Student-Led Projects Improve the Environment

Thanks to funding provided by the U.S. Forest Service in 2015, Project Learning Tree was able to award 63 GreenWorks! grants up to $2,000 each to involve students and community members in service-learning projects to improve an aspect of their local environment. Nearly 14,000 students—from early childhood through college—in 33 states and the District of Columbia took what they learned in the classroom and applied it to make a difference in their world. 

Read about four of these projects below. Proposals for the next round of grants will be due Sept. 30, 2016. To be eligible, applicants must have attended a PLT training. Application forms are available on the PLT.org website.

University Students Create a Sensory Garden for Preschoolers

A boy spreads mulchIn Westville, Indiana, Purdue University North Central (PNC) early childhood education teacher candidates helped plan and build a children’s garden at Westville Little School to give preschoolers a place to explore the natural world and learn about nature. To start the project, PNC students participated in a PLT training to help them understand the importance of outdoor classrooms as a learning tool for young students.

Groups of service-learning and practicum students from PNC reached out to community partners for help with this project. Purdue Master Gardeners and the Purdue North Central Women’s Association taught the groups about effective gardening techniques, and students from Westville High School’s agricultural class helped gather seeds and build the garden beds. The garden includes plants with interesting textiles, scents, colors, and names to stimulate learning and development.

High School Students Restore Running Trails Around their School

High school students improve their school's outdoor classroomWith their Greenworks! grant, students at Thomas Stone High School in Waldorf, Maryland made their school’s outdoor spaces more accessible and enjoyable for community members. They took charge mapping and reconstructing sections of the running trail, applying their math, science, and landscaping skills. They created posters and PSAs and recruited volunteers to help with events such as Zumba in the Forest and a 9-11 Memorial 5K Walk/Run to showcase their project and get community members outside and participating in outdoor activities. 

The Black Leadership Council for Excellence, a local community group that empowers youth by developing leadership skills, career awareness, and civic participation, helped throughout. They also supplied gardening tools, installed new seating and a rain barrel at the school’s existing outdoor classrooms, and assembled a digital outdoor lesson plan book so teachers can incorporate outdoor learning into their lessons.

K-12 Special Education Students Make Maple Sugar

teacher tapping a maple treeElementary, middle, and high school students at St. Stephen’s Academy in Zelienople, western Pennsylvania worked together to collect sap and produce maple syrup for an annual Rip N’ Dip Festival where the community comes together for pancakes and maple syrup tasting and to learn about the maple sugaring process. Special education students from all grade levels participated in a variety of hands-on, outdoor activities throughout the six-month project. 

Younger students learned about trees, forests, wildlife, and forest products, and how to safely tap trees and collect sap. Older students learned how to transform the sap into syrup in the maple sugaring furnace, using their knowledge of math and chemistry to ensure the right humidity and temperature for the process. The students also developed peer and mentoring relationships to help teach and encourage one another. The students acted as greeters and tour guides at the Rip N’ Dip Festival where they were excited to describe their work and share their delicious syrup with family, friends, and community members. 

K-8 Students Create a Monarch Butterfly Garden, Collaborate with a School in Mexico

 A young girl waters a plant she has just planted to attract Monarch butterflies to her school in West Virginia.The Mountain Stewardship & Outdoor Leadership School in Morgantown, West Virginia works with Morgantown Learning Academy to provide K-8 students with in-class environmental education programs and after-school outdoor programs focused on nature awareness, stewardship, and leadership skills. With the help of a GreenWorks! grant, a student-led project explored the declining population of the Monarch butterfly and resulted in a new butterfly garden in the school’s Wild Yards area. The garden has received designations as a “Monarch Waystation” from Monarch Watch, and as a “Certified Schoolyard Habitat” from the National Wildlife Federation.

During a three-week classroom unit, students first learned about the Monarch migration and lifecycle, and reported sightings to Monarch Watch. They then chose a location and designed and built their butterfly garden complete with milkweed and nectar plants designed to specifically attract Monarchs. Every classroom raised butterflies. Summer camp students added butterfly baths, created signage, and painted a mural. Students also collaborated with a school in Mexico and Skyped, in Spanish, about each of their butterfly projects. It was incredibly powerful for the students to see the whole Monarch lifecycle unfold right before their eyes and to know they provided the habitat to make that happen.

For more information about PLT’s GreenWorks! grants program, visit www.plt.org/resources/greenworks-grants

Photo 1: A boy spreads mulch.
Photo 2: High school students in Maryland improve their school’s outdoor classroom.
Photo 3: A teacher shows students in Pennsylvania how to tap a maple tree for sap that they then turned into maple syrup.
Photo 4: A young girl waters a plant she has just planted to attract Monarch butterflies to her school in West Virginia. 

Lessons Learned in a Closed-Loop System

students in catfish poolDead catfish. Electrical power failures. Not everything went exactly as hoped for Kris Galoci’s high school students at Grand Traverse Academy (GTA), a charter school in Traverse City, Michigan.

Yet according to her and her students, the setbacks in the closed-loop aquaponics system used in their project-based science class are part of the learning process. The system itself consists of a water tank inside a domed greenhouse in which fish and plants lead a beneficial co-existence. Galoci inherited the system when another teacher left GTA.

“I wanted to go beyond building and maintaining the system to create a substantial, rigorous curriculum,” Galoci said. She did this by introducing an entrepreneurial element to the class, letting students work their way out of the inevitable technical problems that arose, and using the system to discuss larger environmental issues.

Students as Entrepreneurs

students teaching studentsStudents in different grades can enroll in her environmental studies course, with older students taking on leadership roles. In addition to working on the system together, small groups design and develop projects using the system. For example, 11th grader Andrew Lasko built a vertical growing wall and flood drain system as a way to minimize the environmental footprint.

Galoci arranges for the students to present their ideas to business and community partners. “They have to convince ‘investors’ that their design can solve a problem, such as providing food or minimizing water usage,” Galoci said. “I bring in a business side to the class—that environmental solutions can bring value to the economy.” The “investors” are given play-money and make decisions about which ideas they find most valuable. The class then develops some of the winning ideas further. 

Galoci suggested that the student pages What Makes Up an Environmental Issue? and Analyzing the Issue from PLT’s secondary module Exploring Environmental Issues: Focus on Forests can help students prepare presentations about an environmental issue of their choice.

