Bright Green Future Grants will benefit students with hands-on learning.
Young people all over Austin are taking charge of their community’s Bright Green Future. Applying a great deal of passion and creative thinking about ways to conserve water, reduce waste, grow healthy food, and travel by bike, K-12 students have identified projects that will benefit their schools, as well as the neighborhoods surrounding their schools.
The City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability has announced grant funding for 30 new and exciting projects at local elementary, middle, and high schools. The Bright Green Futures Grants program is sponsored by the Office of Sustainability, Austin Resource Recovery, and the Watershed Protection, Public Works, and Transportation Departments.
The following projects are this year’s recipients of Bright Green Futures Grants:
Sunset Valley Elementary School will use grant funding to create a Solar Powered Rain Harvesting System, Butterfly Garden, and Hacienda Community Garden. These projects will offer students and community residents the chance to learn about wildlife habitat creation and water conservation, as well as provide access to fresh produce and herbs. In addition, a Zero Waste Green Team at the school will implement and track annual waste reduction efforts to support creation of AISD guidelines for other schools.
Metz Elementary School plans to create space for two outdoor learning areas under shade and surrounded by vegetable and native plant beds as part of their Green Classroom Project.
A new Rain Garden at Mathews Elementary School will provide water for garden beds on campus.
Likewise, a new Rain Garden at Bryker Woods Elementary School will capture rainwater from the school’s gutters to water trees on campus.
Foundation Communities' Green and Healthy Kids Program will provide instruction about water and energy conservation, as well as reducing waste. Students will learn how going green protects the environment and benefits their health.
Cycle Academies at Metz, Perez, Reilly, Widen, and Zavala Elementary Schools and Dobie, Kealing, and Mendez Middle Schools will encourage students to ride their bikes safely through educational bike rodeos.
Bike Repair Shops at Gullet, Joslin,Langford, and Maplewood Elementary Schools and Burnet Middle School will provide materials and training for students to learn how to perform basic and preventative bicycle maintenance.
Students at the Gus Garcia Young Men’s Leadership Academy will construct a new Rain Garden. In addition, these young leaders will develop outreach materials to educate the surrounding community about the project and its benefits.
Students who are part of the Zero Waste Lunch Bunch at Small Middle School will use their grant to make recycling, composting, and waste receptacles for the Cafeteria.
A new Wash and Grow Vegetable Station at Kealing Middle School will promote conservation by using the water captured in an existing rain garden for students to wash their hands after working in the garden or to clean produce.
Covington Middle School’s Texas Native Plants and Wildlife Habitat will convert an empty area subject to erosion into a colorful grass meadow full of native ornamental grasses and wildlife.
The Aquaponics Garden and Outdoor Classroom at Crockett High School will demonstrate a sustainable way to grow food using little water and that is entirely organic, with no chemical fertilizers or pesticides.
After a high percentage of recyclable materials were discovered in the waste stream at International High School, the Keep International Beautiful Campaign will raise awareness about the importance of recycling, as well as provide information about all the materials that can be recycled.
Bowie High School’s BEEducated Project will offer an urban school sanctuary for hives removed from unwanted locations.
At Eastside Memorial High School, students will be responsible for building educational displays about recycling, collecting and monitoring recycling from classrooms weekly, and creating a recycling how-to video.
At the Clifton Career Development School, students will install a 2,500 gallon storage system to harvest rainwater from the roof of an existing metal barn on campus.
About Bright Green Future Grants
Sponsored by the City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability, Austin Resource Recovery and the Watershed Protection, Public Works, and Transportation Departments, Bright Green Future Grants is a competitive program that provides funding for school-based sustainability projects. Launched in 2012, the grants program was designed to recognize and support innovative projects that will inspire students to become lifelong environmental stewards. This year, the Bright Green Future Grants program received 84 applications for funding consideration; 30 projects were selected for grants up to $3,000 by a panel of judges composed of representatives from funding departments, and community members who serve on the City’s Environmental Board, Electric Utility Board, Sustainable Food Policy Board, Water and Wastewater Commission, and Zero Waste Advisory Commission. For more information, visit www.austintexas.gov/brightgreenfuture.
About the Office of Sustainability
The City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability was established in September 2010, when Lucia Athens, a leader in sustainability and green building, was hired as the Chief Sustainability Officer. The Office works to ensure a thriving, equitable, and ecologically resilient community by providing leadership, influencing positive action through engagement, and creating measurable benefit for Austin. The Office works to achieve net-zero community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, a healthy and just local food system, resource efficient strategies for municipal operations, tangible projects that demonstrate sustainability, and a resilient and adaptive city.
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