Fresh/frozen fruit smoothies and yogurt/fruit/granola parfaits are now offered every morning and at lunch. These items sell out every day, and are slowly replacing pop tarts. We are now adding a sandwich bar and bagels with peanut butter for lunch. Students are choosing these options over processed chicken nuggets or pretzels with nacho cheese sauce.

It would be an enriching experience for you and Sasha and Malia to join us on “Adirondack Day” June 8, 2012. On that day students K-6 will be involved in various learning activities that celebrate the Adirondack Park and all its’ natural resources. Green Team students in grades 7-12 will be hosting a “life cycle” activity that introduces students to our first school garden, how the harvest is stored, composted, and returned back to the garden. This is just one of several educational and fun experiences our students will enjoy.

We look forward to your response. Please visit us any time if you cannot make this date. Governor Cuomo has often enjoyed visiting this Tri-Lakes region and we’d love for you to come to know it as well!

Sincerely,

Kathleen Eldridge,  Art Teacher and Green Team Advisor, Tupper Lake Middle/High School

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