Ada Takacs, Michigan PLT coordinator, has listened to the GTA student pitches several times, and says she always comes away impressed. “It is amazing to see how the students mature from one year to the next, and see how their ideas, their demeanor, and their speaking skills grow,” she said. 

In 2014, PLT held its annual international conference in Traverse City. Takacs noted that GTA students (as well as younger students from Mill Creek Elementary School) made well-received presentations at the conference to educators, resource managers, national PLT leaders, and others. Through a grant from the Albert I. Pierce Foundation, a grant from the national PLT program, Forest Stewardship Initiative funds, and other support, Michigan PLT has provided support to GTA, Mill Creek, and other schools throughout the state for environmental education, particularly related to outdoor learning. 

Dealing with Setbacks

students building“Kids like project-based learning, but it has its challenges,” Galoci acknowledged. A typical 50-minute class period can present time-management issues, and she said her students often spend parts of their lunch periods or after school in the greenhouse.

Then there are issues like dead fish, such as when the electrical power went out for an extended period or when an automatic fish-feeding system failed.

“It all turns into a learning experience,” Galoci said. Recalling a small fish kill that occurred earlier in the year, she said, “I could have said, ‘here’s what happened, here’s how to fix it.’ But I decided to be hands-off and let them figure it out.” She also brought in the fact that while the dead fish were a disappointment for the class, “we discussed people who count on farming for their livelihood.”

Her students appreciate what they learn from this approach. “I learned that you have to think of every bad situation and try to fix it before the system has a problem,” said Lasko, commenting on his vertical systems. “Also I learned that taking my time and doing things the right way is the best way, and not taking shortcuts.”

Ella Bush, another student, applied lessons learned from dissecting a salmon to analyzing why the catfish died. “We lost some of our fish, and we had to discover what was wrong with them. By dissecting the salmon, I had a better understanding of what was going on in the [cat]fish system,” she said.

“The students come up with criteria that their systems should meet,” Galoci said. “Then usually, it’s design, build, back to the drawing board. The trial-and-error aspect is huge.” 

Extending the Learning

Beginning in 2015-2016, the aquaponics project became part of a course entitled Environmental Sustainability Engineering. Students used the greenhouse to grow algae for biofuels, for example, and move beyond food issues. “I want them to walk away from the class with the realization that we have a finite number of resources,” Galoci said. She said students are working toward zero-waste on the school campus through recycling, composting, and other measures.

Notes on Closed-Loop Aquaponics, Large and Small

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, aquaponics is a “hybrid food growing technology that combines aquaculture (growing fish) and hydroponics (growing veggies in non-soil media and nutrient-laden water).”

At Grand Traverse Academy, teacher Kris Galoci explained, a water tank stocked with catfish takes up about half of the ground space in a domed greenhouse on the school campus. They stock the tank with catfish. Students have experimented with different vegetables but have found most success with leafy greens, tomatoes, and peppers.

“The water passively heats during the day, and releases the heat during the night,” she said. “Fish waste in the water—which is converted by bacteria, so bacteria play a critical role—is converted into a usable form by the plants. The fish waste ultimately becomes fertilizer for plants. Cleaned water is returned back to the fish tank. We are producing food with the fish and also with the plants.”

Galoci noted schools that do not have the space or equipment for such a large system can adapt the system. “It can be done on a small scale inside a classroom, with a fish tank and a few plants,” she suggested.

Photos courtesy of Grand Traverse Academy.

School Garden Teaches Lessons on Composting and Water Conservation

planting fava beansAfter two years in the making, the sustainable school garden at Ladera Vista Junior High is in full swing.

One of the features of the sustainable garden and waste diversion program is vermicomposting. Students collect cafeteria waste and add it to a special bin where it is digested by worms. The worms’ “castings” create rich, organic compost to fertilize the vegetables the students grow in the school garden. 

The garden is made possible through GreenWorks grant and a partnership with U-ACRE (Urban Agriculture Community-based Research Experience). U-ARCE is a program through the university that partners undergraduate students with local community groups to improve urban food systems through research.

The older students use PLT activities and lessons with the younger students to connect the school garden with learning inside the classroom.

The program has benefits for students at the junior high school as well as the university. Ladera Vista now has a hands-on teaching tool – the school garden – and has become a GreenSchool. Undergraduate students participating in the program (called U-ARCE Mentors) also gain valuable research experience.

Sara Johnson, Program Director for U-ARCE, collaborated with Ladera Vista’s principal, teachers, and enthusiastic students to bring this project to life. The sustainable school garden project has yielded a rich harvest not only of home-grown vegetables, but also increased knowledge of potential food choices, and experiential learning opportunities assoicated with each of the PLT GreenSchools! Investigations.

 

Integrating PLT activities into the classroom

school garden

U-ACRE Mentors trained alongside Ladera Vista teachers in a PLT workshop to gain the necessary skills to work with the junior high students. They used PLT activities like “Pass the Plants, Please” and PLT’s GreenSchools! Investigations to present tutorials in the garden for the students twice a week.

“The Project Learning Tree curriculum has been instrumental in placing our work into an environmental education framework and connecting experiential learning opportunities to the Common Core,” said U-ARCE mentor Jose Gonzalez.  “In conjunction with PLT activities, students also learn about major environmental issues like climate change, drought, pollution, and waste and how they are specifically impacting California.” 

 

Learning about water conservation

“The lessons incorporated by PLT and the hands on experience in the garden have helped enforce the ideas that we wish to get across to students,” said U-ACRE mentor Cynthia Chavez. “These lessons are not only about plants, but also larger sustainability issues.” For example, students conducted PLT’s GreenSchools! Water Investigation to better understand how their school uses water and ways that water use could be improved. Within the garden, students learned about and used different methods of irrigation to see the implications each one had. 

“When students harvest produce from the garden it is washed in a sink that allows for the collection and recycling of excess water,” said U-ACRE Mentor Andrew Shensky. “Measuring the amount of water used to wash a few vegetables is often eye opening to students and gives them an understanding of how much water is used during everyday activities. Although students were familiar with drought, many were unfamiliar with the steps that can be taken to reduce their impact and the water investigation helped give students a well-rounded understanding of an environmental issue that is critical to the region they live in.”

 

Additional benefits from the school garden

In addition to teaching important science concepts to the younger students and research skills to their university counterparts, the U-ACRE project has helped reduce food waste and its related environmental impacts, which include methane emissions and water contamination. 

