August 2014 News

In This Issue
21st Century Green School Training - Fee Reduced
Green Schools Featured in Wicked Local
Green Schools Attends U.S. Dept. of Education Green Ribbon Schools Ceremony
Quote from President Obama
Anne Hutchinson School Feature
Depressed? Maybe It's in the Air
Sensible Steps to Healthier School Environments
6 Student-Led Tech Projects
A Guide to the Energy of the Earth
Do You Know What's In Your Water?
5 Foods You Can Grow From Leftovers
Man Uses "Water Bike" To Commute
Mom's Automatic Dishwasher Supreme Sauce
Save the Date
Grant Opportunities

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Summer is here and that can usually mean expensive vacations, camps and day trips. But, fear not here are 31 Things You Can Do Instead of Spending Money brought to you by (No how GREEN is that!)
"Believe it or not, there are still fun, interesting, and inspiring things to do in every corner of the country that cost absolutely nothing, which is good since prices are rising to historic rates. The average cost for a movie ticket is an all-time high at $8.38 nationally, making a simple night at the movies too costly for many families. Finding activities that you can do without spending money has become a top priority. 



No matter where you live, there are plenty of things to do without spending money. From amazing places with breathtaking views, to sports and activities that can keep you entertained, to the joy of learning, building, and exploring new things, here's a list of 31 meaningful things you can do instead of spending money. 

1. Find the most beautiful place within 100 miles and go there. Explore it. Or just find a bench and take in the view.

2. Read a book. Start with a classic like Catch 22 or Great Gatsby.

3. Visit a local museum. Art museums often have amazing grounds to explore.

4. Go to a park. Play on the playground or dip your toes in the stream.

5. Clean your house. There's never a bad time to check it off the list.

6. Write. Anything. It doesn't have to be the next American novel, and no one else has to read it. But putting your thoughts on paper can change your life. 


Read entire list


21st Century Green School Training - Training Fee Reduced!







Register By August 3rd! Register HERE!








Develop Your 21st Century Green School Modeled after the 3 Pillars of Success!



Modeled after the US Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools Program, learn how to implement the 3 Pillars and exemplary practices in your K-12 school.



36 Lincoln Street, Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA


Friday August 8th 8:30 am - 4:00 pm


Green Schools Featured in Wicked Local Mansfield


By Heather Gillis Harris 

PLAINVILLE - On May 28, representatives from the Plainville School District attended an award ceremony at the Massachusetts State House and were recognized by Project Green Schools with an Outstanding Commitment to Greenovation Award.
The Greenovation award recognizes schools for outstanding work in the fields of environment, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) and Innovation, said Project Green Schools President and Plainville resident Elizabeth Nowakowski.
Nowakowski nominated the Plainville School District for the award.
"As a Plainville resident, a parent and the current president and board member of Green Schools, it was clear to me that Plainville Schools deserved a GreenDifference award," she said. "The entire school community has been working on many different initiatives in the areas of wellness, environment and STEM, and what we needed to do is recognize all that hard work."
 Read Entire Article


Green Schools Attends U.S. Dept. of Education Green Ribbon Schools Ceremony


Green Schools enjoyed being surrounded by friends, partners and true Green Schools Leaders at the 2014 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Ceremony on July 22nd. 




White House Council on Environmental Quality Acting Chair Mike Boots and U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce Mark Schaefer joined U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today to congratulate the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools and District Sustainability Awardees on their achievements at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.


At the event, 48 schools were honored for their exemplary efforts to reduce environmental impact and costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education, including STEM, green careers and civics. In addition, nine districts were honored with the District Sustainability Award.


Representatives from honored schools and districts received sustainably crafted plaques and banners in recognition of their achievements.



Pictured: U.S. Department of Education's 

Secretary Arne Duncan

"Healthy, safe and sustainable facilities combined with wellness practices like outdoor physical activity, nutritious food and hands-on environmental learning form a strong foundation for a quality education," said Secretary Duncan. "Today's honorees are leading the way on incorporating best practices to reduce facility costs and increase achievement, health and equity, for all schools-not just aspiring green schools."


"The 2014 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools are leading by example for the rest of the country," said Acting Chair Boots. "As they take important steps to improve public health and reduce environmental impacts, like cutting carbon pollution and improving water quality, today's honorees are also increasing efficiency and cutting costs. That's exactly the kind of leadership we need to build a cleaner and safer world." ~U.S. Department of Education


  Pictured: Associate, Schools Advocacy U.S. Green Building Council, Nate Allen, Green Schools Executive Director, Robin Organ, U.S. Green Ribbon Schools Director, Andrea Suarez Falken



Photos from the ceremony can be found here and evening reception here

Video recording of the afternoon is here

You can find the press releaseblog and Director Andrea's closing remarks 



Schools and districts to use the many resources and webinars on our Green Strides pages so that they may reduce environmental impact and costs; improve health and wellness; and teach effective environmental education, eventually qualifying to apply for the prestigious Green Ribbon Schools Award. 



