Earth week celebrations part of Oak Park’s legacy


Caroline Bi

Aviva Medved and Diya Johny

This year, Oak Park High School students celebrated Earth Week on April 17-23 with a series of events that tied into the community’s long legacy of environmental responsibility. When the community was first developed in the mid-1960s, Oak Park urban planner Richard W. Smith helped preserve the beauty of the hills surrounding the schools with his concept of “environmental suitability.” 

Oak Park was one of the first private developments in California to be planned with an Environmental Impact Report,Smith said.

Oak Park Unified School District also has a long history of environmental activism. It was the state’s first school district with a comprehensive sustainability program and the first to receive the National Green Ribbon Award from the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Education. Thanks to activists like former OPUSD Superintendent Tony Knight, the district made it a moral imperative for all students and staff to be global stewards of the environment, creating a comprehensive sustainability program for all of the schools. Under Tony Knight’s leadership OPUSD was named the first U.S. Green Ribbion School District in California

Today Oak Park High School includes year-long programs to promote sustainability, including recycling and food composting separation in all classrooms, office and lunch areas, maintaining a zero-waste lunch policy and implementing refillable water bottle stations.

More information can be found on the Sustainability in Action page at