Vermicomposting also has increased the productivity of the Ladera Vista gardens. The partners are even exploring the potential for Ladera Vista to generate revenue by selling worm castings to organic gardeners interested in improving their soil without the use of commercial fertilizers. 

“We all have a challenge of making sure our students graduate, are employable and are promotable,” Johnson says of U-ACRE’s partnership with Ladera Vista. “That means we have to teach at the highest level and ensure that students can apply and assess information, not just memorize it.  PLT offers the kind of experiential learning that allows students to learn and teach at the highest level.”

 

Start your own vermicomposting project

earthworms in hand

Consider turning your cafeteria scraps into nutrient-rich mulch for gardens. Vermicomposting is a variation of traditional composting that utilizes worms to convert organic waste into fertilizer.

The fertilizer produced through this process, also known as “worm castings” or “vermicast,” have several benefits over commercially available mulch and fertilizers: The castings contain higher concentrations of nutrients, and mucus from the worms helps garden soil retain its moisture.

Red wiggler worms are most commonly used.  They can process their own weight in food scraps every day provided they are well fed and cared for.

The worms’ diet has to be carefully monitored.  They can only eat fruits and vegetables, bread and napkins; no fatty foods, dairy, or meat. 

Would you like to start a vermicomposting project at your school or in your community?  Apply for a GreenWorks! grant from PLT

From Food Desert to Food Forest

Furr High School Tree Planting Houston GreenBeltThe 11 elementary, middle, and high schools located in the East End of Houston, Texas, serve some of the poorest, most at-risk students in the Houston Independent School District. Like many urban areas, Houston’s East End is a “food desert,” where fresh, affordable produce is hard to find, while unhealthy foods from convenience stores and fast food restaurants are widely available. The combination of urban pollution and unhealthy foods have led to an epidemic of diabetes, obesity, and associated illnesses in the East End.

Through a youth-led “Green Ambassador” program rooted in the environmental education curriculum of Project Learning Tree (PLT), students from East End schools are aiming to change their neighborhood, the broader Houston community, and the world for the better.

Their goal: to transform their community from a food desert to a food forest that can supply the East End’s more than 100,000 residents with fresh, natural foods while also providing nourishment and shelter for wildlife and pollinators.

They’re doing it by planting one fruit tree and one community garden at a time, linking their schools and neighborhoods to form a Houston East End Greenbelt.

From Food Desert to Food Forest

Emerson Houston Green Belt AmbassadorEmerson Hernandez, a student at Furr High School, joined the school’s PLT GreenSchools’ Green Team in ninth grade. The program sparked a passion to work with his classmates and other participating GreenSchools to transform his Houston community into a thriving green corridor. “Through PLT you’re empowering people to take action, to do something for their neighborhood. And while you’re doing it, you’re learning all kinds of other things—math, social studies, history, science, and writing,” says Hernandez.

To date, Hernandez, his classmates, and teachers have planted more than 200 trees all over the East End of Houston, created and tended more than 200 vegetable garden beds in the community, and raised approximately 3,000 pounds of collard greens, sweet potatoes, and other vegetables that have been donated to area food banks.

“Emerson is such a phenomenal young leader,” says Tamberly Conway, who serves as Partnerships, Diversity and Inclusion Specialist at the U.S. Forest Service, which partners with PLT GreenSchools in Texas and nationwide. “He can speak to adults and peers alike. He’s been an incredible role model, not just for fellow students but also for adults. His passion and love shine through.”

students with woodsy owl

A Network of Schools and Community Partners

Creating the East End Greenbelt is a big undertaking, but with the support of numerous partners,the vision is becoming a reality. In addition to PLT and the U.S. Forest Service, the students’ partners include the Latino Legacy program of the Friends of National Forests and Grasslands in Texas, the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation, and the Arbor Day Foundation’s “Nature Explore” program.

Two elementary schools, three middle schools, and two high schools are participating in the project. Of these, Lantrip Elementary is an environmental education magnet school and is a natural fit for the PLT curriculum, while the Furr High School’s Green Institute is focused on preparing students for careers in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and environmental communications.

The Green Ambassador Model: “Youth Leading Youth”

The high school students serve as stewards, teachers, and mentors to the elementary and middle school students. “Emerson exemplifies the kind of student leadership that the PLT GreenSchools program is trying to promote,” Conway notes. “GreenSchools provides students with opportunities that will help them on their pathway to higher education, careers, or simply as conservation leaders. I’ve seen this program change people’s lives.”

David Salazar and Juan Elizondo are agriculture instructors at Furr HS. They are both former high school classmates from the East End who returned to their community to teach. “We started noticing that most teachers don’t live in the community, so afterschool programs couldn’t get going because teachers sometimes live two hours away and need to get home after school,” says Salazar. “Our high school students stepped in as Green Ambassadors to fill the need for afterschool programs. The model is of youth leading youth, with students teaching each other how to learn and how to think.”

“The fact that this program is entirely youth-led makes it really interesting to other students,” says Elizondo.

Houston GreenBelt Student Leaders

Green Ambassadors—20 of them have been trained since the program began three years ago—are themselves at-risk high school and college students, who are gaining leadership skills and confidence through their role as teachers and mentors to younger students, and as community and national spokespeople for the PLT GreenSchools! program. These Green Ambassadors are some of the first high school students to obtain professional training and certification through PLT in early childhood and PreK- 8 environmental outdoor education, according to Salazar.

The program has been well received by school administrators. Magdalena Strickland, the Principal at Lantrip Elementary, is thrilled to have the Green Ambassadors come to her school to use PLT, because it makes her school more marketable to students and parents who want to be part of its environment-focused program,” Salazar notes.

Environmental Justice

Cruz Houston Green Belt AmbassadorA group of eight Green Ambassadors and their youth and adult leaders were invited to Washington, D.C., to talk about their work at the National Environmental Justice Conference. One of them, Luis Cruz, told conference attendees how being a PLT Green Ambassador had changed his life. 

“I really wanted to quit high school before I joined PLT in my freshman year,” explains Cruz, a senior at Furr HS. “I wasn’t fluent in English. I had failed five classes. When I first joined the program, and now as a leader, I realize that I had to push through the struggles and challenges. The PLT program has changed my life in so many ways. I have gone from a person who didn’t speak or write English very well, to actually designing a curriculum on pollinators and writing grants for other schools. PLT and being a Green Ambassador gave me a chance to prove that I could do things.”

