Schools across the Commonwealth have designed programs that include energy and environment-related themes ranging from energy efficiency to recycling to renewable energy. These initiatives − which include extensions to mandatory K-12 science curricula – are making students an increasingly important part of Massachusetts’ clean energy initiatives.
Last May, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Sullivan, on behalf of the Secretary's Advisory Group on Energy and Environmental Education (SAGEE), honored Massachusetts schools, students, and nonprofit organizations from 24 communities across the Commonwealth for their outstanding achievements. Later in May, another group of students and teachers were recognized as Massachusetts and national winners of the NEED (National Energy Education Development Project) Youth Awards. This time EEA Undersecretary for Environment Phillip Griffiths did the honors.
Here’s a sampling of the NEED projects undertaken by these students and their advisors:
- Energy saving lighting retrofit that saves $33,000 annually, an energy jobs program, and elementary school student mentoring program – Boston Latin School
- Outreach and education about solar power for municipalities – Sandwich High School
- “Power-Down” program to raise awareness about energy conservation within the school, which led to a 5.5% reduction in energy consumption – Acton-Boxborough Regional High School
- “Energy Savers” education for school staff, students, and the community about ways to conserve energy – Bourne Middle School
- Energy experiments, poems and essays shared with other students, the Sandwich School Committee and community (via local TV) – The Forestdale School, Sandwich MA
- Energy carnival that included a challenge to families to create an energy efficient house from a box , a club for first grader energy education, and an engineering club that built a solar oven – Eastham Elementary School
- ”Energize for Our Environment” to raise energy awareness: turning the school parking lot into an idle-free zone and selling CFL’s to town citizens – Harwich Community Learning Center
These projects and programs certainly raise literacy among young people. Our hope is that these students will also share this message with their parents and communities: responsible energy use is critical to Massachusetts’ future. The SAGEE and NEED youth programs can help spawn a new generation of forward thinking clean energy movers and shakers.
With the new school year beginning, we look forward to seeing what clean energy initiatives students create this year!