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07 December 2011

Greening the schools: Students learn about sustainability (US School)
Students at Emerson Elementary save energy by studying in a classroom lit only by sunshine. Kids at several Madison schools forgo morning car rides in favor of biking or walking. At Lake View Elementary, students and parents collaborate with area farmers who supply healthy snacks to the school.

Meanwhile, teachers in some district schools have been able to unplug space heaters used to warm up classrooms that were once too cold for comfort. Other educators no longer need to open windows in rooms that used to overheat in the winter.
The new bike racks at East High School are being used. Throughout Madison schools, there's a new emphasis on healthier meal choices, including reduced reliance on food like chocolate milk for breakfast or sweetened cereal. At Badger Rock Middle School, the district's newest charter school, sixth-graders are involving their families in an ambitious urban agriculture experiment that's also strengthening the neighborhood community. Meanwhile, a throng of dedicated parents and other volunteers contribute time and talent to hands-on environmental projects, from gardening to monitoring energy use.
"Two years ago our Green Team club at Marquette (Elementary) marched through the school with cool equipment, measuring temperatures, examining water use, looking at where we could make some helpful changes that wouldn't cost much money," says Jamie Carpenter, a mechanical engineer and parent volunteer. "At the time, I was struck by what a tremendous opportunity this kind of project offers for learning math and science, as well as saving energy."
Carpenter, who led the student club while his children attended Marquette, says that at the time it wasn't easy to translate the club's research into much practical action. "We may have been a little ahead of our time," he says diplomatically.

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