green schools


As students go back to school to start their spring semester, finding a summer internship is definitely on their to-do list, and now is the time when employers are looking for talented students to fill their organizational needs. So each year Bethesda Green hosts Fields of Green Internship Fair to connect highly qualified students who are looking for opportunities in the environmental sector with DC metro area’s green employers. Getting ready for the event this year, we decided to share a series of profiles (wrapped up with this edition) about some of the amazing interns who have worked with us recently.

Natalia Salazar PhotoMeet Natalia Salazar. Natalia graduated from Mount Holyoke College in May 2013 with a degree in Environmental Studies and a concentration in Ecosystem Science. Since September 2013, she has been interning at Bethesda Green and Calleva Farm, focusing on sustainable agriculture. She is passionate about building a local, ethical, and sustainable food system.

How did you hear about Bethesda Green? After the end of my last semester in college, I started searching online for green internships in Bethesda. The first link that came up was Bethesda Green’s list of internships from the 2013 Fields of Green Internship Fair. Thanks to this list, I found out about Bethesda Green and Calleva, and I am enjoying wonderful opportunities at both places.

The best thing about interning at Bethesda Green is the chance to work on a project of my interest and receive all the support and resources I need to complete my project. I especially love the level of involvement I’m granted in the Greening Restaurants program and the exposure to the local sustainability world. Thanks to my internship at BG, I have learned  a great deal about restaurants serving delicious, local, seasonal food in downtown Bethesda that I previously had not know about.

What do you do at Bethesda Green? Since I started my internship at Bethesda Green, I’ve been immersing myself in the topic of sustainable agriculture. I’m helping to bring a local food day in downtown Bethesda and creating a webpage within the BG site to educate the public about sustainable agriculture, our county’s agricultural reserve, and sources for local food.

I am most passionate about environmental stewardship, health, animal welfare, and social justice. I also love the outdoors, traveling, dancing, cooking, and eating.

One thing I do to protect the environment is drive a small, fuel-efficient car. My goal, however, is to drive an electric car powered by clean energy sources.

Future goals/plans? This fall I hope to enroll in the University of Maryland’s Environmental Science and Technology M.S. program. I would like to do research and gain expertise on sustainable agriculture and soil.

_________________

Maddy Go is currently a senior at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, interning at Bethesda Green for the fall and spring semesters.

How did you hear about Bethesda Green? I was looking for an internship in the environmental field as part of my school’s internship program, and a quick Google search brought me to Bethesda Green’s website. After meeting with Bethesda Green staff, I started interning months later in the fall.

The best thing about interning at BG…is the extremely welcoming and encouraging Bethesda Green staff. BG is a great environment to learn and grow, and that’s made possible entirely by them.

What do you do at Bethesda Green? Anything that’s needed, including working on the database, the BG website, media outreach, and my own personal project. With the help of Bethesda Green, I’ve recently been able to begin to renovate my school’s greenhouse, which has been a fantastic experience for me.

I am most passionate about finding innovative ways to do things and exploring new ideas, especially in the environmental field.

One thing you do to protect the environment? Whenever I go out I try to carpool, take public transportation, or walk/bike.

Future goals/plans? This year I’m going to head to college and begin my undergraduate studies in environmental science. However, things are still uncertain down the road. Hopefully I’ll be able to take advantage of study-abroad opportunities, or try World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) or the Peace Corps.

As students go back to school to start their spring semester, finding a summer internship is definitely on their to-do list, and now is the time when employers are looking for talented students to fill their organizational needs. So each year Bethesda Green hosts Fields of Green Internship Fair to connect highly qualified students who are looking for opportunities in the environmental sector with DC metro area’s green employers. Getting ready for the event this year, we decided to share a series of profiles about some of the amazing interns who have worked with us recently.

