Low-Water Landscapes for Schools – Beyond Gravel

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While there’s no question that gravel has a place in water-efficient landscape design, over-reliance on this material can produce results that fall short of what school officials, parents, community members and students expect from school grounds. Other low-water options exist that can provide habitat, ecosystem services, beauty, learning opportunities and even food.

At the 2015 Green California Schools and Community Colleges Summit, several of the state’s leading school garden practitioners will be on hand for a Pre-Summit session designed to highlight a wide range of possibilities for school sites. Presenters for “Landscape Alternatives: Drought with the Possibility of Rain,” from 10 am-3 pm on October 28, will include authors of some of the most influential guides to making the most of the aesthetic, ecological and educational potential of school landscapes.

All attendees will receive a copy of the book Asphalt to Ecosystems: Design Ideas for Schoolyard Transformation, which documents inspiring green schoolyard examples from almost 150 schools in 11 countries. (The author, Sharon Danks, will be among the presenters.)

For session details, click here. To register for the Summit, click here.

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Electric Vehicle Infrastructure, Incentives for Schools

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Since 2011, California has accounted for more than 40 percent of all plug-in electric vehicle purchases in the U.S. Whether schools are already thinking about EV infrastructure or not, the vehicle decisions being made by teachers, administrators and parents will increase the need for this to be part of their planning.

A newly-added session at the 2015 Green California Schools and Community Colleges Summit will feature a remarkable panel of EV experts who will share their insights regarding the state of the market today, ideas for incorporating charging on school campuses, and available incentives.

This session will be open to all Summit attendees. For session details, click here.

To register for the conference, click here.

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ZNE School Retrofits: Interview and Training

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The next stage in the evolution of energy efficiency is the “Zero Net Energy” building – one that, on an annual basis, produces as much energy as it consumes. ZNE projects will play a big part in California’s efforts to improve the efficiency of existing buildings by 50 percent by 2030.

A Pre-Summit training at the Green California Schools and Community Colleges Summit, on October 28, will offer an in-depth look at strategies for ZNE retrofits on school and community colleges campuses. The event will be facilitated by New Buildings Institute, a non-profit at the leading edge of national efforts to improve building energy performance.

NBI CEO Ralph Di Nola and Project Manager Heather Flint Chatto recently joined Green Technology for a short video chat about their session at the Summit.

To view the video, click here.

“Path to Zero Net Energy School Retrofits” is free to all Summit registrants, and offers 5 AIA continuing education credits. For details, click here.

To register for the Summit, click here.

Photo: West Berkeley Library, a ZNE facility designed by Harley Ellis Devereaux.

Posted in Education Program, Energy Efficiency, Green Building, Green California Schools Summit, Green Schools, Presenters, Program, Renewable energy | Comments Off on ZNE School Retrofits: Interview and Training

New Video Series: Meet our Speakers

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The Green California Schools and Community Colleges Summit offers attendees the chance to hear from inspiring individuals and organizations that are working to help districts create healthy, efficient schools. In this new series of interviews using the Blab platform, we’ll be conducting video chats with some of these groups and people.

These will give you a chance to find out more about what they are presenting, and why you should join us in Pasadena on October 29-30. Today, you’ll hear from Allie Bussjaeger of Grades of Green. To view the video, click on the image above. (You can also click here.)

If you’re on Twitter, follow us at @grn_tech and you’ll receive a notification via Twitter each time we have a new conversation, and you can join us live.

You can find more information about the Summit education program here, or click here to register online. See you in Pasadena!

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Why Do Green Schools Matter?

The Green California Schools Summit Takes Place in Pasadena, California
Tony Knight at the 2014 Green California Schools Summit keynote breakfast.

Can a district that makes a commitment to sustainability really expect to see a return from its efforts?

For decades, Dr. Tony Knight of the Oak Park Unified School District has remained focused on implementing curriculum and facility programs that create healthy learning environments and help students gain first-hand knowledge of the power of individual action.

As the 2015 Green California Schools and Community Colleges Summit approaches, it seems appropriate to share a previously-published Green Technology interview with Dr. Knight. You’ll be inspired by the progress his district has made, and the benefits its efforts have brought to the district, students, parents and the community. You can read the interview here.

“I have found the Summit to be an incredibly valuable ‘Idea Starter,'” Dr, Knight says. “Every year I attend, I come back to my District with either a new product to try or a new concept to explore.  The Summit attracts some of the best minds in school environmental education and facilities fields.”

He’ll be at the Summit, if you’d like to talk to him in person. We hope to see you there! You can register here.

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California State PTA: Climate Change is a Children’s Issue

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Atmospheric CO2 concentration is the highest in human history. Graph: NASA

At its annual conference this month, the California State PTA adopted a resolution on climate change and climate change education. The resolution was put forward by the San Diego Unified Council of PTAs and developed with assistance from the National Council for Science Education (NCSE).

