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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Back to School Blues? This Will Cheer You Up

Environmental Charter High School, Lawndale, CA

What is a green school? ECHS knows it goes beyond the buildings. 
It's about holistic education and partnerships in their community. 
It's how 97% of their graduates exceed the admission requirements of the UC/CSU System despite the fact that 80% are also financially disadvantaged.

They are one of only three Green Ribbon Schools in Southern CA. This award recognizes excellence in environmental and sustainability education. Some highlights include:
  • A recycling rate of over 85%
  • CHPS & LEED EB Certification
  • 25% class time is outdoors in a recycled-concrete urban outdoor amphitheater
  • Students worked with permaculture experts to create a natural stream that now runs through the center of the urban campus
  • A group of students successfully presented a proposal to change food vendors to one that supports the school’s mission, with locally grown food, low-waste compostable packaging, and healthier food
  • Students made their own biodiesel fuel
  • Students invite their community into their lessons, hosting composting workshops and campus tours, and engaging in projects to restore the L.A. watershed
I recently toured ECHS and here's what I saw.

"Plastic Bags Blow" reads the sign on Fluke, the recycled boat that students helped create out of 700 plastic bottles, 1000 plastic bags, a junk car seat, and sail made from 50 polyester shirts. It sailed from Sana Barbara to San Diego to raise awareness about the 100 million + tons of plastics in our ocean.
A water catchment system collects 600,000 gallons of water a year from 11" of rain.
Students tend to raised gardens, chicken and rabbit coops, and green walls.
A student-run bicycle repair shop encourages students and staff to ride rather than drive. 

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