When we talk about going green, the best example is the Air Base K-8 Center for International Education, located in Homestead, Florida. The educational center already has more than 10 years’ experience since introducing environmental education into the school curriculum.
It began with a project to recycle paper, but, to this day, its different projects have not only benefited the environment but also have earned a countless number of recognitions for the school. The last award received was the Green Ribbon, which is awarded by the Florida Department of Education and recognized at the national level. The award recognizes the school as an exemplary school in reducing environmental impact and costs, improving the health and well-being of students and staff. It also provides effective environmental and sustainability education that incorporates science, math, and technology.
Air Base K-8 leads the way in everything related to energy efficiency, water conservation and waste reduction, allowing it to be one of seven schools selected for the Global Project on Climate Change, a White House initiative, and sponsored by the Museum of Science, the University of Miami and Dream in Green. Its function consists of familiarizing secondary students with the subject of reducing the levels of carbon dioxide (CO2). Through a nearly simultaneous simulation program, the children could exchange and discuss the issues that are currently under discussion at the Climate Change Summit in Paris, France.
Likewise, its ecological leadership was recognized once again when it was the only school chosen by the school district to participate in the Recycling Energy Forum held by Florida International University.
But what are the actions that the school with 1,056 students of whom almost 60 percent are eligible for free or reduced lunch has adopted within its facilities, and what are the results obtained?
First, in three years it has reduced greenhouse gases by 45 percent. The physical plant that was built in 1958, had air extractors, whose blinds over time could not be closed properly, causing poor air conditioning, high humidity and lots of noise among other things. A group of students, who are part of the Green
Team, sealed the air extractors with an environmentally friendly seal resulting in more efficient units in terms of energy consumption and less noise pollution.
In a period of two years, it has managed to reduce water use by 55 percent by promoting in the classroom the responsibility of taking care of the liquid resource. At the same time, a group of students and teachers oversee inspecting and identifying water leaks in classroom faucets, bathrooms, cafeteria, etc., and use that information to generate maintenance work orders immediately.
Another effort has been to stop the purchase of plastic bags for milk and juice in the cafeteria and replace the polystyrene foam trays with a compostable food dish that breaks down into eco-friendly biodegradable elements. These initiatives eliminated the use of more than 200,000 plastic bags and more than 31,000 foam trays.
Other projects include gardens with Florida’s endangered orchids and organic gardens that have become an outdoor laboratory where children can plant, care, harvest and produce according to the product they obtain. For example, they have planted lavender plants and thus have been able to make soaps.
“Our goal is for students to see the connection of what they are doing with the real world. With the practical skills we have taught them, they can solve problems,” said Carmen Monge, Lead Teacher of the Magnet Program.
One thing this school has very clearly is to “educate, inspire and train the future administrators of our planet.”
Haz clic para leer en Español: Air Base K-8 Center for International Education Promoviendo liderazgo ambiental en los niños