Jenny Roe PhotoMeet Jennifer Roe. She grew up in Bethesda but has lived all over the world since then.  She spent a year in Edinburgh, Scotland, and received a Master’s degree in Sustainable Development. During her time in Scotland she became passionate about moving away from an unhealthy, unfair food system and has been working towards building a healthier system ever since.

How did you hear about Bethesda Green? I found out about Bethesda Green when I first moved back to the U.S. from Scotland.  During my job search I came across BG’s website; decided to attend the Education, Outreach and Marketing meeting; and soon after, began my internship.

The best thing about interning at Bethesda Green…was getting to know the people there.  I loved working with the BG team and all the community members who are so passionate about making Bethesda and surrounding communities more sustainable.  Everyone is filled with inspiring ideas about how to change the world for the better.

What have you been up to since your internship at Bethesda Green? After my internship, I started working for a start-up company called Relay Foods.  We are an online farmers market and grocery store that offers 300 local products as well as everyday groceries.  Relay is working towards building a more efficient, no-waste food system that supports small, local business. I am so proud of the growth I have seen in the company over the past 6 months and think everyone should try it out!

I am most passionate about healthy, delicious food that is good for the earth!

One thing you do to protect the environment? Shop local whenever possible.

Future goals/plans? TRAVEL! I have spent  a lot of time traveling but the list never ends. I also hope to one day go to business school to learn about starting my own organization that gives back to those in needs and creates a healthier world.

As students go back to school to start their spring semester, finding a summer internship is definitely on their to-do list, and now is the time when employers are looking for talented students to fill their organizational needs. So each year Bethesda Green hosts Fields of Green Internship Fair to connect highly qualified students who are looking for opportunities in the environmental sector with DC metro area’s green employers. Getting ready for the event this year, we decided to share a series of profiles about some of the amazing interns who have worked with us recently.

Megan Clark PhotoMeet Megan Clark. She is a junior at American University, studying Public Communication with minors in Marketing and Psychology. She has held several positions in sustainability-related fields because she is interested in making the world a greener place.

How did you hear about Bethesda Green? I heard about Bethesda Green through a position I held at American University’s Office of Sustainability. They told us about the Fields of Green Internship Fair where I learned about the internship positions available at Bethesda Green.

The best thing about interning at Bethesda Green…was getting to know the people that work there and getting involved in a multitude of projects. Every day was different, and I liked that there was always something new to learn.

What have you been up to since your internship at Bethesda Green? I just got back from studying European Sustainable Development in Copenhagen, Denmark, for the fall semester, which was a great experience, but now I am looking forward to getting further involved on my campus again at AU.

I am most passionate about my friends and family. These are the people that love and support me. Wherever I find myself in my future, I know that they will be by my side.

One thing you do to protect the environment? I always bring reusable bags to the grocery store, and I have my own recycling bin in my room in my apartment. Incorporating sustainability into my daily life is a huge priority for me.

Future goals/plans? My future plans for this year are to get more involved in service opportunities on my campus and expand my network. As for beyond this year, I am looking forward to pursuing different career opportunities and really getting my feet wet working in different fields. I would also like to travel back to Europe at some point and visit the places I haven’t been to yet such as London, Paris, Rome and Vienna!

Bullis pic1by Jon Akpapunam

Sustainable.  Steward.  School. 

What do these three words have in common?  Well, for one, they all begin with the letter “s”—but they also accurately describe Bullis School, located in Potomac, MD.

Bullis School made a commitment to environmental stewardship and education several years ago—and as an independent, college preparatory school, the decision to embed environmental consciousness within the school community was solely a decision of their own.

