MARC to honor Briarwood environmental program that spread throughout SMSD

An environmental project spearheaded by a Briarwood Elementary PTA mom has spread throughout the Shawnee Mission district — and will be getting special regional recognition at a ceremony in November.

Briarwood PTA Environmental Committee chair Luci Lee will be among the honorees at the Mid-America Regional Council’s annual Sustainable Success Stories event, which shines a light on projects, policies and practices that lead the region toward environmental sustainability.

Starting in 2008, the Briarwood cafeteria began diverting waste from the landfill by having compostable material — like uneaten food — picked up by Missouri Organic Recycling. Mixed recyclables were processed by a company now called Abi-Bow. The pilot project was funded by a Green Schools Grant. Starting in 2009, Briarwood shared its grant materials with Tomahawk Elementary. From there, the concept spread throughout the school district, with Brookwood, Corinth, Prairie, SM East and several other schools both in and beyond SMSD launching similar efforts.

Lee and the Briarwood Environmental Committee have also spearheaded the formation of a student Healthy Planet Team, which is made up of third through fifth graders.

The MARC ceremony will be Nov. 30 from 8:30-11 a.m. at the Kauffman Foundation, 4801 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, Mo.