Mission Statement

The Soboba Tribal Environmental Department is committed to protecting, restoring, and enhancing natural resources on the Soboba Reservation for all tribal members past, present, and future.

What We Do

The Environmental Department works to raise awareness of all aspects of the environment. This includes solid waste issues, pollution prevention, water and air quality, conservation measures, household hazardous waste disposal, and many other areas. In addition to community outreach and education efforts such as participating in community events, the department also hosts an annual Tribal Earth Day event and community clean up days. We also conduct surface water quality testing on streams running through the reservation, collect and manage geographical data, and create programs to address environmental concerns.

An easy way to begin learning about the environment around you is to visit the United States Environmental Protection Agency website and use MyEnvironment

 

Community Clean Up 2018

Success!

The Soboba Tribal Environmental Department wanted to thank all the tribal members for their participation in another year of success for the community cleanup. The Environmental Department could not have accomplished this feat without the help and hard work of the public works crew. The department would also like to send a big thank you to the TANF Summer Youth Academy and all the volunteers that came out to help us.

It’s Back to school time! Yes, believe it or not, the summer is almost gone and kids all over the country are returning to school while parents are heading to the stores for back to school gear. This time of year promises new clothes, backpacks, and schools supplies for returning students, but did you know 35-45% of the solid waste stream comes from businesses and institutions like schools and that 86% of the waste can be recycled or reused. It is also estimated that the average school aged child wastes about 67 pounds in discarded school lunch packaging every school year. Wow! That’s a lot of lunchables and Capri Suns.

To help reduce waste and make the planet a little greener this school year, here are some ecofriendly tips for back to school. Also, check out websites like www.epa.gov and www.actsmart.act.gov.au for more about school waste Resources.

To help reduce waste and make the planet a little greener this school year, here are some ecofriendly tips for back to school. Also, check out websites like www.epa.gov and www.actsmart.act.gov.au for more about school waste Resources.

  1. Have your kids pack a lunch. When kids bring their own lunch, they tend to make healthier food choices. They can eat organic. They can also find the types of food they want to eat, rather than having to eat whatever option happens to be available in the school cafeteria.
  2. Use reusable containers to minimize waste. Skip the plastic bags. Put your kids’ food in reusable or recyclable containers. A few options we like include the ECOlunchbox and Lunchskins.
  3. Make sure your kid brings only the food he or she actually intends to eat. So much food waste is generated in the US and around the world on a daily basis. By bringing only the food they know they will eat, you can help minimize food waste and save money too.
  4. If your kids do end up having waste, tell them not to fret. Encourage your kids to recycle or compost as much as possible. A number of schools have been adopting recycling programs. Some even have school gardens, which benefit from compost made out of bits and pieces of uneaten school lunches.
  5. Get your kids a reusable water bottle. Stainless steel is always a good option, as you will not have to worry about toxins from a plastic bottle seeping into their water. Besides, some schools have water filling stations where kids can refill their water bottle throughout the day to help keep them hydrated.
  6. Talk to your kids about staying hydrated. Some of the benefits of staying hydrated include improved cognitive function, better moods, increased energy levels and more.
  7. Walk with your kids to school. This gives you and them a chance to get outdoors and get a little exercise before school starts in the morning and after school gets out. You can also have them ride their bikes or scooters to and from school. Be sure to find a safe route for them to use.
  8. Use non-toxic sunscreen. Even when kids are only outdoors for recess or lunch, the sun can be damaging to their skin. Using sunscreen will help protect them from harmful amounts of UV exposure.
  9. Check your inventory of school supplies before buying more. This will help you avoid purchasing items your kids don’t really need. Then, when you do buy school supplies, look for those with minimal packaging. Pick items made from recycled or sustainable materials.
  10. Encourage your kids to get outdoors. We know most kids will have homework to do after school. This doesn’t mean they shouldn’t spend some time outside. Getting out in nature is beneficial to their health and overall well-being. So, be sure to fit in some outdoor time between school, homework and bedtime. Your kids will be better for it!

Healthy School Environments

Approximately 55 million children and 5 million adults in the U.S. spend a significant portion of their days in more than 132,000 public and private school buildings. Many of these buildings are old, in poor condition, and may contain environmental conditions that pose increased risks to the health of children and staff. Unhealthy school environments can affect children’s health, attendance, concentration and performance, as well as lead to expensive, time-consuming cleanup and remediation activities. Environmental hazards commonly seen in schools are asbestos, poor indoor and outdoor air quality, water quality, chemical management, pest management, hazardous school supplies, ventilation, mold, and extreme heat events. One of the biggest health issues amongst children is asthma, which is a disease that affects the lungs causing the restriction of airways. Asthma is a chronic condition and is a leading cause of school absenteeism, accounting for more than 13.8 million missed school days per year in 2013. On average, one out of every ten school-age children has asthma. Asthma attacks in schools can be triggered by pest allergens, mold, dust mites, chemical odors, and, outdoor air pollutants like ozone and particle pollution from diesel school bus exhaust. Dust can be found in clutter-filled classrooms as well as fabric-covered objects such as stuffed animals and pillows that are also breeding grounds for dust mites. Both dust and dust mites can exacerbate asthma in children and adults.

The EPA has a role in the effort to create healthy school environments by offering a few options for states, schools, and even parents and teachers. The EPA offers guidance and tools to help crate or enhance productive learning environments while also providing regional contacts to help address school environmental health practices and concerns. The EPA also implements the Clean, Green, and Healthy, Schools Initiative that displays exceptional school environments in each of the EPA’s ten regional offices. The EPA has created a comprehensive brochure Sensible Steps to Healthier School Environments: Cost Effective, affordable measures to protect the health of students and staff; that addresses some of the most common areas of environmental health concerns found in schools. It also provides a one-stop access to learn some facts about these issues and the many existing low cost or no cost, affordable measures, programs and resources available to help prevent, reduce and resolve each of the environmental hazards. For more about healthy school environments and the Sensible Steps Brochure visit www.epa.gov/schools.