All of this seemed to jumpstart in 2005 with the Green Cup Challenge, a recycling challenge in which middle school classes participated pioneered by teacher, Rita Gerharz.  Clearly inspiration was drawn from this, as many other efforts followed shortly after.  In 2009, the school implemented an 11kW solar photovoltaic system (consisting of 540 panels) on the roof of their Blair Family Center for the Arts, with all remaining electrical needs fulfilled through the purchase of 100% wind power.  The Bullis Community Garden grows 30 different types of crops, providing food for the school’s dining hall and space for classroom use.  It does so without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides.  Also, as a Buddy Bison School, environmental education is incorporated throughout the curriculum and the partnership with the National Park Trust.

bullis pic2Second grade teacher, Carolyn Cohen, won the first Buddy National Teacher Award for Outstanding Environmental Stewardship from the National Park Trust.  Bullis was also ranked fourth in the country for its renewable energy use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Green Power Partnership, awarded membership to the 2011 Green Power Leadership Club, and received a Green Award from Bethesda Magazine in 2011.

Efforts have not ceased, however, with recognition in the last couple of years.  Students at Bullis continue to be environmentally aware and interested.  “Young people enjoy making a difference and leaving an impact,” explains Susie Zimmerman, the school’s Communications Director.  She attributes some of the school’s success in this regard to the early exposure provided to students.  Environmental education is incorporated into the curriculum starting in the second grade.

Susie stresses the importance and effectiveness of engaging students in hands-on experience that will connect students to the natural world and allow them to make a difference.  These experiences culminate in environmental stewardship becoming second nature—a part of everyday life.“

“Bullis seeks to prepare all students to become caring citizens who further demonstrate life-long proficiency in 21st century skills related to critical thinking, communication, creativity, collaboration, and resourcefulness,” the curriculum mission states.  Critical thinking, communication, creativity, collaboration, and resourcefulness are all vital skills necessary to lessen environmental impacts for a more sustainable future.

A school—teaching sustainability, acting as an environmental steward—that is Bullis.

A recent graduate of Denison University, Jon Akpapunam is an intern at both Clean Currents and the City Parks Alliance. He is passionate about both learning and developing new perspectives and strategies to create a more sustainable future.

Gala13_ArtDeco_logo v22013 BETHESDA GREEN GALA

Bethesda Green celebrates 5 years of promoting sustainable living with a fabulous Gala at the historic Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club, Thursday, October 3. This event brings people from DC metro area who share the vision of a more green and sustainable community.  See more info about the Gala.

Highlights of the evening include honoring the 2013 Bethesda Magazine Green Award winners — businesses, organizations, communities and individuals who are providing green services or promoting and living a green lifestyle.

Buy Gala Tickets Now

BGnews_logoBy Alison Wentzell

Climate Panel Warns Human Activity is the Cause for Warming

Recently, a draft of the International Panel of Climate Change’s “Fifth Assessment Report” has been leaked and the report looks bleak, according to an article in the New York Times.  The International Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) is a team of several hundred scientists that won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, along with Al Gore. Although the team does not conduct any of their own research, it is their duty to analyze work done by other scientists and publish the most important findings regarding climate change.  Many governments rely on these findings to create policies and prepare for the future impacts climate change will have.

This year’s assessment report, which will be finalized in September, strengthened many scientists’ beliefs regarding the future of climate change.  The assessment’s first major finding is that human activity is the cause of the increase in global temperature.  In the past climate skeptics have dismissed the idea that global warming was the adverse effects of human activity, but something that happened naturally.  But now, scientists are about 95% certain that the rapid increase in global temperature since the industrial revolution is the cause of carbon emissions produced from human activities.  Scientists have also dismissed the recent notion of a slowdown in the pace of warming.

The draft also elaborates on how strongly correlated carbon emissions and global temperatures are.  The report states that the lowest possible increase would be 2.7 degrees Celsius, down from 3.6 degrees published in the “Fourth Assessment Report”.  However, the IPCC was quick to point out that just because 2.7 degrees is possible, doesn’t mean it’s likely.  If we continue with a business as usual mindset, then carbon emission will double in the next few decades, increasing the global temperature by approximately 5 degrees.  This will cause extreme heat waves, difficulty growing food, mass extinctions and changes in plant and animal life, and land ice to melt.  The melting of ice is one of the biggest concerns for scientists, since it will displace many communities and many of the world’s major cities.