Cruz and the other Green Ambassadors understand that what they are doing is critical to the East End community. “Our parents are suffering from diabetes, cancer, and all kinds of illnesses,” Cruz notes. “We have all these fast-food restaurants that are the only choice. Fresh foods have to come from far away. We’re creating green spaces and encouraging others to create their own gardens and grow their own food.” 

The students’ work on the East End Greenbelt “is what environmental justice is all about,” says his teacher, Juan Elizondo. “Environmental justice requires fair and equal access to fresh natural foods. That’s what our Green Ambassadors are trying to achieve.”  

Green Program Tips from David Salazar and Juan Elizondo

  • Choose a facilitator with high energy and passion. If you have that, the students will follow your lead.
  • Give students the ability to be leaders. Give them responsibility. You have to give them the ownership of their own future. Give them the autonomy to be in charge of this movement and set the stage for their younger peers.
  • Be resourceful—you can’t take something and create it out of nothing. Pull in partners. Bring in everyone and use everyone’s energy. Know the resources that are already on the ground.
  • Be mindful that programs like this take some time to grow, just like a plant. Teachers and the school are the soil, the students are our crop. We need to provide all the nutrients for the plant to grow and be healthy and strong. 
  • Encourage administrators to be committed, engaged and patient. They’ll see a lot of great things happen, but they won’t happen immediately. Over time they will see the results they’re looking for.

Student Videos

Hear from the students and teachers who transformed the food desert into a food forest.

– “Fruits of the Houston East End Greenbelt” 

– Furr HS and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, “Lockwood Nature Garden” 

Student Sustainability Group Leads Reforestation Effort

“Students for Sustainability” (SFS) are working to reduce the carbon footprint of their school and community at Port Townsend High School (PTHS) in Washington State. In a relatively short amount of time, they’ve already taken many important steps toward sustainability, including:

  • Reducing cafeteria waste by switching to reusable dishes and utensils, saving an estimated $10,000 per year,
  • Improving community and school recycling programs by raising funding for new bins,
  • Instituting a ride-sharing program to get more students to carpool, and
  • Leading a massive reforestation effort to improve local habitat.

 

Meet the Students for Sustainability

Since June 2012, SFS has operated as a student-led club. Two PTHS science educators serve as mentors for the group, letting the students decide on and direct projects. What brings them all together is their collective passion for reducing the effects of global climate change and their drive to take positive, strategic action to improve the environment.

Planting an Entire Forest, One Tree at a Time

In 2013, SFS leaders identified carbon sequestration through planting trees as a way to mitigate the effects of climate change. They offered to help reforest two local and critical habitats, the Irondale Springs and Tarboo Creek watersheds. Both sites are within 25 miles of Port Townsend High School. 

After learning about the state of these watersheds, SFS students toured the areas. Their goal was to improve the habitat for wildlife and water quality in the area. By completing this project, they would be able to offset the carbon footprint of each member of the SFS club until they reach age 50.

According to their calculations, if they planted 3,000 trees, the reforested lands would sequester approximately 3 million tons of carbon dioxide over the next 40 years, and 15 million tons over the lifespan of the trees.

As SFS began planning their reforestation efforts, they partnered with the Jefferson Land Trust and the Northwest Watershed Institute. They also applied for and were awarded a PLT GreenWorks! grant to fund part of the project. 

Restoring Irondale Springs:

restoring irondale

Over 100 years ago Irondale Springs was cleared for industrial use due to its proximity to the old Irondale Iron and Steel Plant. After the plant closed for good in 1919, the industry and prosperity of the area declined. Nature slowly began to reclaim Irondale Springs and the surrounding area, but it was predominately blackberry bushes and other invasive plants that took over. 

In 2011, Irondale Springs was donated to the Jefferson Land Trust to permanently preserve the site as a natural area to protect wildlife and water quality. When it was donated, this important conservation easement was in dire need of support and rehabilitation. However, the steep slopes and extremely muddy conditions made it difficult to traverse. Not deterred by the conditions, SFS club members offered to steward the land.

With the funding from PLT, SFS was able to purchase 500 trees for Irondale Springs. After students removed invasive plants and trash, they planted Douglas fir, hemlock, and red cedar.

“The students felt a great sense of accomplishment in reforesting a critical piece of habitat.  They learned how to plant a variety of native trees, being careful not to cause problems to ensure a high survival rate,” said Laura Tucker, advisor to the Students for Sustainability. 

Restoring Tarboo Creek:

Prior to being cleared and drained to create farmland and pasture, Tarboo Creek provided some of the most prolific habitat for salmon in the Pacific Northwest. Beginning in 2007, the Northwest Watershed Institute (NWI), the organization currently managing the property, has been restoring the once meandering creek and tributaries as well as creating new salmon habitat. NWI now holds annual Plant-a-Thons, inviting students from five local schools to plant native trees and shrubs to revitalize the watershed.

In 2014, SFS members served as Crew Leaders for the NWI Plant-a-Thons, helping approximately 125 students from Kindergarten through 8th grade plant 2,500 trees. Club members guided teams of 8 to 10, teaching them how to properly plant the trees and ensure teams had all necessary tools and materials.

Plant-a-thon 2014 Students for Sustainability

In February 2015, SFS joined NWI and other area schools again for this year’s Plant-a-Thon. Together, they planted another 3,500 trees around Tarboo Creek. 

…If you’re keeping score, that’s 6,500 trees and counting!

EPA Certification Students for SustainabilityRecognizing Excellence 

The Jefferson Land Trust was so impressed by the students’ commitment to reforesting the area that they granted perpetual stewardship of Irondale Springs to SFS.

Ewan Shortess, President of SFS, stated, “This chance to make a significant difference in our local community was an incredible opportunity for all of us.  We felt like what we did really mattered.  The Land Trust didn’t have the manpower or the funds to restore the property properly and we came in and transformed the habitat.  No student group had done this before.  

It was a really amazing experience, including working in the difficult terrain and pouring rain, fighting through the overgrowth, and removing trash.  We were thrilled to be the last element in the equation and did something tangible that made a difference.”

The Environmental Protection Agency awarded the Students for Sustainability a Presidents Environmental Youth Award (Region 10) for their work throughout the 2013-14 school year. This award is given to youth groups that promote environmental stewardship, awareness of natural resources, and community involvement. SFS’s award included the students’ tireless efforts to reforest the Irondale Springs and Tarboo Creek watersheds.

