Learning by doing: Supporting green schools

By Kristin Brubaker

Posted July 9, 2019

The Pathways to Green Schools Mini Grant recipients have certainly kept busy since being awarded funding earlier this year. A total of $10,000 in funding was provided by Energize Delaware and was distributed among nine K-12 schools in the state of Delaware for projects that will engage students, families, and the community in the discussion about energy and climate change.

2700 students,

1100 community members,

260 staff engaged!

Brandywine Springs School hosted a Family Energy Night to engage students, parents, teachers, and community members through crafts, exercises, and presentations that demonstrate the basics of energy and how individuals can contribute to energy conservation. Leading up to the event, students created presentations and energy lessons to share with grades K-5. The students were engaged in hosting this event, by making posters and commercials to advertise the event. The night of, there were a lot of interactive stations, one of which included the school’s energy savings website, which includes information about energy saving from their new water bottle refilling station.

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First State Montessori Academy’s funding was awarded for a student lead project of installing a water bottle refilling station in the upper school building. The project has generated so much interest in waste reduction that the community has spearheaded another project to add another water bottle refilling station in the lower school building. The PTO has also now made a commitment to limit the use of plastic water bottles at events after seeing the students getting so engaged in reducing waste.

Lancashire Elementary School took a field trip to the Delaware Solid Waste Authority (DSWA) to learn about waste, implementing a recycling plan, and reducing GHG emissions from landfills. The students learned about what can and cannot be recycled and has inspired students to find ways to reduce waste in their school and homes. To reduce the amount of plastic waste at their school, the students had a letter writing campaign, which prompted the principal to install a water bottle refilling station to reduce the amount of plastic water bottles in the school.

dswa2 nicole pasquale
compost horgan 6 melissa tracy

Odyssey Charter School used their mini grant to purchase composting equipment to reduce organic food waste and associated GHG emissions from landfills. The second-grade students assembled compositing kits in their classrooms to observe decomposition of fruits vs Styrofoam cups. The 5-8th grade students learned about vermicomposting and maintained multiple composting kits through the end of the school year. The high school environmental club put together compost bins for the school’s food waste that will be fully rolled out in fall 2019. The school also performed a food waste audit and determined that 3lbs/lunch/grade would be kept out of the landfill with the implementation of these compost bins.

Postlethwaite Middle School received funding to purchase reusable mesh bags to replace the 350 single use bags that are used every school day to distribute breakfast in. Students have been using their math and science skills to test several types of reusable bags. The reusable bags will help the school save on the cost of purchasing plastic bags, raise awareness of single use plastics within the school and the surrounding community, and share this information with other schools.

reusable bag trials todd klawinski
springer eco night

Springer Middle School used their mini grant funding to host a family energy education night for students, families, and community members. Students had the opportunity to educate everyone on carbon footprints and reducing energy consumption. A Delaware State Senator was in attendance and after speaking with one of the presenters, is sponsoring a bill to protect pollinators in DE. The school building has also decreased energy usage from 2017 to 2018 after looking at the results of their energy audit and trying to reduce energy consumption.

The Independence School was awarded a mini grant to help educate students, family, and community members about the school’s geothermal heat pump. They have purchased and hung display panels which will include an energy education display. The students researched energy consumption and geothermal energy to create an illustration for the education display. Once the materials have been printed, they will be displayed on the panels.

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tatnall energy audit

The Tatnall School received funding to purchase energy and climate education tools such as kill-a-watts, thermal imaging sensors, air pollution and vehicle emissions test kits, and printing for student posters. The equipment has been purchased and the new Environmental Science teacher is planning the fall 2019 curriculum, which will include the use of these materials

Wilmington Montessori received funding to replace light bulbs in the main entrance and lobby area with LED bulbs. The school has improved its energy efficiency and reduced overall carbon emissions while getting the students engaged in the benefits from using energy efficient LED bulbs. In the coming school year, the students will determine the actual monetary and energy savings that the bulbs have produced. This project sparked a lot of interest in students on the newly formed Eco-Student Council which prompted them to advocate for an Earth Week program, which included students presenting on the LED light bulbs at a school assembly.

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