Minda Berbenco of the NCSE was at the conference in Sacramento to support the resolution. “What came out of that meeting was affirmation that climate change is not just a scientific or political issue, it is a children’s issue—and if we are going to do anything for the next generation, we must prepare them for the challenges ahead,” she said.

The resolution asks the California State PTA to “urge its units, councils and districts to educate parents on the impact of climate change on children’s health and future welfare” and for school districts to “educate students on climate and energy literacy and human sustainability.”

 

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UN Secretary General to Pontifical Academy of Sciences:
Climate Change is the Defining Issue of Our Time

alaskan_glacierA shrinking glacier in Alaska: NASA image.
 

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences is the modern embodiment of the first exclusively scientific academy ever established, the  the Academy of the Lynxes (Accademia dei Lincei). The group was founded in Rome in 1603 and counted Galileo Galilei as a member.

The members of the Academy, known as  Pontifical Academicians include eighty women and men. According to the Academy website, “the Academy’s activities range from a traditional interest in pure research to a concern with the ethical and environmental responsibility of the scientific community.”

On Tuesday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon spoke at a climate symposium organized by the Academy.

“Mitigating climate change and adapting to its effects are necessary to eradicate extreme poverty, reduce inequality and secure equitable, sustainable economic development,” he told the group. “That is why I say climate change is the defining issue of our time.”

The complete address is available from the Vatican News Network. Click here to read it.

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Climate Change is the Defining Issue of Our Time

New Training Seminar Addresses Water Conservation and Code

droughtA new seminar from Green Technology will examine recent changes in California’s plumbing code relating to greywater, rainwater catchment and on-site water recycling.

Landscape irrigation accounts for as much half of residential water use, and greywater systems have the potential to greatly reduce the use of potable water for such purposes, -offering a sustainable strategy for those who want to keep their plants and trees healthy.

The five-hour seminar will help attendees understand newly-implemented guidelines for such systems. For more details, click here.

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Listening Session at the Summit: CDE Statewide Environmental Literacy Task Force (ELTF)

The California Department of Educations’s Statewide Environmental Literacy Task Force (ELTF) will hold a listening session from 1:30 pm-4:30 pm on November 5 at the Pasadena Convention Center, at the Green California Schools Summit. The session will be facilitated by the ELTF and Glen Price Group.

State Superintendent for Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and the California Department of Education launched the ELTF to develop a Blueprint with recommendations that implement California’s State Board of Education approved Environmental Principles and Concepts and ensure that all California students will develop the knowledge, attitudes, and decision-making skills to contribute to an ecologically sustainable future.

The Task Force is composed of key statewide education stakeholders with expertise in science education, classroom teaching and formal learning environments, informal and outdoor environmental education, culturally relevant curriculum, and green schools. The implementation in California of Green Schools, Common Core State Standards, and the Next Generation Science Standards offer important opportunities to integrate environmental literacy throughout the K-12 education system.

The ELTF is actively soliciting perspectives from broadly diverse interests to ensure that the final Blueprint for Environmental Literacy will meet the needs of California’s schools, students, and communities. The session at the Summit will give participants the chance to provide feedback and input on recommendations being developed by the ELTF.

Note: All Summit attendees are welcome to attend this workshop; there is no registration charge for participation. More Summit information here.

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ED-Green Ribbon Schools Celebrates Third Cohort

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Taylor, Rydberg, and Wheeler accept ED-GRS Director’s Awards.

It was smiles and green flags all around as Education Secretary Arne Duncan honored the 2014 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) and District Sustainability awardees in a Washington, D.C. ceremony. In its third year, ED-GRS recognized 48 schools and nine districts from across the country, including four honorees from California:

Lowell Elementary School in the Long Beach Unified School District
Mark Twain Elementary School in the Long Beach Unified School District
San Domenico School in San Anselmo, Marin County
Encinitas Union School District in Encinitas, San Diego County

New this year was recognition for the state education agency officials administering ED-GRS. The Director’s Award was given to Gilda Wheeler from Washington (2012), Victoria Rydberg from Wisconsin (2013), and Lesley Taylor from California (2014).

“I am honored to represent Superintendent Torlakson and the California Department of Education in my work with ED-Green Ribbon Schools,” said Taylor. “The schools and districts we work with inspire me on a daily basis with their passion for resource conservation, health, and environmental education.”

The California Department of Education (CDE) has participated in ED-GRS since its inception. The complementary state-level award, California Green Ribbon Schools (CA-GRS), launched in 2014. Applications for state and federal awards will be available on the CDE Web page in September. In the meantime, follow CA-GRS on Facebook and follow @CAGreenRibbon on Twitter for updates on California’s green schools.

Connect with Taylor and other green schools stakeholders at the Green California Schools Summit, November 5-6, 2014 in Pasadena.*

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