MARCH 2008 NEWSLETTER
In California, the blossoms are popping and Spring Fever is spreading! Wherever you may be, Earth Day is coming up and we have loads of ideas and resources to help you celebrate and create a tangible environmental benefit. School budget cuts are hitting, but there are many things you can do to green your school that can help save money too. The new FIT Guidebook published by the Coalition for Adequate School Housing (see below) has many tips and resources for facilities best practices. So read on for book reviews, a student contest and more.
Thanks for all you do – for Earth Day and every day!
SCHOOLS IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Drying Up the Junk Mail Flood
The Park School in Massachusetts recently took up the challenge of reducing paper waste by holding a competition among the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades to see which grade could bring in the most unwanted catalogs. Through the free non-profit Catalog Choice website, they registered to opt out of the catalogs – and they made a fantastic video about it! Reducing paper waste is a step toward “Using Resources Sustainably,” which is part of Pillar 2 in our Green Schools framework. Way to go, Park School! Learn how your school can reduce catalog waste by watching their video at: http://www.parkschool.org/blogs/ted_wells/2007/12/20/catalog-movies/
BOOK REVIEW : The Green Parent
Contemplating the earth’s environmental future can sometimes make a parent blue. Now parents can shake the blues with Jenn Savedge’s The Green Parent: A Kid-Friendly Guide to Earth-Friendly Living. The book is all about helping parents find easy ways to go green while raising a family. You’ll find resources for getting kids involved in ecology, saving energy, reducing, reusing and recycling, and earth-friendly products and services. The book includes fun activities to help kids learn how to make small changes – and make a big difference.
Leslie Garrett, author of The Virtuous Consumer, says, “The Green Parent…guides us through how to live "green" and pass that love and respect for the earth on to our children…Savedge writes with an infectious optimism that motivates us to change our ways and change the world in the process.” Leading by example, The Green Parent is printed on 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper and processed chlorine-free. But it gets even better: for every book sold, the publisher, Kedzie Press, will plant a tree as part of their “Million Tree-A-Thon” effort to plant one million trees by December, 2009!
The Green Parent is available at www.kedziepress.com. Use coupon code TGP2008 to get a $3 discount good through March 31. With the free shipping being offered by Kedzie, your grand total will be $9.95. Hurry!
NEW REPORT: Getting California School Facilities in Shape—and Going Beyond
To assist public school facilities managers and others with the tasks of completing the Facilities Inspection Tool (FIT) and ensuring that school facilities are in good repair, the non-profit Coalition for Adequate School Housing (CASH) has published the FIT Guidebook to provide practical information, specific examples, and useful tips on how facilities managers can best use the FIT - and go beyond the FIT.
In 2007, the Office of Public School Construction (OPSC) developed the Facility Inspection Tool (FIT) for school facility professionals to use to inspect and evaluate the condition of school facilities and determine whether facilities are in “good repair” and create an overall school facility rating as required by the California Education Code. The state has defined “good repair” as a facility that is clean, safe, and functional and the FIT checklist for visual inspections is used to identify conditions. All public school districts and county offices of education in the state must use the FIT (or an equivalent tool) and report conditions on the annual School Accountability Report Card.
While the FIT is the minimum standard for school facilities, “going beyond the FIT” means implementing best practices to ensure that school facilities are not only meeting the minimum standard for good repair—safe, clean, functional, and free of health and safety threats—but also sustainable, healthy, and in excellent condition. The new FIT Guidebook is a useful compilation of tips and resources for best practices.
Download FIT Guidebook as a PDF at www.cashnet.org or order a hard copy by calling 916-448-8577.
ANNOUNCEMENT: Envision 2050 Youth Poster Competition
San Francisco-based Urban Re:Vision, along with many notable partners, has launched a national eco-literacy competition intended to inspire and engage middle and high school students in the ongoing dialogue on environmental issues. Envision 2050 asks students in Grades 6-12 to imagine their world in the year 2050 and present their ideas in poster form. The posters should convey how students envision their future city or neighborhood with a focus on sustainability, reduced carbon emissions, and the balance between the built environment and nature. Students’ art will be judged by some of the leading innovators in the eco-conscious movement.
Winning designs will be honored in gallery exhibits associated with World Environment Day in June 2008. In addition, the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) will award four $4,250 scholarships to high school students for the summer of 2008, and three prizes to winning middle school students. Teachers are encouraged to incorporate the competition into their curriculum and will also receive rewards and recognition should their participating student win.
Students will submit their 24" x 36” poster by mail or via email in the form of a high-resolution photo. For entries submitted by mail, Urban Re:Vision will purchase “carbon credits” through Native Energy to offset the carbon output. There are no restrictions on content or theme, but recycled or recyclable materials are strongly encouraged, and a brief, written description is required.
The deadline for entry is May 15, 2008, and winners will be announced June 1, 2008. Complete rules, registration forms, judging criterion and teacher resources are available at http://www.urbanrevision.com/envision2050.