Tag Archives: green

HISD Celebrates New Collaboration with National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools USA Program

The Houston Independent School District announced a new collaboration today with the National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools program.  The announcement was made during a press conference at Westside High School.  The NWF has worked successfully for nearly 10 years with HISD with the goal of helping to close achievement gaps for disadvantaged students and to improve science and math learning through the use of outdoor environmental education.

 The new Eco-Schools USA initiative will expand on the current Schoolyard Habitat program between HISD and NWF.  It will also allow for further expansion and development of the Green School Challenge, launched in December 2011, by helping schools develop and implement plans to green their schools by making buildings and campuses more eco-friendly.

HISD Superintendent Terry Grier said this partnership is the latest initiative in HISD’s ongoing commitment to promote green schools.  “This collaboration will offer a new, innovative approach to teaching environmental education in a non-traditional classroom setting, while providing students with more opportunities to learn about the importance of protecting our environment, “Dr. Grier said.  

“We are excited to be working with HISD to advance the district’s very ambitious and commendable sustainability goals,” said Susan Kaderka, Regional Director for the National Wildlife Federation.  “This effort is a win-win for students, for the district, and for the environment.  Students will be better prepared for 21st century careers and life choices, teachers will see greater enthusiasm for science and math, and the natural world will benefit from reduced energy and water use and better care from a new generation of environmental stewards.”  

At the press conference Westside High school environmental science and urban agriculture classes and the school’s ecology club were recognized for their accomplishments. Students there worked to restore 1.5 acres of Gulf Coastal Prairie, one of the rarest ecosystems in the nation.

“We’re proud of the work of our students, teachers, and staff at Westside High school and their ongoing efforts to make their campus green,” said HISD Chief Academic Officer Julie Fox Baker.  “We’re pleased HISD is the largest school district in the country participating in the Eco-Schools USA program.”  The NWF launched the Eco-Schools USA program in 2009.  Nationwide, there are currently 2,000 schools and more than 1 million students registered in the program.  For more than 70 years, the NWF has been educating people about the environment.  NWF’s education efforts annually reach more than 5,000 K-12 schools and nearly 4 million students through a variety of programs, including Schoolyard Habitats and Eco-Schools USA, which is committed to building a sustainable, comprehensive green school movement in the U.S and abroad.

HISD is First District to be Awarded Climate Corps Fellow from Environmental Defense Fund

The Houston Independent School District is the first district to be awarded an Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) Climate Corps Fellow this summer to develop a customized energy plan for implementation district wide.  Joseph Konkel, instructional assistant at the University of Houston’s College of Business, will provide consulting and expertise on the district’s energy needs during this summer. 

“We are thrilled to be awarded this Climate Corps Fellow as it will provide HISD added support as we continue with our energy efficiency efforts across the district,” said HISD Energy Manager Gavin Dillingham.  “Having a Climate Corps fellow will allow the district to prioritize facilities for large scale capital retrofits.”

The district will provide Konkel with senior-level support, a day-to-day supervisor, and access to energy use data.  HISD has committed to reducing its energy use, acting on the fellow’s recommendations where feasible, and providing updates on implementation of energy efficient measures at six and eighteen-month intervals, following the fellowship’s completion.

At the program’s culmination, EDF aggregates the total projected investment dollars, energy savings in kilowatt hours and cost savings resulting from recommendations made by the fellows.          

“I am excited that HISD has the opportunity to participate in such an innovative program.  Houston is already considered the energy capital of the world,” said Texas State Senator Rodney Ellis.  “This provides a great opportunity for HISD to be an example for other school districts around the country, as they are the first district to participate in the program.”

EDF’s Climate Corps is an innovative summer fellowship program that places MBA and MPA students from top graduate schools at companies, cities and universities to help with investing in energy efficiency.  Companies like Boeing, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Citigroup have achieved more energy efficient operations as a result of having a Climate Corps Fellow.  HISD is the first K-12 organization to participate in the program.

For more information about the District’s energy-efficiency initiatives, and the Green School Challenge, please visit www.hisd.org/greenschoolchallenge.  To access Climate Corps Fellow case studies, and learn more about the program, visit www.edfclimatecorps.org.

Young Men’s College Preparatory Academy to Beautify Campus in Honor of Earth Day

HISD’s Young Men’s College Preparatory Academy (1701 Bringhurst)  will celebrate Earth Day by hosting a campus beautification project on Friday, April 27 at 10 a.m.

“We are excited about this event, and our school community has embraced being an eco-friendly campus, not just on Earth Day, but all year round,” said Principal Dameion Crook.

On Friday, nearly 200 students, parents, volunteers and school staff will plant 80 trees near the school’s soccer field and throughout the campus. 

“I am excited to join Principal Crook and the students at the Young Men’s College Preparatory Academy in their efforts to revitalize our community in the Fifth Ward,” said Houston City Councilman Jerry Davis.  In an effort to help spruce up the academy’s grounds, Davis’ office donated supplies to support the school’s Earth Day event.  “I think it is imperative to work with our youth to instill a sense of pride in our community. Through their actions today, they are truly making a lasting impact that generations can appreciate for years to come.” 

The school currently has a campus-wide recycling program and is taking part in HISD’s Green School Challenge, a competition designed to reduce schools’ energy and water consumption, and to increase the amount of single-stream waste recycling. 

For more information about the Green School Challenge, and other green and energy-efficient initiatives, please visit www.hisd.org/greenschoolchallenge.