Tag Archives: environmental education

We Future Cycle is partnering with Energize NY bringing energy efficiency to Westchester homes

Brrh, it is cold outside. No parent would let their kid leave the house without a proper coat, a hat and some gloves. Parents know, unprotected skin gets cold and its important to make the envelope around the kid air tight.

Energize NY is a not-for-profit organization that helps NY residents to put a proper coat, hat and gloves on their homes. With skyrocketing energy costs, heating and cooling our homes is a major expense for every home owner.

Did you know that little things like caulking around windows, upgrading insulation, adding storm windows, bleeding your radiators etc can have a huge impact how much you spend on heating.

Energize NY offers free home energy efficiency inspections to Westchester home owners (did I mention, these inspections are free!) and the inspector will bring cool equipment to test your home for air tightness. Energize NY also offers help and financial support to pay for part or all upgrades necessary to air tighten your home. Participating home owners can see their home heating cost reduced by more than 30% in addition to having a much more comfortable house.

To learn more go to Energize NY

 

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New Rochelle High School Offers Week-Long Environmental Program about Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Learning about “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch” was eye opening for many High School students. They sat openly staring at videos of garbage floating down rivers ending in a soup of submerged plastic filmed underwater by a diver. They averted their eyes when confronted with the slow death of a sea bird whose stomach was full of plastic. They cringed seeing pictures of completely garbage covered beaches in the Maldives.

Anna Giordano, Executive Director of We Future Cycle was invited by the New Rochelle High School Principal to do 7 days of environmental presentation, open to all teachers, who could just sign up their class for one of the 56 available slots. And they did. Not just science teachers, but teachers of all genres saw the need for their students to learn about this enormous environmental problem.

Students learned that the source of the garbage in the ocean is coming from city street littering, they learned how rain water sewers at the side of the road are connected to the next water way without any filtering system in place. Any bottle, cigarette butt, chip bag or plastic bag that makes it past the grade at street level is going directly into the next creek, river, lake or ocean.

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Mr Trash “eating” Baltimore street garbage that made it into the harbor via the rainwater sewers

Students learned about how ordinary people rose up to find a solution to a problem that thousands have looked at and just walked by. The Baltimore Mr Trash, for example. an ingenious device that catches floating debris as it comes from the Joans Falls river before it goes any further into the harbor, and ultimately into the ocean. It shows that one person with the will to find a solution to a problem can make a serious difference and Mr Trash is now a solution that other communities can copy.

Seabin_Project_V5_hybrid_in_action_380x272-295x220Another solution students learned about was the Sea Bin Project.  A floating trash can  that uses a pump to create suction that pulls surface water (and the debris floating on it) into the bin, effectively filtering out debris as small as 2 mm. The inventors of this fabulous device just received a prestigious European Award . 

When asked what these New Rochelle Students can do to be the solution, one student suggested to organize local clean ups and the idea had immediate takers and the teacher enthusiastically took up management of that project.

We Future Cycle is proud to inspire New Rochelle High School students to strife to be the solution.

New Rochelle Ward Elementary 4th Grader Creates “How I can save the World” Poster

unnamedMeet Charlotte, a 4th grader at Ward Elementary School that spends many of her lunch periods helping in the lunchroom with the recycling program. She spent the past cold and blustering weekend to create a visual display sharing valuable ideas on how every body can make a difference by just altering their habits a little bit.

If all of us did this, we would make a huge difference. Thank you Charlotte!

New Rochelle Trinity’s Waste Free Tree Filling Up With Leaves

Check out how these Trinity Elementary Students are carefully pasting their waste free leaf to the tree. 6fa07f31-c764-4bb8-958a-bfc3109faacc

Liam Sparano (K, Ms Hawkins class) has received already 6 leaves ” I eat healthy snacks to get energy to grow big and strong like Superman”.

Trinity Elementary School students are proudly pasting paper leaves with their names to the Waste Free Tree that is taking up most of the wall in the front lobby. This Waste Free Tree symbolizes the change Trinity students are making in terms of snack packaging. Only students whose mid morning snack is completely waste free will earn a leaf and the opportunity to paste it to the tree. Students that are waste free and also super healthy will be able to earn a bonus leaf. And ….. this tree is sprouting leaves like crazy!

