What we are reading in May

Our Daily Planet’s Bright Ideas, 05/09/20 – Honoring Our Mother

Grist, 04/22/20 – Three kids learned about Greta Thunberg for Earth Day, and their reactions are 100% wholesome

The Green Teacher, 04/22/20 – Healthy Schools, Bright Futures

National Geographic, 04/27/20 – Forget homeschooling during the pandemic. Teach life skills instead

Our Daily Planet’s Bright Ideas, 04/25/20 – Turning to Nature to Help and Heal

Green Schools National Network, 03/19/20 – Student-Driven Solar: How West Bloomfield High School Students Powered Their Science Department with Solar Electricity

U.S. Green Building Council, 04/29/20 – Infographic: The elements of a LEED school

Climate Change Bracelet Pledge

We have a creative idea that can help to make talking about climate change easier to discuss. Simply make yourself a homemade braided bracelet to wear on your wrist and then take a pledge to have a conversation about climate change every time someone comments on your bracelet. 

There are a variety of easy bracelets that you can make at home. Our favorite uses fabric from old t-shirts or other material. Just cut three 1″ bands and make a simple braid. Then you can sign the pledge like others have done, send us a picture,  and start the conversation!

Braided Old T-shirt Bracelet

Download the pledge 

Are we still talking about sustainability in Newton schools? Of course we are!

Join us as we work together to promote sustainable practices in Newton schools. Green Newton’s Schools Connections will meet on Thursday, May 28, from 3:45-5pm by Zoom. We will share the link a few hours before theAll are welcome to participate as we share experiences and ideas. 

If your school does not yet have a Green Team, we can help to establish one. Representatives of the group participate in discussions to improve food quality and sustainability in school cafeterias. We are also advocating for more in-depth climate science to be taught in our schools, as well as setting up textile recycling collection containers outside of each school building. 

For more information contact: [email protected] or visit www.schools.greennewton.org

The Green Team: Resources to teach about gardening and pollination

Original post from The Green Team – 

May 15 is Massachusetts Plant Something Day! By planting just one flowering plant, students can help provide pollen and nectar for pollinators. These beneficial birds and insects pollinate gardens, which allows fruit – like juicy tomatoes, apples, and squash – to grow later in the season.

THE GREEN TEAM has gathered the following resources to teach students about gardening and pollination:

Congrats to All Who Submitted Essays About “Students Taking Climate Action”

In February, Green Newton invited Newton high school students to write essays on the theme “Students Taking Climate Action” and they were asked to submit them to Green Newton by the end of Earth Week. We saw this as an opportunity for students to voice their concerns and inspire others to make a difference by suggesting solutions that can benefit our environment.

Three essays were chosen to be published:

In a raffle drawing, two students were chosen to each receive a $50 gift certificate from Green Newton to use at a local shop or restaurant of their choice: Aidan Lieberman and Esther Zhang. 

Thank you to each of the students who participated in this Green Newton activity to honor our organization’s 30th Anniversary!

Grants for Educators

Do you have a great idea for professional development that just requires some financial help? Or, now that budgets are closing, did you remember that one amazing science tool that you didn’t purchase yet? There’s still time!!!

The Massachusetts Association of Science Teachers (MAST) is currently accepting applications for the Elaine Adams Professional Development Grant and five Grants for Empowering Teachers (GET). Applications are open until June 15. All science educators are eligible to apply. Check out their grants page or email [email protected] for more information.

Podcast: “Recycling in Schools: Join the Green Team!”

An in-depth interview with MassDEP‘s Ann McGovern about The Green Team and environmental education in K-12 schools: resources, curricula, and success stories. 

In this MassRecycle Podcast, hosted by Gretchen Carey and Waneta Trabert (Newton Sustainability Director), Ann McGovern, from MassDEP, talks about how The Green Team can help – and inspire – teachers, students and parents, to bring sustainability to the classroom. 

