July 2014 News

In This Issue
July is Park and Recreation Month
Green Schools for the 21st Century Training
Harvest of the Month
Green Schools Participated in Gro Something Greater
Farm to School Census is Out
D.C. Bans Plastic Take-Out Containers
Teen Carbon Mitigation Challenge
Beginner's Guide to Home Composting
The Radix Endeavor
Compost Labryinth
Save the Date
Grant Opportunity

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Meet our new Green Schools Student Co-Presidents
Samuel Koufman, Senior at Manchester Essex Regional High School and Jillian Rizzitano, Senior at Algonquin Regional High School 



Samuel Koufman has been diligently working with the Manchester Essex Green Team as the Co President donating over 700 hours to this organization. The Green Team is a grade 6-12 program that allows students to pursue their own individual sustainable projects. He also advises the elementary and middle school Green Teams from his district.  


Jillian Rizzitano is a dedicated environmentalist who wants to inspire everyone to work to make a difference in the world.  She is the second longest active Green Schools Student Ambassador and she has participated in a myriad of environmental events over the years and has helped with many eSTEAM (environmentally-conscious Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Mathematics) projects as well.  


July is Park and Recreation Month 


Since 1985, America has celebrated July as the nation's official Park and Recreation Month. Last fall, we asked you to help us select the 2014 theme and you answered, selecting the themeOUT is IN.  This year we are focusing on setting trends instead of following them, making 2014 the year people go outside, change their outlook, and get involved in their community through parks and recreation.   


Learn More


Green Schools for the 21st Century Training 

Green Schools for the 21st Century Training 

Friday August 8, 2014 (8:30 am - 4:00 pm)

36 Lincoln Street, Manchester By The Sea, MA 


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.

The aim of U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools is to inspire schools, districts and Institutions of Higher Education to strive for 21st century excellence, by highlighting exemplary practices and resources that are easy to implement. 

The purpose of this training is to share Best Green Schools Practices locally and across the nation, as well as to help your students and schools align with the 3 Green Ribbon Schools Pillars: 


  1. Reduce environmental impact and costs;
  2. Improve the health and wellness of schools, students, and staff; 
  3. Provide environmental education, which teaches many disciplines, and is especially good at effectively incorporating STEM, civic skills, and green career pathways






Harvest of the Month 2014-15


Harvest of the Month will start again in September, but we want you to sign up today so that we can mail your materials over the summer.  We're back with 12 months of locally-grown foods and more great promotional and educational materials for K-12 schools, preschools, colleges, and summer food service sites! 


Already 78 school districts have joined the Harvest of the Month movement!  These districts have signed on to celebrate local abundance, experiment with new foods and recipes, and get some positive recognition for their schools. We want to help you to continue to lead the way in making farm-fresh foods available to students and staff whenever possible. 


Sign up by August 1st to be sure you receive materials by September 1st.


Green Schools Participated in Gro Something Greater


Green Schools participated in Gro Something Greater with Steve Ritz, Green Bronx Machine Sponsored by Scotts Miracle Gro


Green Schools attended this event as presenter and was delighted to present Stephen Ritz with a 2014 Green Difference Award for being an Outstanding Environmental Educator of behalf of the Green Schools Organization and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


ScottsMiracle-Gro will be donating soil and groables to JVL Wildcat Academy and Hyde Leadership Charter School, providing $5k to assist in the  funding of their DC trip and provide iPads to the  children, teachers and schools that participated in the media campaign


Check out the Gro Something Greater video


The Farm to School Census is Out



F2S Census results are in. 


Last week the USDA released the final results of the Farm to School Census, a first-of-its-kind effort to measure the amount and type of farm to school activity taking place across the country.



23.5 million students across the country are participating in farm to school activities!



Washington, D.C., Finally Bans Plastic Take-Out Containers

June 25, 2014 By Liz Dwyer
Staff Writer 

With all the in-fighting in Congress, sometimes it can seem like there's never any good news coming out of Washington, D.C. Well, here's a little something that should cause quite a bit of cheer: The era of ubiquitous Styrofoam to-go cups and containers is about to come to a close in the nation's capital.

