Sustainability Action Agenda: Bright Green Future Grants Awarded to Local Schools to Benefit Sustainability Projects
Sponsored by the City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability, Bright Green Future Grants is a competitive program that provides funding for school-based sustainability projects. Launched in 2012, the program was designed to recognize and support innovative projects that will inspire students to become lifelong environmental stewards.
In its first year, the program received 27 applications for funding consideration; 3 projects were selected for $3,000 grants by a panel of judges composed of Office of Sustainability staff and community members who serve on the City’s Environmental Board, Electric Utility Board, Sustainable Food Board, Waste and Wastewater Commission, and Zero Waste Advisory Commission.
The three recipients of the first Bright Green Future Grants were:
Cunningham Elementary School was recognized for their community organic farm, known as Partners for Education, Agriculture, and Sustainability, or PEAS. Grant funding allowed the PEAS farm to expand to include an outdoor classroom to better facilitate a hands-on learning experience for participants. The project involved educators, students, parents, and members of the surrounding community, who learned about irrigation and organic farming practices, composting, and healthy cooking.
Fulmore Middle School applied their Bright Green Future Grant funding to expand a successful air-conditioning condensate collection project. Students collect condensate in clay olla pots that serve as rain barrels; the condensate becomes a self-sustaining water source for a native Texas habitat on campus that features drought-resistant plants. The project has helped educate Fulmore students about water conservation and responsible landscaping practices during one of the worst droughts in Central Texas history.
American YouthWorks used its grant for the school’s Texas Conservation Corps program. Funds allowed installation of a rain garden on site that creates habitat for native species, promotes water conservation, and protects water quality. In addition, the rain garden provided students with green jobs training through American YouthWorks. Students who participated in the project will help educate others as well.
Submissions for grants for 2013-2014 will be accepted beginning in September 2013 to all area public, private, and home schools. Bright Green Future Grant applications will be available at: http://austintexas.gov/department/bright-green-future-school-grants
Find out more about the sustainability initiatives being tracked as part of the Sustainability Action Agenda and decide how you will take action to secure a bright, green future for Austin.