Jayden Henry has received 5 leaves. Jayden said, “I tell my Mommy I need a healthy snack every day”

Valeria Gutierrez has 4 leaves- She said, “I remind my Daddy in the morning to not use plastic baggies and I need fruit or rice cakes for snack”

We Future Cycle, a non profit organization specialized in bringing large scale sustainability programs to schools was hired to turn New Rochelle on a path toward sustainability.  4 presenters did class by class presentations to over 1000 students, helping them make the connection that snacks that are healthy for their body are often also healthy for the Earth as they come naturally unpackaged.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEven kindergarten students, when presented with a picture of the packaging waste of classroom snack knew immediately that most of that food belonged into the category of junk food. When asked if that food was healthy for their body, they all enthusiastically replied “no”. They listed the commonly known reasons on why not to eat junk food,  even the littlest ones knew the connection to obesity, diabetes and dental decay, amazing.

Tanya Kadaru has received 6 leaves  “My parents give me fruits and vegetables for snacks. They want me to stay healthy and get a lot of sleep so I can learn”.
Teachers are reporting a decrease in plastic baggies and more reusable containers. More students are bringing in water in thermoses to drink and skipping the juice boxes.
Trinity Elementary School is a shining example of how we can create a generation of kids that care through environmental education, and how it changes communities as well.

 

White Plains Schools Also Recycles Soft Plastics….because they can!

White Plains School District food service staff have been fabulous team players from the get-go in adopting the We Future Cycle lunchroom recycling program. We Future Cycle launched the recycling program at Church St, Ridgeway and Post Rd Elementary schools and the kitchen staff has been incredibly supportive and engaging.

All participating schools reduced garbage by a whopping 95-98% and the kitchens went down to a office-size trash bin with just a few used gloves and some dirty soft plastics, that is it!

However,  what really makes these food service workers stand out is their willingness to go beyond ….just because they can!

The kitchen is the only place in the building where clean soft plastic is collected and then eventually brought to the grocery store to be part of plastic bag recycling. Plastic bags, bread bags, and other  soft plastics are used to make composite wood, which is a mixture of sawdust and HDPE. As plastic bags are only recycled through the local grocery store and cannot go with the municipal commingled pick up, most kitchens are not willing to take on the task of sorting them out and then dropping them off at the grocery store on their own time.

White Plains kitchens said they can and they will. And so every week, sometimes even twice per week, one of these wonderful ladies drops of a bulging bag of clean, dry soft plastics for recycling. Way to go, what an example of going beyond…..

We Future Cycle in National Kids Science Magazine

news-f3a8e624689425102e9e5de00789be1aWe Future Cycle is so proud to be featured in the National Kids Science Magazine called DoGoNews. How cool is that!

And we are particularly proud to have heard from a bunch of people that their children chose that article as their current events project.

http://www.dogonews.com/2016/1/15/innovative-ideas-to-curb-food-waste-range-from-sharing-to-dumpster-dining

 

The Cost Of School Lunch Packaging to Society

We all know a regular hectic morning, between getting ourselves ready for work, getting sluggish children out of bed, showering them is optional, a cursory brush of the hair, feeding them, throwing together their lunch and snack with a quick grab into the pantry to put pre-packaged convenience food into their lunchbox, and ,still out of breath, we run them to the bus stop. Phew.

We don’t have time to think what price tag might be attached to that pre-packaged food at the other end. We are just happy to have made it again, another day of hectic working parents.

We -at We Future Cycle- working in the classrooms and in the lunchroom teaching the children about the waste and where “away” is, see it every day. We see the plastic baggies, the pre packaged meat, cracker and sauce packages, the juice boxes, the juice pouches, the single serve apple sauce pouches. We see the huge amounts of packaging materials that come in, all in the name of convenience.

As most of us don’t think past the curb where we bring our garbage can twice per week, there is no understanding what happens to the stuff once it leaves our house. It just conveniently “goes away”. Students in schools that are running the We Future Cycle Recycling program are learning that there is no “away”. Older students also learn about the cost of “away”.

Schools are spending a large portion of their budget on waste management. Every dollar spent on Waste Management is a dollar NOT spent in the classroom.

Parental convenience comes with a price tag to society.

There is a much better way, that will save money on both ends and only requires a little bit of planning. Packaging a lunch from fresh ingredients in a reusable box, and sending watered down juice in a reusable bottle will solve two big problems in schools. It will reduce the waste management costs and it will feed the children healthier to allow for better learning. I am sure you will agree with me……our children are worth the little effort.