LEAD Projects: Update
LEAD Projects: MarinSEL Students present their work
On December 12th and 13th 2013, in the Terra Linda high school amphitheater, the MarinSEL sophomore and freshmen classes presented their semester long Leadership and Environmental Action Development (LEAD) Projects to parents, peers, teachers and community partners. All ten individual groups presented: two garden groups, two transportation groups, two water groups, one climate group, one electric vehicle group, one waste group and one solar hot water group.
Each group introduced their goals, difficulties, accomplishments and individual reflection on the process that they, as individuals, and as a group had to go through.
The Garden Group built on last year’s success and partnered up with the Marinwood Farmers Market where group members completed internships. Older students mentored the freshmen, while the group as a whole educated the community at large on the benefits of growing, selling and buying locally. The Garden Group also partnered up with Peet's Coffee who donated coffee grounds for the enhancement of the MarinSEL garden plants.
The Sustainability Group partnered up with Marin Transit, Marin Municipal Water District and Marin Clean Energy and held a sustainability informative fair at the affordable housing company EAH. Through the activities they had planned out they were able to educate the tenants about how to bring about positive changes for the environment with very little impact on their daily lives.
The Transportation Group focused on finding innovative ways to reduce the carbon footprint of the Terra Linda High Schools students. They created a carpool website, a walk and bike to school day, had a green car show on campus, and distributed raffle tickets to participants. Over 200 students participated in this initiative and based on the survey taken by the Group, almost all participants indicated that this effort has inspired them to opt for better and greener transportation.
The Waste Reduction Group had three goals: To make composting available on campus, to install hand dryers in the school's bathrooms, and to place recycling bins on campus in strategic areas. The group organized a compost day during which they collected over 16 pounds of compost, to be used in the MarinSEL Garden. They discovered that each day about 3-6 pounds of paper towels are used in each bathroom of the school, and researched the most cost-efficient hand dryers on the market. Finally, they looked for the best recycling bins available, and with a 3D map of the school found the best strategic areas where to place these bins for everyone to use easily. They partnered up with Marin Sanitary, the School Board, and the janitorial staff at Terra Linda High and worked directly with the Principal.
The Water & Hydration Station Group's main goal was to install water refill stations on campus to reduce the use of disposable plastic bottles, and encourage the use of reusable bottles. They partnered up with the Marin Municipal Water District to inform and educate the students as well as the school administration. They also undertook a student survey, including a campus-wide plastic bottle audit, and as the result of a fundraising campaign received free reusable bottles to sell on campus. Their research proved that FLO water refill stations are cost-beneficial not only to Terra Linda High School, but for all students since a refill would cost only 25 cents. They hope that these stations will be installed on campus in the near future.
The Garden Group’s main goal was to tend to the school garden and harvest produce to sell at the Marinwood farmer’s market. They worked with Heritage Landscapes and Agricultural Community Events to maintain the garden and improve its infrastructure, update the sellers’ certification, harvest and sell remaining fall produce and plant seeds and starters for winter crops. Along with maintaining the contents of the garden, they also made new sign for garden and repainted the raised beds. During project week they created mini-greenhouses over each raised bed to protect the crops from frost.
The Solar Hot Water Group worked with Sun Water Solar to promote solar hot water heating at local community pools. In order to do this, the students performed a site assessment of the Lucas Valley Community pool and create a feasibility report for a solar hot water installation there. The students presented to the Lucas Valley Home Owner’s Association board on their findings and available rebates. Using the results of their Lucas Valley study, the group then reached out to other community pools to community their research and findings.
The Electric Vehicle Group’s goal was to promote the use of electric vehicles in Marin County. The group partnered with the Golden Gate Electric Vehicle Association to promote electric vehicles at the Marin Plug In day in September. Along with the GGEVA and Adopt a Charger the students worked to promote the proposed charging station at the Point Reyes National Seashore Visitors Center by presenting to community members and stakeholders. During project week the students wrote grants requesting funds from the Transportation Authority of Marin and County of Marin to help support this installation.
The Transportation Group worked with Safe Routes to School to host a Walk and Bike to school week at Dixie Elementary. To kick off the week and get kids excited they ran an assembly on green transportation. Each day during project week the students tallied class transportation modes and awarded a pizza party to the winning classroom. The students also helped form “walking buses” to school in the morning, which helped promote the personal health and community aspect of walking to school.
The Bay Water Quality Group worked to assess local water quality and educate 8th graders at Miller Creek about pharmaceuticals in water. The students worked with Marin Central Sanitation Agency to collect and test water samples from various locations in Marin for pharmaceuticals and other basic water quality parameters. The students used their research to create a lesson on water quality and pharmaceuticals and taught 8th grade science classes at Miller Creek Middle School.
One reflective theme that all groups shared was the difficulty of communicating with one another and the partners. Each group had to come up with creative ways to counter these communication glitches, and as a result most participants benefited of a great learning curve not only in their specific area of interest, but also in communication skills.