Quote from President Obama



 "Climate change poses a direct threat to the infrastructure of America that we need to stay competitive in this 21st-century economy. That means that we should see this as an opportunity to do what we should be doing anyway, and that's modernizing our infrastructure, modernizing our roads, modernizing our bridges, power grids, our transit systems, and making sure that they're more resilient. That's going to be good for commerce and it's obviously going to be good for communities." -- President Obama, delivering remarks at the Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience Meeting, July 16, 2014



Recycling and Composting Initiative at Anne Hutchinson School



Check out this recycling and composting video from The Anne Hutchinson School, a 2014 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools school.



Depressed? Maybe It's in the Air


Depressed? Maybe It's in the Air

Elise Miller, MEd, CHE Director 

"When I spoke with a colleague earlier this week, she said, "Just breathing this air makes me depressed." She lives in an urban area where high temperatures and heavy smog are the norm at this time of year. I don't think she meant she was clinically depressed, but her remark may have some physiological truth in it.


Until just recently, most of the research on air pollution has looked at associations with respiratory concerns. Just last week CHE hosted a call on air pollution and asthma [see:  Breathing Deep: Air Pollution, Health, and Public Health Policy]. But more recently studies have found links to other health outcomes - including cardiovascular disease, diabetes/obesity, cognitive function, and yes, mental illness.

Last month, a new study suggested that exposure to air pollution in early life may contribute to the onset of schizophrenia and autism. Other research has shown that air pollution may be associated with depression [see: Air Pollution Linked to Learning and Memory Problems, Depression and Smog in our Brains].


These are very preliminary findings, but coupled with studies on the impact pesticide exposure (some airborne) on the neurocognitive function and mental health of farm workers, it is clear this is an area of research that needs further exploration. And I would say the need is rather urgent, given these statistics:

Even if air pollution only contributes to a small fraction of mental illness, can you imagine what cleaner air would do to reduce those rates of disease and costs to the economy, not to mention the emotional toll on so many people, including their families and friends? Even the suggestion that this is an issue of 'jobs vs. the environment' seems almost laughable, if it weren't so tragic. If people don't have clean air, then they may not be able to work because they're either too depressed, in the emergency room with an asthma attack, or disabled by cardiovascular disease. It's that simple. In this country we may be able to point to having higher air quality than 30 years ago, but as more coal plants are being built in China and more diesel cars and trucks are on the road in India, we are all impacted more than ever before and likely more than we even realize.    


I applaud those of you, both in this country and abroad, who are focused on reducing air pollution in a number of important ways--from promoting the development of renewable energy technologies to pressing for stronger regulatory actions. May your initiatives and our collective efforts prevail. And in the meanwhile, I hope all of you are able to take some time away from your desks this summer to be in nature where the breathing is easy--or at least, easier."



Sensible Steps to Healthier School Environments 



Check out this FREE EPA document as well as their

Quick Assessment Checklist to help create healthier 

school environments!


Use the voluntary assessment foldout to help you reduce and prevent exposures to common environmental health hazards in your school. Each topic area covered below has low or no-cost steps which can be taken to improve your students' environmental health. This tool also highlights waste reduction and energy efficiency strategies to help conserve valuable, financial resources. 



6 Student-Led Tech Projects that Battle Climate Change



By Sylvan Lane 


The science behind what makes our planet's temperature rise is pretty straightforward. Pollutants like soot and greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide trap heat within the earth's atmosphere, the global average surface temperature goes up, ice caps melt, sea levels rise and extreme weather events become even more extreme.

However, American college students are coming with with some of the coolest ways to battleclimate change and clean up domestic energy production.


From earning rewards while tracking your energy consumption to recharging your battery with a run, here are six projects giving a greener future the old college try.

 1. REECycle

Recycling rare earth elements to save energy and make money

Ending the United States' dependence on fossil fuels is easier said than done. But REECycle, a process developed by students at the University of Houston, might make fueling the clean, green break from oil, coal and natural gas easier.


Efficient electric motors and wind turbines depend on neomagnets made from neodymium and dysprosium, two rare earth elements (REE) that are difficult to find and harmful to mine. However, REECycle has developed a way of reclaiming these elements from trashed electronics, and then reselling them for profit.

Read Entire Article


A guide to the Energy of the Earth - Joshua M. Sneideman



Let's Begin...


