The National Wildlife Federation is hosting a workshop on Saturday, Nov. 2, for middle school science teachers to provide them with the framework to implement a student-based energy efficiency program at their school that applies STEM teaching methods.
Teachers who attend will receive a $100 stipend, 6 CPE credits and TEKS aligned curriculum. Schools that send a team of two to three science teachers will be eligible for a $500 grant from the NWF to help their school become more sustainable.
Participating schools are then awarded special flags to mark their achievements.
“Teachers will find that only a small amount of funding can help their school make great strides in becoming an award winning eco-school,” said Marya Fowler, NWF’s senior education outreach manager for the South Central Regional Center in Austin.
Schools may also get credit for work that is underway or completed, she said. For example, schools that already have a successful gardening program, schoolyard habitat or recycling program could be ready to apply for the Bronze award.
“To earn the Silver or prestigious Green Flag award, the highest level attainable, schools need to address energy conservation which will be the focus of our November 2 workshop,” she said.
The workshop will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Marcile Hollingsworth Science Center, located at 13250 Summit Ridge Dr., Houston, TX 77085. The event is part of an ongoing partnership between the district and the NWF to help green HISD campuses.
The goal of the Eco-Schools program is to make environmental awareness and action an intrinsic part of the culture of a school, creating Eco-Action teams that include students, teachers, administrators, non-teaching staff, parents and the community.
To date, more than 20 HISD schools are taking part in the Eco-Schools program. Fowler is hoping more campuses will get involved as the district continues to push its green building initiatives, especially through the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification program.
HISD already has more than two dozen campuses that are certified or pending certification in the program, which encourages schools to use building and design practices for sustainability and energy efficiency. The district has committed to using LEED standards for all new schools built under the 2012 program.
The Eco-Schools Program provides another way for schools to become greener, even if they weren’t originally built with that goal in mind, Fowler said.
“Studies show that hands-on environmental education boosts student engagement and achievement in science and math,” Fowler said. “Another bonus is that because students are solving real sustainability problems on their campus, school districts save money.”
Teachers interested in attending the Saturday workshop or learning more about the Eco-Schools program should email Fowler at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about HISD’s green building efforts, visit www.houstonisd.org/greenschools.