 

Resources


Want to form your own student-led green team and take action like “Students for Sustainability”?

Tennessee Elementary School is a Green Powerhouse

students recycling

With just 380 students in grades Pre-K through 4, Lipscomb Academy Elementary School (LAES) in Nashville is small. But when it comes to being green, this PLT GreenSchool and award-winning Department of Education Green Ribbon School (2013) is mighty. 

Together, LAES teachers and students are doing more things to green their school and their community than many other, much larger schools. In the process, this private school has become a “green beacon” in the community, using PLT activities to become a leader in energy conservation, recycling, and hands-on outdoor learning. PLT is a key component of the school’s green curriculum, thanks to four PLT-certified teachers and a program coordinator trained as a PLT workshop facilitator. 

“We use a whole lot of different PLT activities both in our Green Team meetings and in our regular science labs,” says Ginger Reasonover, the school’s science coordinator, who is charged with teaching ‘hands-on’ science to all LAES students. “All the students in the school benefit from PLT-trained teachers like me, because we use those activities all across our program,” she notes. 
 
“Our school has been recognized at the state and national level for our environmental efforts, presented at several state environmental conferences, and has built such a reputation that we often host other schools who are trying to build a green school program,” Reasonover says. 

Recycling statistics Recycling Champs

Among LAES’ most notable accomplishments is a school- and community-wide recycling program that has kept an eye-popping volume of trash out of Tennessee’s landfills. These very young kids are recycling champs!  In 2014, they collected and recycled more than 44,000 plastic bottles and aluminum cans, 32,500 milk cartons, 7,250 juice pouches, thousands of plastic bags, and several tons of paper and cardboard that would otherwise have ended up in a landfill. 

In addition, Lipscomb Academy students host an annual collection of household hazardous waste in conjunction with America Recycles Day. In 2014, this event yielded more than 700 fluorescent lights and bulbs, 12,500 batteries, 45,000 pounds of e-waste, 200 cell phones, and 250 ink cartridges. Working with the Nashville Metropolitan Police Department, the students also collected more than 144 pounds of prescription medication by encouraging the public to bring unwanted and unused pills to the event for safe disposal. “When you think about the weight of an individual pill, that’s a whole lot of prescription medication that didn’t end up in our drinking water supply,” Reasonover says.

A Stewardship Ethic

Reasonover shares responsibility for the school’s 18-member Green Team with kindergarten teacher Becky Collins, also a PLT-trained teacher. “Both Becky and I have a desire to  help our students develop as good stewards of the Earth, with an appreciation of the outdoors and an understanding that as people we are totally connected to nature, which is a source of our energy and our life,” she explains. “We want them to understand that every decision they make has an impact, positive or negative, on the environment.”

Lipscomb students release tagged monarch butterflyNothing is a better symbol of this interconnectedness than monarch butterflies, which spend time in Tennessee before wintering in high-altitude forests of Mexico. “We’ve developed a school butterfly garden of host plants and nectar plants, planted milkweed—the food plant monarch caterpillars depend on for survival, and shared milkweed seeds with other community members,” says kindergarten teacher and Green Team liaison Becky Collins. “We rear as many caterpillars as we can every year and tag the butterflies that emerge using tags provided by Monarch Watch.”
 
Collins’ kindergarteners track “their” butterflies’ migration to Mexico and back. “In the last 10 years, we’ve had six of our tagged monarchs show up in the wintering grounds in Mexico,” she reports. “The kids get really excited. Instead of being afraid of bees, butterflies, and ants and other ‘creepy crawlies,’ these little ones have developed a real appreciation that these butterflies are marvelous creatures with an important place in the web of life.”

This year, LAES students used their recycling prowess to help kids in another far corner of the world. They collected enough cans and bottles to raise the $1,500 they needed to purchase a biogas machine for a school in Kenya. The machine uses animal manure heated with sunlight to produce methane for cooking fuel, saving the Kenyan school $100 a month in fuel costs. Now, LAES students are busy collecting aluminum cans so they can buy a milk cow. “With a cow, the kids in Kenya will have milk to drink—AND fuel for the biogas machine. The kids really get the connections and understand what’s sustainable,” says Collins, who supervises the effort.

A GreenWorks! Grant to Restore a Degraded Stream

students checking stream flow

In 2014, LAES applied for and received a $1,000 PLT GreenWorks! grant to help restore a degraded stream that runs through the school property. “This whole project started because our little bitty students came to us and asked why there weren’t any tadpoles or bugs or dragonflies in our stream,” reports Collins. 

After learning of the youngest students’ concerns, the LAES Green Team sampled the stream’s water and measured its temperature, oxygen saturation, salinity, and pH. “Their research told us that the creek was way too warm to sustain life. In addition, the amount of chlorinated water that was coming into the stream was unreal,” Reasonover says. “It took a long time for our local officials to find and fix the leak that was causing the problem.  But now, we’re beginning to see little bubbles coming up out of the streambed to indicate there’s something alive down there, and some plants have been coming back, too.” 

To help restore the environment beside the stream, students and parents are using funds from the PLT GreenWorks! grant to plant native grasses, trees and shrubs to provide a food supply for birds.  “We’ve done a lot of planting already, and when we get through we’ll have between 75 and 100 different native species along our creek,” Reasonover reports.

Starting Young

“At a very early age, our students understand that they have the ability to make a difference in the world around them,” explains Reasonover. “They understand ecological connections between the needs of butterflies, other creatures, and people. In the process, they become better citizens, with appreciation for their responsibility in the natural world.”

 

*All images are courtesy of Lipscomb Academy*

Image 1: Lipscomb students recycling.

Image 2: Lipscomb Academy’s recyling statistics in 2014. Students diverted thousands of pounds of waste from landfills!

Image 3: Lipscomb students releasing tagged monarch butterfly.

Image 4: Students checking the stream flow with a red boat.

Wetland Warriors: Arming Kids with Knowledge to Help Protect a Disappearing Treasure

Students examining the wetlandsThe dragonflies zipped around us and the indigo buntings sang as we hiked back to the prairie at Estel Wenrick Wetlands Nature Preserve in Springfield, Ohio, to prepare to install the bat houses.

