The City of Austin will fund 46 student-led sustainability projects in the 2020 school year.
The City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability announced today that 40 Austin-area K-12 schools will receive funding to implement 46 sustainability projects that are expected to benefit over 20,000 students. Nearly a quarter of the schools receiving a grant are Title 1 schools with a large percentage of low income students. These projects will offer hands-on learning opportunities, help “green” school campuses, and provide tangible benefits to the surrounding neighborhoods. Projects were selected from every Austin City Council District, and represent schools in AISD, Del Valle and Round Rock ISD, as well as several private schools.
“Now in its eighth year, the Bright Green Future Grants program has funded nearly 400 projects that have made local schools, and the community as a whole, a little greener,” said Chief Sustainability Officer Lucia Athens. “These teachers and students continue to inspire me with their efforts to make sustainability something tangible. They are hard at work planting, biking, conserving, and preserving to ensure our bright, green future.”
Bright Green Future Grants will fund bicycle clubs, rain gardens, community gardens, outdoor learning spaces, wildlife habitats, and waste reduction efforts at local schools:
- Bicycle Clubs improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve health by getting students out of cars and onto bikes. This year’s clubs will teach students about bike safety and maintenance at Langford, Metz, Zavala, Hart, Perez, Houston, Rodriquez, Brooke, Harris, Oak Springs, Allison, and Ortega Elementary Schools; Ann Richards and Kealing Middle Schools; and Eastside Memorial High School.
- Rain Garden Projects at St. Stephens Episcopal School, Highland Montessori, University of Texas Early Childhood Development Center, Davis Elementary School, Mariposa Montessori, and Academia Pre-School will help conserve water, provide education about native plants, and minimize soil erosion.
- Growing vegetables in school gardens at Cedar Creek, Blanton and Blackshear Elementary Schools; Little Tiger Immersion School; the Anita Ferrales Coy Facility; Del Valle High School; and Round Rock Opportunity Center will help students learn about healthy food options while reducing the carbon impact of transporting vegetables from farm to grocery store to table.
- At Linder, Davis, River Oaks, Boone, and Sunset Valley Elementary Schools; Uphaus Early Learning Center; Austin Achieve; and Murchison Middle School, students will disconnect from screens and reconnect with nature in Outdoor Classrooms shaded by new trees. Research has shown that children who spend some time outdoors each day are healthier, happier, and perform better academically.
- Hill and Summit Elementary Schools will plant and maintain a Wildlife Garden that provides habitat for a variety of native pollinators and birds. Sunset Valley’s “BeeKind Aviary” will help students understand the critical role bees play in our environment.
- Students at Linder Elementary will reduce plastic waste by installing water bottle refilling stations on campus. Blanton and Ridgetop Elementary Schools, Canyon Vista Middle School, and the Uphaus Early Childhood Center will create recycling and composting programs for students and their families.
Funding for these innovative sustainability projects is provided by the City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability, the Urban Forestry Division of the Development Services Department, Austin Resource Recovery, Watershed Protection Department, and Austin Transportation Department.
About Bright Green Future Grants
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 grants program was designed to recognize and support innovative projects that will inspire students to become lifelong environmental stewards. To date, 383 projects at local K-12 schools have been funded with Bright Green Future Grants; these projects have saved 1.4 million gallons of water, produced over 35,000 pounds of vegetables, and avoided 16.9 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions through miles traveled by bike instead of by car. Nearly 80,000 students have participated in implementing Bright Green Future Grant projects. For more information, visit www.austintexas.gov/brightgreenfuture.
About the Office of Sustainability
The City of 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 2050, a healthy and just local food system, and a resilient and adaptive city. Find out more at www.austintexas.gov/sustainability.