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all speak up a little bit more about your first project and tell everyone what your findings were?” she asks. Amongst the students sit the head custodian Brian McGann; a special education teacher, Kelly Abt; a volunteer student from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Jennifer Spoor; and Todd Rogers, the northeast coordinator from the

ber 2009, which took effect this spring. The grant’s emphasis on helping lowincome students enabled Syracuse to get the support, which will assist the district’s focus on going green. In the grant’s first year, seven schools will participate in the program: Clary, Ed Smith, Lincoln, Blodgett, Nottingham, Expeditionary Learning School, and

tion between their own personal energy use and its global impact. To test students’ knowledge of global energy emissions, they are asked at the beginning of the project to estimate how much the levels of carbon dioxide have increased since the industrial revolution. The answer: 40 percent. Understanding the history of energy usage will allow students to apply it to current-day usage, and help them understand how much energy usage has increased. Once they grasp the impact of turning off the lights or lowering the heat, they will ideally start to implement these actions in their everyday lives, including their time at home. “It provides teachers with training and classroom resources,

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A powerful presentation // Students and staff at Lincoln Middle School join for a middle-of-the-day meeting to discuss the upcoming year of green initiatives. After students completed their investigative work of the school’s carbon footprint, they formed plans to decrease Lincoln’s energy use. National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project team. Each student offers his or her observation, noting computer monitors left on when not in use and soda machines running despite rules against buying soda during school hours. Their input is part of a nationwide program targeted toward making students, faculty, and staff aware of ways to reduce energy use. Lincoln is one of seven Syracuse schools participating in the NEED project. Founded in 1980, NEED funds selected schools for two years. In addition to city schools, the NEED committee funds educational programs in museums, environmental education centers, and other education institutions. Money from NEED covers the cost of supplies and materials — teacher and student guides, thermometers, light meters, and radiation cans — to help students and teachers properly assess the carbon footprint of their respective schools. The goal is to show that a carbon footprint isn’t simply a numerical figure, but the sum of thousands of everyday decisions made by each person who uses the building, and that these decisions can decrease their footprint. Bill Ottman, science and technology coordinator for the Syracuse City School District, applied for the grant in Novem-



Danforth, comprising a total of 1,440 participating students. In the second year, the program will expand to include six additional city schools. And while the NEED funding only covers a span of two years, city officials plan to continue the project even after the grant expires, eventually involving all 36 schools in the district. Experimentation and documentation of the schools’ energy usage through the NEED project will allow the district to implement energy saving techniques. Lincoln Middle School launched its program March 1, around the same time as the six other participating schools. During the first week, Lincoln students measured the energy usage in each room of the school. They then made suggestions on how to decrease their energy usage. Their first experiment involved light bulbs throughout the school, in which students used instruments provided by NEED to test if the bulbs actually emitted the amount of watts they claimed to emit. As students turned on the bulbs, they discovered that each one did have the correct wattage. To assess each school’s carbon footprint, students look at their everyday decisions regarding lighting, heating, cooling, food preparation, transportation, and ventilation. NEED officials hope the program will help students understand the connec-

and it provides students with an opportunity to affect change in their buildings while studying energy and environmental issues in a hands-on, meaningful way,” says Daniel Lowengard, superintendent of the Syracuse City School District. The NEED project furthers the district’s sustainability efforts. Its recycling and composting program received state recognition in 2007, when the Syracuse City School District received the Big City of the Year award from the Go Green Initiatives and the Environmental Excellence award from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. In 2010, the district won the Green of the Crop award for outstanding green efforts in Central New York. Between 2007 and 2010, the schools energy cost-persquare-foot has dropped 30 cents. While the NEED project does not require any reconstruction of the school buildings, this green initiative comes at a time when the district plans to reconstruct all of its school buildings within the next 10 years. The Environmental Protection Agency says that buildings in the U.S. usually use 30 percent more energy than they need. This project gives Syracuse the opportunity to identify wasteful usage and construct more efficient buildings. The six students sitting at the confer-

Volume 1: May 2011  

Page through a sneak preview of our debut issue, dropping next Wednesday at our new tumblr--get your adrenaline pumping with 4 summer advent...

Volume 1: May 2011  

Page through a sneak preview of our debut issue, dropping next Wednesday at our new tumblr--get your adrenaline pumping with 4 summer advent...