The report will be finalized in September, but until then check out this article in the New York Times.

Students Succeed in Building Electric Vehicle

A group of 7 students in Sandy Spring Friends School’s Advance Placement environmental science class won fourth place in the 2013 DC Electric Vehicle Grand Prix this summer, which was open to high school students in DC, Maryland, and Virginia.  In addition to placing fourth in the competition, the students’ car won Best Technical Innovation and Best Graphic, and the team won Best Team Photo.   The team started working in December, when they were inspired to create a battery powered vehicle as a class project.  In March they started to build the vehicle to make their idea a reality.  The students hit many roadblocks while working on the project, but they believe that they learned more from the overall experience because of these roadblocks than if the project had ran smoothly.

These students are the future innovators and designers of our country, and have proven that they have the potential to change the world.  Competitions like the DC Electric Vehicle Grand Prix help to foster and motivate students to take action and prove that they can do something remarkable, not only for them but for the world.  I can only hope that these students will continue on the path of brilliance and someday change our society’s infrastructure, to create a greener, healthier world.

For the full article, check out the Gazette here.

Events

  • 4th Annual Bake Bethesda A Pie Contest, September 1st, 9am-12pm, Bethesda Central Farm Market, located at the Bethesda Elementary School parking lot

Come out to the annual “Bake Bethesda a Pie” contest and help raise money for Mana Food Center!  Last year over 200 people attended for the judging of more than 45 different pies.

  •  Happy Hour, September 5, 5pm-8pm, The Courtyard by Marriott Chevy Chase, 5220 Wisconsin Avenue

 Join Bethesda Green for their First Thursday Happy Hour at The Courtyard and have a chance to win a raffle, get discounts on wine, beer, and cocktails, and delicious appetizers.  Also, meet the people protecting the local watershed—Cabin John, Little Falls and Rock Creek.  There is a $10 entrance fee and the proceeds are shared with local watershed groups.

Alison Wentzell is a senior at American University and an intern with Bethesda Green.  Her interests in sustainability focus on the community, environmental politics, and cultural aspects of the environmental movement.

by Alison Wentzell

Montgomery County Interest in School Gardens GrowsBGnews_logo

Montgomery County fosters 202 different schools, 35 of which have gardens where students can observe, ask questions, and take control of their health as part of a local food and advocacy project, according to an article in the Washington Post.  But, interest in gardens is growing throughout the entire school district.

The Montgomery County school district mandates that students pass three different sciences in order to graduate.  Historically, horticulture has been an easy class to pass and draws in students that don’t have much interest in other science fields.  Elizabeth Levien, who teaches at Blair High School in Silver Spring, is excited to see that the students taking horticulture are now excited by the gardens and their class.

Students’ interest in horticulture classes is also growing in Clarksburg, Damascus, and Springbrook high schools.  Teachers from these schools are working together to make gardens a part of the horticulture curriculum throughout the district.  They have already structured a three-year program allowing students to become certified horticulturists.  But students enrolled in the program aren’t the only ones showing interest in the gardens.  Teacher Jill Couts from Sherwood High School has approximately 30 students who go to the green house each week that aren’t even in the program.

Montgomery Victory Gardens’ project director Gordon Clark is ecstatic about the impact gardens are having on schools.  He’s now working with other PTAs and schools in the district to give them the knowledge and resources to help them get started on their own gardens.

For more information, read the Washington Post article here.

North Dakota Flare Ups, Crude Oil Transportation, and the Rise of Solar Energy

Between an 18,000 square mile flare up, the increase in shipping crude oil by rail, and a third growing phase for solar energy; saying there’s a lot going on in the energy sector is a bit of an understatement.  One third of the natural gas produced in the Bakken shale in North Dakota is being burned off in the air.  The effects of the burning are so big they can be seen from space and produces the carbon equivalent of an extra 1 million cars.  Even though oil drillers are burning $1 billion worth every year, low prices, the remote location, and cost of developing pipelines prevent the gas from being utilized.

