Six CHAI Environmental Science Honors Students Are "Going Green" Winners
Six students from Karl Frank’s CHAI Environmental Science Honors course placed first in the "Going Green: Baden-Württemberg Meets California” competition, a collaborative classroom project in which German and Californian schools are paired to learn about sustainability and to create a Green Action Plan for their school community.
Mr. Frank’s classes had several different options for inquiry based projects in December and roughly 18 students chose to participate in the ‘Going Green’ option. Two of those groups were able to submit a proposal for one of four sustainability categories and come up with a viable solution to issues concerning: plastic & recycling, green cities & mobility, food, and fashion.
The first winning team included Katherine L. ‘21, Amanda S. ‘21, and Brianna A. ‘21. Their project, “Locally Sourcing Food and Communal Garden: Reduction Plan for Carbon Emissions and to Teach Sustainability,” encapsulated a growing environmental movement to eat foods grown and produced locally, thereby, among other benefits, reducing transportation pollution which contributes to climate change. From the project: “Students often worry about where the fruits and vegetables from the store come from, but with locally sourced products, the school has more knowledge of the food, being able to ask the farmers questions about how the food was grown. Locally sourced food has a shorter food supply chain, meaning there are fewer opportunities for contamination, and the food is fresher (Rita). Therefore students will receive better quality food and also know where their food is coming from.”
The second team was made up of Mia F. ‘21, Ava R. ‘21 and Tish L. ‘21, whose project “Reuse Plastic Bottles” centered on a creative way to reduce plastic use on campus. The team coalesced around a concern about plastic and had a conversation about the best way to reduce plastic use at Campbell Hall. From there, they created a presentation designed to get people thinking about their own relationship with plastic and inform students about alternative choices such as reusable water bottles and consciously avoiding purchasing items made with plastic packaging.
Mr. Frank was contacted by the Going Green initiative because the group had heard about the strides Campbell Hall has made in the area of sustainability. Mr. Frank was thrilled to be able to incorporate this program into his curriculum. “The project was inquiry-based,” Mr. Frank explained, “and fit within the scope of some of the other options I offered to students for project work.”
Both teams won first place for the most potential for long-term impact and our partner school in Germany won an honorable mention for the most personal commitment. Their project is a challenge to both schools for students to participate in a 100-mile diet for a week in February. This effort is designed to promote awareness of energy used in food transportation. Mia F. ‘21 noted: “The Going Green project was a meaningful and fun experience overall. My team and I had a great time finding research on a topic that matters a lot to each of us (reusing plastic bottles). We went into it hoping for nothing but the best, but did not expect the reaction we got. I am so blessed to know that others care about this same issue.”
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