Summer break has come to a close for many students throughout the state and will end for others in the coming weeks. As students and parents settle into a new routine, there are many things that they can do to help improve air quality and traffic congestion such as taking the bus, carpooling and not idling in school carpool lanes. Through its Clean Air Schools programs, The Clean Air Campaign works with school communities across Georgia to take action for cleaner air through transportation.
Last year, more than 300 schools in 38 districts implemented Pool to School, Ride the Bus! For Clean Air and No-Idling programs to educate students, parents, teachers and staff about the things they can do to improve air quality on school grounds and in the community. This year, to further spark student involvement, that Clean Air Schools program is including additional tools and resources for students who want to take the lead on campus.
“Student involvement is paramount to the success of our programs,” said Gretchen Gigley, director of education for The Clean Air Campaign. “Having students engaged on air quality and transportation projects not only fosters a deeper educational experience and reinforces core student skills, but it also builds momentum for future community involvement. With more tools available this year, we are excited to see how Georgia students use them to effect change.”
Through a grant from the UPS Foundation, Clean Air Schools will promote student involvement through Get There Green, a program designed to educate high school students about green transportation planning in relation to air pollution and health. Through this program, high school students are given the length of the school year to develop a school-specific, transportation plan that will reduce vehicle trips to school. After a successful pilot program during the 2011-2012 school year, the program will be introduced in as many as 20 high schools in metro Atlanta this year. Registration is currently open for interested high schools.
“The rewards of the Get There Green program are well worth it when you see the dedication and commitment that the students have made to make a difference in their community,” said Jason Weinberger, a science and gifted education teacher at who oversaw the winning school’s program last year. “I was able to include the Get There Green competition as a performance based assessment for my AP Environmental Science (APES) students during the second semester of 2011-2012 school year, which allowed the students to observe growth and learning in data collection and analysis.”
Georgia schools or parents interested in joining the Clean Air Schools program can visit CleanAirCampaign.org/Schools.
For students ages 13-18 interested in air quality, The Clean Air Campaign developed OnAir, an online platform that rewards actions taken to reduce air pollution with points — or “AirCreds” — allowing students to compete with other users and see their accumulated impact over time. The site also includes a blog featuring regular posts by Georgia students.