In fact, leaders in the oil industry are becoming wary of pipeline projects all together, and more shipments are being made by railroad.  However, the Obama administration’s efforts to boost safety standards are making it a bit more difficult to ship crude oil.  To fight this, the oil industry and U.S. railroads are fighting these efforts by pointing out the technical challenges and economic costs.

While the United States is still focusing on natural gas and crude oil, other countries are investing more in solar energy.  In a recent study the Deutsche Bank found that solar energy is entering a third growing phase.  Even oil producing countries are increasing their investment in solar energy, finally allowing it to become a competitive source of energy rather than just an alternative.  The solar energy industry can now start the process of weaning itself off of subsidies and become a self-sustaining industry.

For more information, read the Wall Street Journal article here.

Alison Wentzell is a senior at American University and an intern with Bethesda Green.  Her interests in sustainability focus on the community, environmental politics, and cultural aspects of the environmental movement.

by Susanna Parker

On Friday April 26, I was excited to represent Bethesda Green at the Francis Scott Key Middle School’s 6th Annual Green Day. As the culmination of their Earth Month activities, the school invited representatives from environmental organizations around the Maryland & DC area, including the U.S. National Park Service, the Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation, Locust Grove Nature Center, the Department of Natural Resources, and more, to staff tables and discuss their environmental and sustainability efforts. Treva Coates, coordinator of the IB Middle Years Programme, explained that while Green Day is an annual event, the school’s environmental and sustainability efforts continue year round.

Francis Scott Key is an excellent example of a green school. Several years ago, the old building was torn down and a modern up-to-date building was constructed in its place. However, rather than generate tons of construction waste, Francis Scott Key was re-built using 95% of the materials from the old building. Additionally, the new building is equipped with solar panels, and the back field has geothermal tanks installed beneath to assist with the temperature management of their water. These accomplishments are some of the reasons that Francis Scott Key Middle School is a LEED Gold School and the first school in Montgomery County to be designated a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School.

The staff at Francis Scott Key are passionate about getting the students involved in environmental stewardship. They have eliminated the use of Styrofoam trays in the cafeteria, and taught the students to separate trash, paper, and plastic after they’ve finished eating. As I walked through the building on Green Day, I noticed the presence of paper and plastic recycling bins in every hallway and room. To make sure that the student population works with the program, the school has formed a student-led School Energy and Recycling Team that monitors the proper use of the recycling and trash containers in each classroom. Besides the SERT team, there is also the School Beautification Group; students rotate into the group every four weeks learning about ways to be green and sustainable and participate in the monitoring of the recycling program. Finally, a staff member sponsored the Green Crafts club, in which she teaches students how to design and make crafts and jewelry from recyclable materials such as plastic bags.

Throughout the day, students were sent into the activities hall in groups and walked around to inspect the tables and learn about the various organizations. The Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation presented students with dwarf sunflower seeds and growing pods; the Locust Grove Nature Center showcased shells and exoskeletons of species native to Maryland; Montgomery County School Energy & Recycling Team discussed the waste cycle and demonstrated the differences between incandescent, compact fluorescent, and LED lightbulbs; A.I.R. Lawn Care displayed its solar-powered trailer and equipment and talked about the importance of green landscaping. Watching the kids’ reactions as they learned more about the green movement was a great experience. Some kids really seemed to be inspired by what they saw, and I’m sure that Francis Scott Key will see a spike in its SERT team and School Beautification Group. A school that’s already taken such great steps toward sustainability is sure to go further in that direction, and the newly inspired students will certainly help lead them down the path.

FSK Green Day

Images courtesy of Treva Coates.

Susanna Parker is a recent college graduate and volunteer with Bethesda Green. Her interest in sustainability leads her to look for green solutions in uncommon places.

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