Monday, November 28, 2022

Bright Green Future Grants Awarded to 34 Austin-area Schools

 

The City of Austin will fund 43 student-led sustainability projects in the 2022-23 school year

The City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability announced today that 34 Austin-area K-12 schools will receive funding to implement 43 sustainability projects that are expected to benefit approximately 14,000 students. Over half of the schools receiving a grant qualify for Title 1 funding, which includes a larger percentage of students from low-income families. These projects will offer hands-on learning opportunities, make school campuses greener, and provide tangible benefits to surrounding neighborhoods.

“The Bright Green Future Grants program helps guide our campus’s focus on environmental awareness and engagement,” said Brittany Platt, a parent at Patton Elementary School. “The funding we receive has allowed us to be creative and intentional with projects and incorporate ways for our community to be more environmentally engaged.”

Patton Elementary will use its Bright Green Future Grant to create a community-powered gardening program. The school hopes to provide educational opportunities for students and bolster the campus as a public environmental anchor in the community.

The Office of Sustainability received 55 applications from 41 schools. Projects were selected from every Austin City Council District, representing schools in Austin ISD, Round Rock ISD, and several private schools. Each project will receive up to $3,000 to implement their project. The following projects were awarded funding through a competitive process:

  • Children who spend time outdoors are happier, healthier, and perform better academically. Students will connect with nature and breathe fresh air in outdoor classrooms at Govalle, Cunningham, Boone, Rodriquez, Linder, Langford, Overton, and Houston Elementary Schools. 

  • Bicycle clubs improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve health by getting students out of cars and on bikes. This year’s clubs will teach students about bike safety and maintenance at Allison, Harris, Hart, Houston, Langford, Oak Springs, Ortega, Overton, Palm, Perez, Reilly, Ridgetop, Rodriquez, Sanchez, and St. Elmo Elementary Schools.

  • Rain gardens at Zilker and Pond Springs Elementary Schools, O’Henry Middle School, and the Harmony School of Excellence will help conserve water, provide native plant education, and minimize soil erosion.

  • Growing vegetables in school gardens at Clayton, Patton, and UT Elementary Schools, Winn Montessori, Wholesome Generation, and Austin ISD Food Services will help students learn about healthy food options while reducing the carbon impact of transporting vegetables from farm to grocery store to table.

  • Ridgetop and Boone Elementary Schools, Tigerlily Preschool, and McNeil High School will plant and maintain wildlife gardens that provide a habitat for various native pollinators and birds. An apiary at Austin Achieve will help students learn about how critical bees are to our ecosystem. 

  • Students at St. Elmo Elementary will create a recycling and composting program for students and their families.

  • Planting and caring for trees at Garza High School and T.A. Brown and Pond Springs Elementary Schools will help students appreciate and understand the vital role of trees in our environment.

  • Upgrading a solar array and designing educational signage will educate students and community members about the benefits of renewable energy at Zilker Elementary School.
“To address climate change, we need everyone in our community on board,” said Lucia Athens, Austin’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “These inspirational projects demonstrate the dedication of Austin area students and teachers to creating positive change.”

Funding for the Bright Green Future Grants program is provided through a collaborative effort among six different City of Austin departments, including: 
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About the City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability

Austin’s Office of Sustainability 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 2040, a healthy and just local food system, resource-efficient strategies for municipal operations, tangible projects that demonstrate sustainability, and a resilient and adaptive city. Find out more at www.austintexas.gov/sustainability.

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