The kids were excited to see their hard work come to fruition. Previously, nine kids had spent two summer mornings building and painting bat houses in the park’s old barn. 

On this July morning, I could not keep up with the kids as they ran to the bat house location, constantly looking at everything along the way. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Biologist, Donnie Knight, Jr., and our Operations Manager, Chris Crowley, had each pair of kids help attach the houses to the posts.

When we put up that first post and two houses, the kids couldn’t believe how high it was and that they were the ones that had built those houses. They were ready for the first big brown bat to take up residence. I had to explain to them that it would be a while! Two of the local newspapers were there to cover the story which meant even more to them. 

Grant helps fund youth outdoors education 

A PLT GreenWorks! grant helped launch this after-school outdoors educational program in April in Clark County, Ohio for children 7 to 12 years old. Children are learning about biodiversity and the ecology of their local wetland and prairie, and they installed nesting boxes for bats, kestrels and wood ducks. We use several PLT activities, such as “Planet Diversity”, “Charting Diversity”, “Invasive Species”, “Adopt a Tree”, “Trees as Habitats”, and “Birds and Worms” to teach children about species diversity and adaptations.

“I learned bats like to live in groups,” said Trevor, age nine. “We learned the bat houses needed to be by the water. The bat houses have several layers so they can be together. The bat houses are painted for warmth.”

Once that first post went in, Donnie and I took the kids around the prairie to look at the variety of plants that grew there. We spotted pearl crescent and wood nymph butterflies, and waxwings and barn swallows. One kid in particular hoped to catch a glimpse of the beaver that lives in the creek. And as with each time at the prairie, the red-winged blackbirds were there to “serenade” us. 

More learning opportunities in the wetlands

Students with teacher learning in the wetlandsSince that day, the kids also helped install wood duck boxes at the wetlands and along Spangler Creek at the edge of the preserve, thanks to donations from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. A wood duck even showed up to check out the new habitat. 

The kids have hiked in the wetlands, spotting a Cooper’s hawk and blue-gray gnatcatcher. They’ve walked the prairie and discovered crayfish abodes, a great blue heron rookery and snakes hiding in the grass. They also had the opportunity to explore our deciduous forest and lake where they learned about the Louisiana water thrush and saw a painted turtle getting ready to lay eggs. 

They went on a frog night hike, led by a Wittenberg University professor, and learned all about frog sounds and behavior. They also helped another professor weigh and measure a box turtle for a five-year study being conducted in the park. 

“I really liked Frog Night,” said Sarah. “We played games to learn what different frogs sound like before we hiked. I also liked learning about the different plants like the rattle snake master, Virginia creeper, and all the other kinds. It was also fun to hike in the prairie, see a beaver dam, and also see lots of snakes! The whole experience has been a blast!”

 

Getting children back into the outdoors

Each time I saw the kids get excited about some new discovery, it confirmed how important it is for kids to get outside; to explore what is in their own “backyards.” The one thing I learned from the kids is that they don’t need to be guided on what to look for. Just stand back and let it happen. When they are outdoors and unplugged they can appreciate all that nature has to offer. Then they will also want to protect it. 

The Wetland Warriors kids have come to mean a lot to us. The Clark County Park District will continue this program into the next year with the hopes of attracting even more kids. We would like to put bluebird boxes up in the park, go for a nature bike ride on one of our trails, and continue to hike and explore our wetlands and prairie.

Want to implement a similar project? Apply for a PLT GreenWorks! grant to fund a service-learning project at your school or in your community.

Technical High School Students Present Business-Savvy Recommendations

Clean Trades Summit First PrizeCreativity, humor, knowledge, and a strong commitment to making their schools greener were all on display when teams of students from five of Connecticut’s technical high schools presented their findings from Project Learning Tree’s  GreenSchools Investigations to hundreds of other students and a panel of school and business officials at a “Clean Trades Summit” at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Connecticut, in May 2014.

Who knew that going green could be so much fun?

For its presentation, the Green Team from New Britain’s E. C. Goodwin Tech created the following hilarious video where two students (Vincent DeMatteo & Agustin Cruz) dressed in sunglasses and fedoras stole the show—and took home the Summit’s first prize—as actors playing the roles of misguided crime bosses discussing their extreme measures to force others to recycle and reduce water and energy use. Supporting actors (team members Salem Ahmed, Yahya Kassem, Mike Ortiz, and Khaled Alwisha) added humor to the team’s very serious conservation findings.

With roughly a quarter of a million square feet of shop and classroom space, exterior walls that are largely uninsulated, and an uninsulated 150,000-square-foot roof, current energy costs at Goodwin Tech are extremely high. Electricity alone costs nearly $41,000 a month; it costs $100,800 a month—$139 an hour—to heat the school, and hot water costs more than $7,000 a year.

“I presented this to my class as a learning opportunity. I wanted to make sure that these kids knew about the implications of energy use to the environment and to jobs,” says Stanley Kulak, an instructor in Goodwin Tech’s electrical department. “PLT helped us understand the dollar factor—that wow, we spend half a million dollars on energy! Our goal was to figure out where all that energy was going.”

Humorous Tips with a Serious Message

Goodwin Tech Video

The Goodwin Tech Green Team found that it could save their school some serious money by doing things differently. Among the team’s recommendations (laced with humorous commentary from the two “crime bosses”) were:

  • Collect rainwater for outdoor watering to conserve potable water. (“We could have been mixing our cement shoes with rainwater.”)
  • Change outdoor lighting from metal halide lights with a life expectancy of just two to three years, to energy-efficient LED lights expected to last 22 years.
  • Switch to single-stream recycling. This simple change, with everything collected together in one recycling bin, adds plastic to the materials already recycled at the school, eliminates the need for one trash dumpster, and can be done at no additional cost—but with far less waste.
  • Install timers on Goodwin Tech’s hot water boilers, turn exhaust fans off, lower thermostat settings, maintain equipment, and add insulation to the school’s roof and exterior walls.

Presentations Showcase Student Creativity and Critical Thinking

Students from Abbott Tech in Danbury earned second-place honors at the Summit for their business-savvy recommendations of ways to improve their school’s green footprint. In addition to offering money-saving suggestions for reducing waste and trimming their school’s water and energy consumption, the school’s Green Team mounted a campaign to educate fellow students and their families about conservation. “We took PLT a step further with a lunchtime fair with handouts, posters, and demonstrations about how students and their families could save energy at home by doing simple things and making small changes,” the team told the panel of judges.

