Tag Archives: kids

The Huffington Post on PGC and Green Youth

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Any article that talks about the importance of green youth movements is mighty fine by us… and we are honored to be included in this HuffPo piece, talking about Project Green Challenge and the power of young people to change the world!

Green Youth Movements Teach Kids Important Lessons

First Posted: 10/1/11

The leaves may be changing colors soon, but students across the country are going green. A youth-led organization is engaging high school and college students in a 30-day challenge to adjust their habits and go green.

The Project Green Challenge, which began October 1, offers participating students 30 daily tips “to raise awareness about conscious living, informed consumption, and the collective impact of individual actions, as well as empower students with actionable steps for their own lives,” according to the project’s website.

The Project Green Challenge is a campaign by the student-led organization Teens Turning Green. Founded in 2005, the group is “devoted to education and advocacy around environmentally and socially responsible choices for individuals, schools, and communities.”

The aim of the 30-day challenge is to both inspire students to alter their own habits and to reach out and touch others. The students who use internet and social media the most to share their experiences will have the opportunity to travel to San Francisco for a two day educational conference called “Green University.”

Teens Turning Green co-founder Erin Schrode, 20, describes the Project Green Challenge as “thirty simple steps to take your life from conventional to conscious.”

She told The Huffington Post that despite this being Project Green Challenge’s first year, her organization has received a strong response from youth in 44 states and across the world.

Schrode was clear about her organization’s mission. She said they want “to change the world, to prove that apathy is out, and to empower young people to be the change we wish to see in the world.”

She added, “I want to demonstrate to my peers that you can live consciously without sacrificing anything, be it quality, style, time, whatever.”

Audubon is also encouraging kids to take action for the environment. They recently launched the year-long Pennies for the Planet campaign encouraging youth to learn about conservation while raising money for environmental projects.

Schools are also taking steps to be more environmentally conscious. Schools in states such as Kentucky, New York and Virginia have all built facilities that implement alternative energy sources and increased efficiency measures. The state of Maryland is now including environmental literacy as a high school graduation requirement.

Be sure to find out how you can be a part of October’s International Walk to School Month.

For information about how you can get involved with the Project Green Challenge, visit the campaign’s website.

Go Indiana University!

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We have 460 schools with participants signed up for Project Green Challenge. How cool is that?! And Indiana University is leading the way…

University leads US in green challenge participation

By MATTHEW GLOWICKI

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

Students can log onto www.projectgreenchallenge.com to learn how to sign up and more about challenges, prizes and participants. Though the challenge begins Oct. 1, registration will remain open after that date.

More students are signed up for the inaugural Project Green Challenge at IU than from any other university in the country.

Approximately 100 IU students have already pledged to take the 30-day challenge, with hopes to engage and educate high school and collegiate students on leading a green lifestyle through small changes.

Judi Shils, founder and director of Teens Turning Green, a California-based nonprofit organization, conceived the challenge idea in the spring. In designing the competition, Shils recruited environmentally conscious campus leaders from across the country.

Ellen Spurgeon, chief and director of sustainability for the IU Student Association, helped bring the challenge to IU. She serves as a campus liaison and is one of 12 Project Green Challenge interns.

“I was skeptical at first if IU had the demographic for it,” Spurgeon said of the perceived lack of support for sustainable efforts at IU. “It’s different in San Francisco. Here, it’s a select group. I just didn’t know how worthwhile it would be.”

After assessing potential benefits and receiving a few convincing calls, Spurgeon threw herself into the planning of the challenge. She developed an outreach plan targeted at various campus organizations, such as Union Board and the Student Sustainability Council.

Those who take the challenge, which occurs Oct. 1-30, will receive a daily email containing a challenge to complete that day. These challenges were written by students, eco-minded companies and nonprofits and will range in topic from food to fashion to fitness.

Emails will also include video messages from celebrity spokespeople and green authorities and supporters, as well as resources to help participants complete each task.

Challenges will prompt participants to use social media to share photos, videos and experiences with others across the country and internationally. They will ask students to make a small change in their daily lives that could have a larger impact.

“Our goals are trying to demonstrate what can change very easily and help students see change happen and become green advocates on their own campus,” Shils said. “My ulterior motive is to show kids how really powerful they are. If they can work together — cross schools, cross states — we will have critical mass, and the change will happen.”

Each challenge has three levels of difficulty: green, greener and greenest. More involved and creative responses will increase students’ chances of winning a variety of daily prizes.

Many sponsors, such as Whole Foods and The Container Store, are helping Teens Turning Green offer the daily challenge prizes.

The competition offers larger prizes, such as gift cards, food and supplies for the top-10 student contributors and a grand prize that includes a $5,000 college scholarship, makeover and eco dorm room transformation.

The most successful school will also receive a yet-undetermined reward, Spurgeon said.

Noting the importance and achievability of the challenge, Shils encourages all students to consider the initiative.

“Take a dive. You have nothing to lose,” she said. “It’s a great way to create habits and actions that will stay with you for the rest of your life. And there are cool prizes.”