Energy is neither created nor destroyed - and yet the global demand for it continues to increase. But where does energy come from, and where does it go? Joshua M. Sneideman examines the many ways in which energy cycles through our planet, from the sun to our food chain to electricity and beyond.

Watch Now




Do You Know What's In Your Water? May be more than just water...



Dasani Bottled Water Has 4 Ingredients: Tap Water, Known Teratogen, Lethal Drug, and Salt


 Posted Wednesday, February 19, 2014





"I remember the first time I tasted Dasani bottled water. It was 2004 and I was at a gym in Orange County, California. The drinking fountain at the gym was out of order so I purchased a bottle of water from a vending machine. I cracked open that lid and-YUCK! I had never tasted water so disgusting. Who knew water could have such a strong taste? At the time, I assumed my taste buds were off and eventually I drank Dasani bottled water again... always with the same reaction. Gross! I've finally learned my lesson. Unless I'm extremely parched, I would rather remain thirsty than drink Dasani. While everyone's bodies are different, I personally have a visceral reaction to Dasani. After drinking Dasani, my stomach sometimes hurts and I almost always have terrible dry mouth. Have you noticed any of these side effects after drinking Dasani? ....


Read Full Article 


5 Foods You Can Grow From Leftovers

 Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle in your garden with these five foods that can keep growing (and regrowing) even after you've gotten a good meal or two out of them

1. Celery

2. Ginger
3. Garlic

4. Sweet Potatoes

5. Green Onions


Learn How


Man Uses "Water Bike" To Commute

Posted: 10/04/2013 5:07 pm EDT  |  Updated: 10/06/2013 5:30 am EDT 



It's not an accident that most major metropolises are situated on or near bodies of water. Cities like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles all boast beautiful views, robust economies, and ... atrocious traffic. Which is why it's also not an accident that all four of these cities are trying to become more bike friendly, with San Francisco in the lead, New York impressively innovating, and LA pedaling to keep up.


But what if these cities could go even further? What if they could promote bike transportation while also using their coastal conundrum to their advantage?


Enter Judah Schiller and his water bike.


Read entire article


Mom's Automatic Dishwasher Supreme Sauce


"Tired of shelling out $6-15 a month for chemical laden Liquid Dishwashing detergent? I wastoo, so I created Mom's Super Dishwasher Sauce, a super concentrated Dishwasher safe* dishwasher liquid that actually works and it handles 64 loads of dishes for less than .02� per Load, and does NOT leave a film on your dishes, maybe I should seriously call it Awesomesauce!...


While this recipe is pretty simple and doesn't require cooking of any kind, it does require that you follow the directions completely, or it won't come out properly. (Trust me, I made 13 batches of homemade dishwashing soaps before I finally perfected this one. So, take advantage of my willingness to trash my own kitchen in the name of DIY & MYO!)"


Click for recipe and more!


Save the Date! 



Grant Opportunities
ClimateChangeLIVE Grants for School Projects: Deadline: September 30, 2014

Would you like your class to be part of the climate solution and do you have an idea for a school project that can help address climate change? Do you want to start a project that reduces your carbon footprint and/or educates other students or the community about climate change? Want to start a recycling program or energy and water conservation project for your students? Need funds to implement your project? Apply for a Project Learning Tree GreenWorks! grant!


Click for more information and an application for the Project Learning Tree/US Forest Service GreenWorks! ClimateChangeLIVE grants up to $1,000 are available at



Project Learning Tree GreenWorks! Grants: Deadline: September 30, 2014

Project Learning Tree� (PLT), an award-winning national environmental education program for educators and students in grades PreK-12, has GreenWorks! grants of up to $2,000 available to schools and youth organizations for environmental service-learning projects. Students "learn by doing" through community action projects they design and implement to improve an aspect of their school or neighborhood's environment. These environmental action projects blend community service with academic curriculum to link classroom learning to the real world. Since 1992, PLT has helped fund more than 1,000 GreenWorks! projects across the country. From North Pole, Alaska to Key West, Florida, students have planted trees, restored habitats, improved streams, constructed trails, and more. PLT also provides grants to schools to implement recycling programs, conserve water and energy, or establish school gardens or outdoor classrooms-and integrate these projects into the curriculum. Apply online. Seed Grants  Deadline: Ongoing


Are you working to start a community action project or program with your friends? Do you need money to put your ideas into action? A $500 Do Something Seed Grant is given out every week to help young people just like YOU! These grants can be used towards project ideas and programs that are just getting started, or to jump-start your program and realize your ideas for the first time. These grants can also be used towards projects that are already developed and sustainable, towards the next steps of your project and organization to help you as you look to expand your project and grow your impact. Click Here   




Robin Organ

Founder and Executive Director

Green Schools