The Green Team from Milford’s Platt Tech presented their findings and recommendations in the form of a newscast, with student Michael Gendreau at the “Breaking News” anchor desk, and other members of the team reporting live from the school’s highways on the team’s findings. One student tells his audience that the school’s inefficient light bulbs are “wasting energy like there’s no tomorrow.” Switching to more efficient LED bulbs will save the school $2,640 a month, he reports.

A joint presentation by students from Norwich Tech and Groton’s Ella T. Grasso Tech took the form of a “Jeopardy” game show, with host “Mr. Eco” posing tough questions to a panel of four students showing off their knowledge as “Mr. Air,” “Mr. H2O,” “Mr. Energy,” and “Ms. Waste.” Like real Jeopardy contestants, each student had a signal button connected to a flashing CFL bulb to indicate they knew the answer.

“I’d like to see more kids involved in PLT,” says Abbott Tech’s Eric Sawyer, a science teacher and head of the school’s Related Education Department. “The students that participated had a good time. They weren’t just going through the motions; they were always asking good questions whenever I saw them in the hall or at lunch.”

PLT and Partnerships: A Winning Combination

The summit capped the first year of a two-year Clean Trades pilot program for construction trade students at five technical high schools: E.C. Goodwin (New Britain), Norwich, Ella T. Grasso (Groton), Platt (Milford), and Henry Abbott (Danbury).

The schools that participated in the Clean Trades Summit are part of the 17-school Connecticut Technical High School System (CT Tech). Throughout the school year, students alternate nine-day cycles of academics and work experience, either in school shops or local businesses. Teams of students from each school’s plumbing, electrical, carpentry, and HVAC departments conducted the PLT Investigations—no small feat for students with only half the classroom time of an academic high school.

“We only have 92 days with the students to teach the same curriculum that a teacher at a regular high school has 180 days to teach,” says Eric Sawyer of Abbott Tech. “Adding the PLT curriculum did put some extra stress on the teachers, but they rose to the challenge and pulled together to get it done.”

The Connecticut Forest and Park Association, which administers PLT in Connecticut, provided educator training, workshops, and GreenSchools curriculum materials to the schools. PLT’s business and government partners in the program include Energize Connecticut, which funds the Clean Trades program, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Connecticut Light & Power, United Illuminating, CT Tech, and the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, which organized the Summit.

Lori Paradis Brant, Education Director of the Connecticut Forest and Park Association and PLT’s Connecticut state coordinator, notes that the partnership aspect of the Clean Trades program has been especially valuable. “Throughout the school year, employees of Siemans and our other business partners went out to the schools, did facility tours and talked with students about what they do when they do their own energy audits, and helped them grasp ‘real world’ applications of what they were doing. It really helped students make the connection to potential career options,” she says.

A panel of energy experts from Connecticut Light & Power, United Illuminating, Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority, Coca-Cola, and the University of New Haven judged each presentation at the Summit and ranked the proposed solutions.

Video

“PLT helped us find a lot of different ways that we could change the global footprint of our school building,” says instructor Brian Charron of Norwich Tech. “When it was all over my students were pleased to see ways that they can make things better, not just in school but in their own homes.”

Watch the Students’ Videos:

Goodwin Tech presentation (First Place)

Abbott Tech presentation

Platt Tech presentation

Joint presentation by Norwich Tech and Grasso Tech

A Very Green(e) School Challenges Students to “Learn Naturally”

Greene School Green TeamThe Greene School has a final “e” in the name because of its location near the village of Greene, Rhode Island (named for colonial leader Nathanial Greene). But the fact is that the independent charter high school is not only Greene, it’s also….green.

A registered PLT GreenSchool, Greene was designated a Green Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. (In 2014 alone, nine schools and one school district registered as PLT GreenSchools were so honored.)

When they visited Washington, DC, to accept the award, five members of the Greene community sat down with PLT to talk about their school and some of its ideas that might apply elsewhere.  They included Amy Pratt, founder and board president; Head of School Deanna Duncan; science teachers Brendan Haggerty and Lara Haggerty; and student Katie Smith.

The 170-student school is affiliated with Expeditionary Learning, which emphasizes active, collaborative education. In keeping with the school’s mission statement to “explore the interdependence of human and natural systems,” Greene students are often outdoors, and an opportunity to share or present what they have learned is an important part of every course.

“I was skeptical at first,” admitted Smith, now in her senior year. “But Greene has put me in a better place with my future, career paths, and understanding my connection to the world.”

A Focus on Sustainability and Community

The Greene School has developed many innovative ways to meet state standards, including the following.

  • Greene School Year End HikeField Work: “We are always looking for ways to tap into local experts and get out into the community,” said Brendan Haggerty. For example, students visited locations related to fishing and other New England industries and created a digital museum based on their research.

    Duncan stressed, “We call it field work, not field trips,” as students are learning in everything they do outside the school building. Even during a subway ride in New York City, she noted, 11th graders recorded observations and collected data.

  • Real-World Issues: Energy, civil rights, and waste are just a few of the issues that students study in science, social studies, literature, and other classes throughout their four years. “In ninth grade, students are doing energy audits of the [school] building to make it more green,” Lara Haggerty cited as an example. She also noted Expeditionary Learning can be multidisciplinary. “We study war and identity in biology,” she said.
  • Crew: Crews of 10 to 15 students participate together in service projects, fitness activities, post-secondary planning, and other activities, based on the concept that they are “crew members” and not just “passengers” at the school.
  • Wilderness and One-Week Intensives: The calendar is set up for several immersion experiences. In the fall, students go on a several-day wilderness trip; in the higher grades, they have increasing responsibility for the trip’s planning and leadership. In addition, two one-week “intensives” are structured in which students delve into a topic or get more concentrated support in academic or personal management skills. 

Going for Green

Last year, the board of directors asked the school staff to apply for Green Ribbon status. “We were in the midst of our charter renewal process, which is pretty extensive, so I was a little reluctant,” admitted Duncan. When she talked with Brendan Haggerty about it, he suggested students draft the application as a one-week intensive.

Students formed teams to compile and draft information that related to Green Ribbon’s three pillars: reduced environmental impact and costs; improved health and wellness; and effective environmental and sustainability education. “It was near the beginning of the school year and we didn’t know each other very well,” said Smith, a member of the group. “But we helped each other a lot. We made phone calls ourselves, like grown-ups. We asked each other when we were stuck before we asked the teacher. 