With just one day left until the start of the competition after months of dedication and hard work, both Spurgeon and Shils have high expectations for the challenge.

“I want students to walk away with a feeling of accomplishment,” Spurgeon said. “It is easy to implement these steps and realize it is easy to take part in the green movement and that there is a big community for this, even if at IU it doesn’t feel like that.”

Shils complimented IU’s participation in the challenge thus far.

“Ellen was one of the most spirited responses we’ve had,” she said. “I’ve been really inspired and amazed by her energy. To see kids this powerful, this committed, this passionate — that’s the goal. That power of one is living proof on your campus. I applaud all of you.”

Green Your School

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Healthy Child Healthy World has some great tips on healthy schools, including taking part in PGC and the GGUSA contest (for which our very own Erin Schrode is a judge). Sign up for both today!

 

How Can I Get My Child’s School To Be Greener & Safer?

by Janelle Sorensen, Chief Communications Officer, Healthy Child Healthy World

When my husband and I toured schools to find the one we wanted to enroll our daughter in, I’m sure I was silently voted one of the strangest parents ever. Why do I feel I was secretly endowed with this title? Because every room and hallway we were taken through, I sniffed. A lot. And, according to my husband, I wasn’t terribly discreet.

 

I didn’t have a cold or postnasal drip. And, I’m not part bloodhound. I was simply concerned about the indoor air quality. My daughter was prone to respiratory illnesses and I wanted to be sure the school she would be attending would support and protect her growing lungs in addition to her brain. For many air quality issues, your nose knows, so I was using the easiest tool I had to gauge how healthy the environment was.

Back then, I was part of a very fringe minority of parents concerned about toxics in our everyday environments. Today, the movement is much larger and there are many more opportunities for creating cleaner, greener, safer school environments. Here are just a few:

 

Global Green USA Green School Makeover Contest. Global Green USA is working to ensure that every child has the opportunity to learn in a healthier, greener school. Their Green School Makeover Competition, as presented by Pureology, gives you the chance to help a school in your area by nominating it for a Green School Makeover. Go to Green School Contestto enter your school (by September 30th) and learn more. In December 2011, Global Green will announce one grand prize winner to receive $65,000 to renovate their school, plus approximately $65,000 of in-kind technical assistance, and four schools will each receive $2,500 towards their green school renovations.

 

Whole Kids Foundation School Garden Grant Program. The newly established Whole Kids Foundation has launched the School Garden Grant Program initiative to educate students on healthy eating habits, sustainability conservation and community awareness. The organization has teamed with Whole Foods Market and FoodCorps to provide grants of $2,000 to grant school garden wishes throughout the U.S., UK and Canada. To date, they have raised more than $708,000 for the School Garden Grant Program! Do you know a school in need? Applications will be accepted through December 31, 2011. Visit Whole Kids Foundation for more details.

 

Episencial 2011 Green Your School Grant Preschool Program.Episencial has partnered with Ecomom, CleanWell, Revolution Foods and Eco-Kids to offer more than $30,000 in green goods and funds through the 2011 Green Your School Grant Preschool Program. For more information, visit Episencial.

 

Woolly School Gardens. Woolly Pockets is helping plant modular gardens at schools across the nation through their Woolly School Gardens program. Schools just need to have one teacher or manager to oversee the program, a sunny wall or fence and $1,000 to get their own outdoor garden. The garden comes complete with 50 Woolly Pockets, do-it-yourself hardware and instructions, premium soil, organic seeds, compost tea, a planting chart and gardening manual and Nutrition and Garden Curriculum Lessons. For schools that don’t have the budget, Woolly provides easy fundraising suggestions and an online fundraising platform that schools may use to raise funds for their garden. Their goal is to help thousands of more schools land their own gardens over the next year. Learn more atWoolly School Gardens.

 

Teens Turning Green Project Green Challenge – The Project Green Challenge seeks to engage high school and college students across the country and inspire them to transition “from conventional to conscious,” via a 30-day green lifestyle Challenge.

 

National Walk to School Day – This year Healthy Child is supporting EveryBody Walk http://everybodywalk.org/ and National Walk to School Day because walking (or biking) is not only great for promoting health, but it’s also a way to reduce air pollution created by vehicle exhaust. Walk more. Pollute less. Breathe easier!

 

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution – Get the facts, find support, and start a campaign to improve your school’s food using the tools and resources the Jamie Oliver Foundation has developed.

 

Healthy Schools Network – This national non-profit is working to create healthier school environments for all children. They coordinate a coalition of over 400 partners, provide a wealth of information and referral services, and coordinate the National Healthy Schools Day every April. Host your own event to raise awareness of the issue and launch a local effort to improve school environments.

 

The Green Flag Program – The Center for Health, Environment and Justice coordinates this student-led program to make schools healthier places to work and learn. This flexible three-step program will help you advance your schools environmental behaviors and become a shining example to others. Achieve recognition for all the good work your school already does, and improve your program with the support of teachers and field experts across the country.