  • How materials from The Green Team are aligned with the MassDESE curriculum framework, in MathsEnglish Language Arts,  and Science and Technology;
  • Project based learning: hands-on activities made easy to be used in classrooms of all grades;
  • Composting, recycling, waste audits, idling and much more 
  • Parents involvement 

Newton South Global Community’s program receives a Green Difference Award

We are excited to celebrate with the Newton South High School group of around 250 students and teachers in the Global Communities Program who have recently been honored with a “2020 Green Difference Award” from Project Green Schools.

Green Newton board member, Andrew Thompson (on the right), and around a dozen of his colleagues serve as teachers in the Global Communities Program that was recognized mainly because of their outstanding environmental work on students’ senior year projects. Over the past ten years, students have engaged dozens of local and global issues, including starting Newton South’s farm, combating fast fashion, improving recycling and composting at South, encouraging Newton residents to sign up for 100% renewable electricity, holding an e-waste drive and much more. In addition, the Global Communities Program highlights having students work with other students abroad, such as their ongoing collaboration with Norra Real School in Stockholm, which culminated in a student trip in 2019 to Sweden and Iceland to study climate change and sustainability in Arctic countries.  

A list of senior projects can be found on this link:

Energy: Phase 3 Solar Panel Project – April 2020 Update

Summary of the estimated dates for the Phase 3 solar projects provided by Bill Ferguson, City of Newton Co-Director of Sustainability.

“Three Ameresco roof projects have been completed: Zervas, Ed Center and Fire Station #3 and Fire HQ. The Ed Center is not yet online but will be as soon as a building shut down can be scheduled. We have been holding off on this shut down for fear of disrupting computer systems in the building that are serving a variety of important services during the COVID-19 school shut down period. The two Ameresco solar canopy projects at North High School are on schedule for the summer.

The Macquarie canopy projects are being planned for the summer and the roofs may be done in the fall. Macquarie is working on a revised schedule which I will share with the School Department as soon as it is available. The Macquarie projects are still pending approvals from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources. We are hoping that these approvals are not delayed due to COVID 19. At this time we do not expect COVID 19 to delay the construction phase of the projects once all State and utility approvals have been obtained. Ameresco has obtained all of their approvals.

Source:  Facilities Updated to the School Committee on April 27, 2020   

Newton Open Space and Recreation Plan – Comment on Draft

The City of Newton invites all residents to comment on the Draft 2020-2027 Open Space and Recreation Plan. Please send comments to:  [email protected] . Public comment will be accepted until May 18th, 2020

Full report here: http://www.newtonma.gov/civica/filebank/blobdload.asp…

If you have only a short time to review the document, our partners at Newton Safe Routes to School recommend reading Chapter 9, which presents goals and their related actions, is a good place to focus. The main item of note for Safe Routes to School is Goal 5, “Connectivity” (page 7).

  • Section 7, page 8, outlines need.
  • Section 8, page 2, defines goal.
  • Section 9, outlines implementation.

From Section 8:
Goal 5: CONNECTIVITY: Linked open space resources with accessible paths, bike lanes, and trails.

Connectivity was a theme that emerged as residents noted their desires for better bike and pedestrian access to Newton’s open space resources. It was oft noted that better bicycle and pedestrian access would serve all of Newton: underserved areas, disabled residents, older residents, families, able-bodied residents, school age children, and local businesses. Many of Newton’s open spaces are primarily accessed by cars. Improved, safe, “quiet” sidewalks, trails and paths that connect these resources and promote passive recreation would be a boon for Newton. Implementing wayfinding and navigation measures within these improved/expanded connections will be highly beneficial to the City. Newton will strive to continue to improve bike and pedestrian safety, bike and pedestrian linkages between open spaces and schools, and connectivity for populations with limited access to open space.

Connected natural areas also contribute to the area’s overall ecological health by providing corridors for safe wildlife passage. Wildlife corridors ensure greater biodiversity, enabling the survival of species that are threatened by human development.”

The OSRP is an important municipal planning document. It provides an inventory of all existing areas of recreational use and open space (City owned and privately owned) and a list of goals and priorities for municipal actions regarding land acquisitions, recreational facility and open space improvements, and accessibility improvements