“The award was great, but we also learned a lot about what we could do for the school,” she added. 

Tips from the Greene Community 

Not every school can have the flexibility that characterizes The Greene School. However, here are a few ideas of how to take some of their ideas to a different school environment:

From teachers Lara Haggerty and Brendan Haggerty:

  • Every community, large or small, has some problem to solve. Start looking local to develop case studies.
  • There’s always the obstacle of not enough time. But the return on investment of spending the time to find local experts is worth it.

From Head of School Deanna Duncan:

  • Make the work relevant to push kids to do high-quality work. They have to learn not just to hand something in, but to re-do and revise if they need to. 

From Board of Directors President Amy Pratt:

  • Students are part of the community. We can help them and they can help us. We have to work with them early, not tuck them away into a school building.

From student Katie Smith:

  • The Greene School is a lot about working together. Students learn we have a strong voice and can make a difference.

Green-Infused Curriculum Wins National Recognition for High School

High school students and worm compost bins
Students check their worm compost bins.

Not many schools can claim that they infuse their entire curriculum with the concepts and investigations of Project Learning Tree and the PLT GreenSchools program. But that’s exactly the case with Renaissance High School, an alternative school serving students in grades 9 through 12 in Clarkston, Michigan. The school’s entire academic program is infused with green, with the goal of making its students “responsible citizens, stewards of the Earth, and knowledgeable about the environmental challenges they will face as tomorrow’s leaders,” according to Principal Billie Pambid.

Not only is Renaissance the first high school in Michigan to be designated a Certified PLT GreenSchool, but the school also earned a prestigious national Green Ribbon School designation from the U.S. Department of Education.

“Having worked for years at various schools in either Principal or curriculum roles, I was acquainted with PLT, and loved everything about it,” says Kathy Yeloushan, a retired educator who returned to school as a curriculum consultant at Renaissance. “When I came here, I decided to get involved again with PLT, and learned about the GreenSchools program. It seemed like a perfect fit for Renaissance. Billie’s vision for the school was to infuse sustainability throughout the curriculum. PLT GreenSchools gave us a way to do that.”

All of the math and science teachers at Renaissance have been trained in PLT, but incorporating environmental sustainability into the curriculum doesn’t stop with math and science courses. “We have incorporated the environment into who we are and what we believe in as a whole school,” says Principal Pambid.

School Site Investigation

Using data from their investigations, students solicited help from district grounds staff and members of the community to develop a “bioswale” of salt- and drought-tolerant native plants to reduce the amount of runoff from pavement into the stormwater drainage system. The bioswale area became an outdoor classroom to study native flora and fauna, measure project outcomes, and resolve unexpected problems.

Picnic TablesThe picnic tables for the outdoor learning lab were designed by the school’s geometry students, who also conducted research on ergonomic design to assure that the tables would be comfortable for the students who used them. A PLT GreenWorks! grant provided funding for the picnic table materials.

Renaissance students grow organic tomatoes, peppers, and lettuce for consumption in the school’s cafeteria and collect data on their gardens’ productivity and plant health. They have cultivated a working worm farm to enrich soil used to enrich plants around the school building. Produce is grown in both traditional soil-based gardens and vertical hydroponic gardens, and statistics students collected data to compare the productivity of the two growing methods to test the hypothesis that hydroponic gardens are more productive. A Grand Rapids company, Venntis, turned to Renaissance students to collect data on plants grown with an experimental LED light the company has developed for hydroponic greenhouses.

Energy Investigation

As a result of Renaissance students’ work, the school’s greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced by 51 percent, and non-transportation energy use has been cut in half. Energy-saving activities earned the school EPA EnergyStar awards every year.

Ten Renaissance science teachers and students have received training on use and development of solar panels. The school’s conceptual physics students are developing a solar charging station to offset energy used by indoor growing lights used to raise lettuce and other vegetables for the school cafeteria.

Water Investigation

Located near the Great Lakes, which supply 20 percent of the world’s fresh water, water issues are a centerpiece of the Renaissance HS curriculum. The school’s faculty has designed a semester where every class is taught through the green lens and the theme of water. For example, civics class are taught by examining laws, conflicts, and government surrounding the use and regulation of water. English students write research papers based on water-themed lessons in other classes. Students are encouraged to investigate water-related jobs and gain information to make informed decisions regarding water in the future.

Waste and Recycling Investigation

Renaissance has an ongoing recycling program for paper, plastic, printer cartridges, aluminum, glass, and cardboard. With a GreenWorks! grant from Project Learning Tree, the school purchased visible, easy-to-use recycling bins for students and community. The recycling program is carried out by students from a post-high-school program that provides opportunities for young people with special needs. “We share a building with this special ed program, and they take care of collecting all the things we recycle,” says Pambid.

Teacher Tips

Getting Started

Tips from Principal Billie Pambid:

“If our students are going to be the stewards of saving our planet, they need to know about all the issues,” Pambid notes.

  • Give it time. This kind of program can’t happen in a year.
  • You have to have a dedicated person to coordinate a program like this. That’s what Kathy Yeloushan has done for us.
  • Go slow. Start with one teacher partnership and expand from there, building on what you’ve learned.
  • Involve the kids. Let them decide what they want to learn.
  • Don’t give up.

Tips from curriculum developer Kathy Yeloushan:

To make the curriculum locally relevant, Renaissance has built a number of courses around the challenges facing the Great Lakes. “Living in Michigan we’re surrounded by 20 percent of the world’s fresh water,” notes curriculum specialist Yeloushan.  “I want our citizens to care about it, and protect it, and to use it for the benefit of everyone in the state. So we use a team teaching approach to infuse water into the whole curriculum.”

An example is an ecology course that focuses on the 10 major threats affecting Lake Michigan, including invasive species. As a final project, students are required to develop a children’s book based on one invasive species. The book must explain the problem and its causes, possible future effects of the problem, what is being done to address the issue, the laws that apply, and what individuals can do to help.

  • Rethink how you teach and be willing to tell your students that you don’t know the answer. Work with your students to discover what you don’t know.
  • Understand that kids are very engaged. When it’s a good lesson, they’re willing to fail, and try again.
  • Understand that failure is not a big deal. It’s just a learning process.