Grants will benefit students with hands-on learning about sustainability
Young people all over Austin will be implementing sustainability projects this year to make local schools a little greener. The work will involve water conservation, waste reduction, growing healthy food, and learning about bike safety.
“Kids are passionate about Austin’s bright green future,” said Lucia Athens, the City of Austin’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “These projects allow students to learn about environmental responsibility in a real-world application that has long-term benefits for the entire community.”
The City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability has announced grant funding for 29 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:
Cycle Academies at Blackshear, Cunningham, Hart, Houston, Langford, Pecan Springs, Perez, Reilly, and St. Elmo will teach students how to safely ride their bikes.
The Rainwater Redistribution project at Sims will capture rainwater from buildings and use it to water gardens and trees.
Educating students about the importance of water conservation will be the main goal of the Rain Garden at Brooks.
Recycling and composting will be the focus of the Green and Healthy Classroom at Foundation Communities.
Dobie Pre-K’s Outdoor Learning Center will teach students about how to grow native plants and vegetables.
At the Athena Montessori School, the Carbon Footprint Project will teach students bike safety and the importance of Air Quality.
The Whole Life Learning Center hopes to promote a healthy habitat for plants and animal species with the Pond Restoration project.
PEAS Community (Partners for Education Agriculture and Sustainability) will be installing a Community Garden at Lucy Read Pre-K.
Boone students will be able to conduct classes outside at the new Peace Pond Outdoor Learning Space.
Installation of the WaterWise Garden at Oak Hill will provide a drought tolerant school garden to address limited freshwater resources.
Maplewood’s Compostable Campus, will provide recycling bins for classrooms, as well as compostable bags for the Lunch Bunch that eats outside.
A 1.5-acre wooded lot will be transformed for students to explore “the world in their backyard” at the Laurel Mountain Natural Play Rain Garden.
Located in an area classified a food desert by the USDA, KIPP Academy’s Aquaponics Greenhouse will provide an area to grow fresh vegetables using little water.
The Rainscape at Metz, will collect rainwater runoff from the school roof that has been eroding the school yard.
The Community Garden at Mendez will provide a food forest for the community, and the Compost Happens project will educate students about ways to reduce waste and provide compost for the garden.
The Integrity Academy’s Bike Program will encourage students to donate bikes that are no longer used to be repaired and donated to those in need.
Partnering with the American Honey Bee Protection Agency, Wholesome Generation’s Honey Bee Apiary will provide pollinators for the campus garden and teach students about the importance of bees.
Covington’s Build a Greenhouse project will provide an area for seedlings to grow, as well as safe storage for garden tools and supplies.
The Bailey Tree Farm will plant native trees with the highest quality root system, to establish quickly with minimal water usage.
Griffin School’s Waste Diversion Plan is the first step toward the school’s goal of zero waste; students will initiate an educational social media campaign to provide information and resources for the community.
Educating students and their parents about appropriate waste stream management is the central point of the NYOS Fall Fest Recycling project.
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. To date, 155 projects at local K-12 schools have been funded with Bright Green Future Grants; recipients were selected 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 benefits 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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