January 17, 2013
Earth Day Network Installs Outdoor Environmental Classroom at D.C. School
Project Will Bolster Yu Ying Charter School’s Green Ribbon Application
WASHINGTON – Earth Day Network completed the installation of an outdoor classroom at Yu Ying PCS Public Charter School. The facility – a storm water pond observation deck with benches and a trough for collecting water samples – was made possible through a grant from Wells Fargo’s Clean Technology and Innovation Grant program and will bolster the school’s application for the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon School Award.
“With this observation deck in place, our students will have unique hands-on educational experiences, interacting with the natural environment as often as they read about nature,” said Amy Quinn, International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme Coordinator at Yu Ying.
For over a year, parents and teachers at Yu Ying have been cleaning up the area around the school, designating a two acre strip on the edge of the property as a “nature center” and turning it into a space that is safe for children. But it had been hard to make one of the ecologically significant pieces of this land – a natural storm water runoff pond – accessible to the kids. A group of teachers and parents got together and suggested building a deck next to the pond to create an outdoor learning space for students to observe the water and the plants and animals living in it. The school loved the concept but needed help funding and executing the project. That’s when Earth Day Network got involved.
“The parents and teachers at Yu Ying were really motivated and already doing such great work, having planted a garden and installed a compost bin over the summer,” said Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day Network. “When we heard they wanted to build an outdoor classroom where students could not only observe nature but actually interact with it, we knew we had to help.”
Earth Day Network, part of a small coalition of nonprofit organizations that helped the Department of Education create the Green Ribbon Schools program in 2011, also assisted Yu Ying with the Green Ribbon application process. The Green Ribbon recognizes schools that have made dramatic gains in both environmental literacy and reducing their carbon footprint while improving learning conditions.
The outdoor classroom at Yu Ying follows other school greening projects Earth Day Network completed around the United States in 2012. These include installing a biodiesel production and education facility at Henry Clay High School and planting an orchard at Locust Trace Agriscience Farm in Lexington, Ky.; designing and building an educational vegetable garden, rainwater catchment system, and butterfly garden at Furman L. Templeton Elementary School in Baltimore, Md.; and organizing a civic education program on water-runoff contamination at the Secondary Academy of Success in Bothell, Wash.
To learn more about Earth Day Network’s Green Schools Program, go to earthday.org/campaigns/education.
About Earth Day Network
Earth Day Network’s mission is to broaden, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement. EDN coordinates Earth Day, mobilizing over one billion people in 192 countries every year on environmental challenges impacting our health, quality of life and the natural world. Year-round, EDN is a leader on environmental education and green school buildings. EDN also plants millions of trees worldwide – in the places that need them most – and works to expand the emerging green economy and protect natural lands. www.earthday.org
About Wells Fargo
In April 2012, Wells Fargo released a set of environmental commitments to be achieved by 2020; including reducing the company’s environmental impact, financing the transition to a greener economy and encouraging stronger and more sustainable communities. Part of this goal includes a $100 million environmental grants commitment by 2020 to create a “greener” future for the communities they serve. A leader in reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions and building sustainably, Wells Fargo has been recognized by the Carbon Disclosure Project and the U.S. Green Building Council and is a member of the Ceres sustainability leadership network. Since 2006, Wells Fargo has provided more than $11.7 billion in environmental finance, supporting sustainable buildings and renewable energy projects nationwide. This includes investments in more than 260 solar projects and 34 wind projects that generate enough clean renewable energy to power hundreds of thousands of American homes each year. For more information, please visit: www.wellsfargo.com/environment. Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.4 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 stores, 12,000 ATMs, the Internet, and has offices in more than 35 countries to support the bank’s customers who conduct business in the global economy. With more than 265,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States.www.wellsfargo.com