AUSTIN, Texas — Thousands of Austin-area students are about to get some hands-on experience learning about sustainability.
The City of Austin's Office of Sustainability announced Tuesday that 40 area K-12 schools will receive Bright Green Future Grants to start 46 sustainability projects that are expected to benefit over 20,000 students. According to the City, these projects will offer hands-on learning opportunities, help school campuses become "greener" and provide benefits to the surrounding neighborhoods.
Projects were selected from every Austin City Council district and represent schools in Austin ISD, Del Valle ISD and Round Rock ISD, as well as several private schools. The City said nearly a quarter of the schools receiving funding are Title 1 schools with a large percentage of low-income students.
"Now in its 8th 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," Chief Sustainability Officer Lucia Athens said. "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."
The grants will fund a variety of different sustainability projects. Here's a breakdown:
- Bicycle clubs at Langford, Metz, Zavala, Hart, Perez, Houston, Rodriguez, Brooke, Harris, Oak Springs, Allison and Ortega elementary schools; Ann Richards and Kealing middle schools; and Eastside Memorial High School. Students will learn about bike safety and maintenance and the environmental benefits of riding bikes.
- Growing vegetables in gardens at Cedar Creek, Blanton and Blackshear elementary schools; Little Tiger Chinese Immersion School; the Anita Ferrales Coy Facility; Del Valle High School; and the Round Rock Opportunity Center. Students will learn about healthy food options and the environmental benefits of farm-to-table living.
- Learning in outdoor classrooms at Linder, Davis, River Oaks, Boone and Sunset Valley elementary schools; Uphaus Early Childhood Center; Austin Achieve; and Murchison Middle School. By learning outside, students will disconnect with screens and reconnect with nature.
- Hill and Summitt elementary schools will plant and maintain a wildlife garden that provides habitat for native pollinators and birds, and Sunset Valley's "BeeKind Aviary" will help students understand the importance of bees.
- Rain garden projects at St. Stephens Episcopal School, Highland Montessori, the University of Texas Early Childhood Development Center, Davis Elementary School, Mariposa Montessori and Academia preschool will help conserve water, minimize soil erosion and teach students about native plants.
- Students at Linder Elementary will reduce plastic waste by installing water bottle refilling stations, while 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 grants is provided by the City's Office of Sustainability, Austin Resource Recovery, the Watershed Department, the Transportation Department and the Urban Forestry Division of the Developmental Services Department.
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