This is a guest post by New England Educator Rouwenna.
Hello ACE New England fans! I am so excited to be writing to all of you right now with some fantastic news: Region 1 (New England) of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just chose ACE as a recipient of an Environmental Merit Award for 2012!!
We are so honored to accept this award from such a venerable national institution.
In addition to working to protect our natural resources and keep our water and air safe, the EPA has long been a trusted source of environmental education resources for teachers and students alike. Check out their awesome resources at http://www.epa.gov/students.
I consider the EPA to be the pros when it comes to all things environmentally related, so I’m ecstatic that they have chosen to recognize our hard work in New England.
Man! It sure has been a whirlwind!
Since we started in New England in 2009, we’ve been to nearly 550 schools with our little 2-3-person team. We’ve worked with local partners like the Boston Public Schools, the Southeast Energy Education Alliance (SEEAL), Keep Connecticut Cool, and the Vermont Energy Education Program to educate and support with students in their districts.
As a result of these partnerships (and more!), what seems like a million phone calls, emails and meetings, and the hard work of the incredible teachers we work with, we’ve educated almost 170,000 students in all six states in New England.
But, even more exciting than that, we’ve seen incredible growth and achievements from the Action Teams we work with and have built amazing relationships with the teachers we have the honor to support.
Last fall, we held our first-ever energy saving contest: the Biggest Loser: Energy competition. 60 teams competed nationwide and 12 of those were in New England. All in all, ACE teams across the country cut 151,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy over just 20 days, saving their schools money and cutting CO2 emissions. New England’s own Sanford High School took the regional cake with savings of 5,694 kWh. (That’s the same amount of energy as 155 gallons of gas – which could get you from New York to Las Vegas and back in a Ford Focus – road trip!)
This semester, we’re doing it again and already have 41 teams signed up in New England alone (that’s 245 nationwide!). I can’t wait to see how much energy all these schools save!
We’re not stopping there. To help students take their energy saving to the next level, we just solidified a new partnership with Energy Star to both improve energy performance measurement tools and spread the word about the importance of energy-efficiency to high schools all across America. Stay tuned for more on that in the upcoming months.
Finally, it’s not just the students who are working hard to save their schools energy and money and fight climate change. Teachers across the nation are taking the lead in their classrooms, incorporating the Biggest Loser Energy Competition and our new classroom climate and energy science resources from CLEAN and NEED into their curriculum.
Whew! It’s been a busy three years. I’m so honored to be wrapping up my sixth semester at ACE with these successes logged, an EPA Environmental Merit Award on my wall, and new challenges and excitement coming in the next year.
Thank you EPA, and everyone out there who has supported us thus far. We can’t wait to keep working with you!