(Photo: Sam Diephuis/Getty Images)
Read Entire Article
Innovate to Mitigate - Teen Carbon Mitigation Challenge


INNOVATE TO MITIGATE is a cool opportunity for teens to take action on climate change through technology and innovation!




The challenge is for teens is to develop new technology, new applications of old technology, or new social innovations to reduce CO2 levels in the atmosphere, either through decreasing emissions, or through capture and sequestration. Every team gets $200 to fund their work, and the winning team gets a $1,000 prize. 

We're approaching the deadline for preliminary applications (July first), and we still have a few slots open for teams to participate in our pilot challenge this coming fall. 


We're also looking for graduate students willing to act as mentors for the teams, and for people who are experts in their fields and would be willing to take a little time to help consult on questions that a team and their mentor can't answer on their own.


Contact Abe Drayton at TERC for more information: abe_drayton@terc.edu 


Clean Gardening: Beginner's Guide to Home Composting 


Busy Bee - Clean Gardening: Beginner's Guide to Home Composting

Written by: Greg Wiszniewski

Nature has been composting since the beginning of time. Take a walk in any wooded area and look at the ground: Bend over and feel that dark, earthy material called compost. Compost is essentially the accumulation of decomposed organic matter. It can take roughly a thousand years for compost to naturally occur in the wild. Humans have sped this process up over time to use it in agriculture. Today, humans use composting methods to grow healthy backyard gardens.

All About Composting

Compost is a dark and earthy material used to promote a healthy and well-balanced soil environment for plants. It is rich in a variety of nutrients, minerals, and soil organisms. In many cases, gardeners use compost as a suitable replacement for commercial fertilizers. Compost improves the physical and biological properties of soil. It also makes nutrients much more available to plants than fertilizer does. For this reason, many gardeners refer to compost as "black gold."


Read Entire Article


The Radix Endeavor - MIT's New Online Game for STEM


MIT's Education Arcade and Scheller Teacher Education Program received a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop an immersive virtual learning experience to support high school math and biology instruction.  Working collaboratively with teachers, we have created The Radix Endeavor, a multi-player online games for STEM learning that incorporates:

  • A flexible web-based design that allows students to play anywhere, anytime; in school or at home.
  • Quest-based learning aligned with current biology standards in Genetics, Ecosystems, Evolution, and Human Body Systems as well as math standards in Algebra, Geometry, and Statistics.
  • Optional lesson plans and support materials that allow teachers to easily integrate the game into classroom instruction.

Researchers at MIT are in full swing with The Radix Endeavor pilot but would like to make sure that teachers across the country have an opportunity to use the game with their students between now and the end of the 2014-2015 Academic Year. There are many ways to participate which are outlined on the  Research Enrollment Form

June 26th Workshop at MIT - REGISTER TODAY


On June 26th from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM, The Radix team will host a day-long workshop on the MIT campus. This one-day professional development session is designed for high school math, biology and technology teachers interested in using The Radix Endeavora new online, multi-player game with their students. This fun, hands-on workshop will address:

  • How games can be used to set the context for or reinforce difficult concepts
  • The learning standards addressed in The Radix Endeavor
  • How scaffolding is addressed within specific quest lines
  • Reports and built-in teacher monitoring tools
  • Options for enrolling in the Radix Pilot 

Don't Know Where to Start?  


The Radix Team will is available for virtual office hours every Wednesday afternoon at 3:30 PM EDT to provide updates about the game or simply answer your questions about Radix.  


To participate in the virtual office hours simply meet us in our virtual meeting room


Compost Labyrinth



EcoWorks, in partnership with Mercy Center at Madison, will host a Compost Labyrinth on the New Haven Green. The labyrinth, a piece of interactive artwork, will be made from finished compost. It's intended to stay and not be removed after the event - returning to Earth, being absorbed after a few rains - providing a temporal piece that is artful, spiritual and environmental.


Learn more


Save the Date! 



Grant Opportunity
DoSomething.org 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