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Students Take The Lead To Reduce School’s Environmental Footprint

Earth Task ForceAfter completing the Community Adventure Program, the Cottonwood Institute’s core program, six extraordinary New Vista High School students realized that they wanted to continue making a difference in the world even though their class had ended.

With their enthusiasm and persistence to change the world, they went above and beyond the call of duty to form a school club called the Earth Task Force. The primary goal of this student-directed club is to inspire students and their school to reduce their environmental footprint through engaging activities and events throughout the year.

The group came together this past August to come up with a game plan reduce their school’s environmental footprint. They teamed up with Ghita Carroll, Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) Sustainability Coordinator, and decided to organize a professional Energy Audit paid by BVSD. After analyzing the results, students decided to focus on 3 primary areas:

•    Infrastructure: including energy and water.
•    Waste: including recycling and composting.
•    Transportation: to promote the use of alternative transportation to and from school since New Vista does not use school buses.

According to one Earth Task Force member, “as students in the modern world, we have taken it upon ourselves to act towards our vision of a just and sustainable world. We have dedicated many hours to plan events to raise awareness about environmental issues, and to make our vision a reality.”

Solar PanelTheir hard work has paid off and the Earth Task Force is producing tangible results:

•    They launched a website to promote their activities, events, and initiatives: http://www.earthtaskforce.com/
•    They applied for a grant from The Earth Day Network and have since been approved to install a small solar system at New Vista High School.
•    Boulder Valley School District has agreed to sponsor the Earth Task Force at New Vista High School to be the first pilot “Green Team” and hopes to sponsor similar sustainability initiatives at other district schools.

To launch their efforts in 2010, they are planning 5 consecutive days of activities from January 25-29th, 2010 to help the school reduce their environmental footprint:

•    On Monday, January 25th, 2010 they will host show clips from three movies, including: 11th Hour, Climate Change In Colorado, and Human Footprint to help raise awareness of the environmental issues they plan to address this year.
•    On Tuesday, January 26th, 2010 they will host an “Energy Day” where they will announce energy saving tips and encourage students and teachers to take their “Green Pledge.” They will also host a “Lights Out Lunch” where they will encourage the whole school to turn off lights during lunch.
•    On Thursday, January 28th, 2010 they will launch a “bring your own mug coffee day” initiative to help reduce the number of paper and plastic cups that are thrown away every day.
•    On Friday, January 29th, 2010 the are very proud to host an “Eat Local Day” supported by The Kitchen to share the environmental benefits of eating local.

This week of events in January will help launch another series of events for the following three months. In February the Earth Task Force will tackle water and energy consumption, in March they will address waste issues and recycling efforts, and in April they will promote alternative transportation. The students will document how their efforts have helped lower the school’s environmental footprint by comparing the school’s environmental metrics with the corresponding month for the previous year. If they reach the goals they set for themselves the Boulder Valley School District will reward the group monetarily to help fund further sustainability efforts at their school.


Categories: Earth Task Force

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2 Responses to “Students Take The Lead To Reduce School’s Environmental Footprint”

  1. Eric E.

    Dang! These guys are making the rest of us alumni look lazy! What awesome work… I’m especially impressed about the grant to install solar at New Vista. Keep it up, and keep us posted.



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