Getting Environmental Science back in the Classroom!

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Editor’s Note: This blog post comes from Youth Council Member, Sam Good. This 2014-2015 school year, Sam was involved with a Greening Forward funded project to install solar panels on his school. Learn more about Sam’s project and even apply for a Greening Forward grant at www.greeningforward.org/grants.

In December of 2014, I received a generous grant from Greening Forward to help reach my goal of expanding my high school’s environmental science program, particularly through the installation of a photovoltaic solar panel system on a portion of my school. Today I went and scoped out potential locations for a “Solar4RSchools” solar panel.

My school recently built a detached classroom out by our Greenhouse that will provide a new learning space for the horticulture and plant science classes. I’m thinking this would be a great place to put a solar panel system! Here are just a few pictures I snagged today:

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I just need to look into the legal matter of the issue, building permits and the like. I think that will be the most difficult part of bringing this project about.

I’ve contacted our school district office and discussed the possibility of putting a solar panel on the school, and they seemed pretty supportive. Solar4RSchools has done one project in Utah already, at Park City High School. That’s pretty close to where I live, so hopefully in the next few weeks I can either go visit or get in contact with the teachers that brought that system to their school.

 

Another aspect of my grant that I look forward to pursuing is the advancement of my high school’s environmental science program. When I was a sophomore (just last year), I enrolled in AP Environmental Science. The class literally changed my life and is the reason I am with Greening Forward today as a member of the International Youth Council.Our small class of 12 was absolutely incredible. Unfortunately, this last year, only 6 students signed up to take the course, and it was pulled from the schedule.

So at the moment, not a single kid among Weber High School’s 1800 students is learning about global climate change, the importance of recycling, or how to save energy in their daily lives. Isn’t that awful!? At the moment, the state of Utah has no set requirement/curriculum for any education on sustainability or human impact. It’s not even incorporated into the standard science courses we take in elementary and junior high school. I want to change that.

Screen Shot 2015-03-21 at 3.28.32 PMFor a start, I spent most of the afternoon yesterday at the “Wonderful World of Weber”, a sort of Exploratorium offered to incoming high school freshmen about the courses available to them. With a number of students that also care a little bit about the world, I set up a booth with a few science experiments (including a solar powered photobioreactor I built) to help get freshmen excited about taking environmental science!

 

I spent nearly two hours talking to hundreds of students, Screen Shot 2015-03-21 at 3.28.43 PMpersuading and coaxing them with my yellow flyers to sign up for what I referred to as the “best class ever”: AP Environmental Science.

We’ll see in a few weeks if my efforts paid off and if the course will be offered again. If enough students sign up, it should be back on the course-guide! Not to brag, but I feel pretty confident that I recruited enough students to fill at least one class.

I told most of the boys that Environmental Science was the class that all the cute girls took (which was true when I was in it), and I told the girls that it if they joined they could possibly come to New York City next year for IYEYS.

Special thanks to Greening Forward for all their support, and hopefully we will keep moving forward with this project! I’ll keep updating as I gain more information and make progress! Go green!

By Sam Good

Youth Council Member and Earth Savers Grant Recipient

Learn how you can obtain an Earth Savers Grant from Greening Forward to start eco-friendly initiatives (like Sam’s!) in you community :

http://greeningforward.org/grants/

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Solar4RSchools is a non-profit organization that works with local providers to help facilitate the construction of solar panels on schools. Learn more:

http://www.solar4rschools.org/

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