NEW YORK, Aug. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Science Foundation has awarded $1.08 million to Solar One, a New York City-based nonprofit environmental education organization, and its partner, MOUSE, a national nonprofit that empowers youth to learn and create with technology, to support a three-year pilot program called GreenTECH.
GreenTECH will build high school students' interest in renewable energy, sustainable design, and the green economy by challenging them to identify environmental opportunities in their school buildings and to research and recommend changes to make the buildings more energy efficient and sustainable -- a priority set by Mayor Bloomberg's office. GreenTECH students will also create green projects in their communities and online.
"The National Science Foundation's vote of confidence means a great deal to us, especially since it has such a highly competitive and scientifically rigorous funding process, and we are delighted to partner with MOUSE," said Chris Collins, Executive Director of Solar One. "The goal of GreenTECH is to blend our new Green Design Lab™ curriculum, which teaches students about things like the science of energy or building performance, with the incredible empowerment and computer literacy MOUSE give to students. Students will learn they can solve the environmental issues in their schools and neighborhoods, and come to believe that science and technology is really cool, and say – hey, I'd like to do that, I'd like to become a scientist or engineer who improves the environment," he said.
The new initiative integrates two highly effective existing programs: an advanced version of Solar One's Green Design Lab™, a curriculum that inspires students to green their school building while improving their environmental literacy and STEM skills; and MOUSE, a digital technology youth development program for "Squads" of students who manage and lead the Help Desk in their school.
"MOUSE is deeply committed to building our students' STEM literacies and developing pathways to apply their interests," stated Carole Wacey, Executive Director of MOUSE. "We are thrilled to be receiving this generous grant in partnership with Solar One and giving our students the opportunity to extend their digital media and technology expertise to impact the greening of their schools and communities."
GreenTECH will offer a range of projects that students can pursue together, such as performing a building energy audit, designing a solar roof or water conservation system, and planning rooftop gardens or hydroponic systems. This initiative will also create a MOUSE Squad Specialist Badge as a starter certification for young people interested in green technology. These certified squads will support the GreenTECH curriculum and student-led greening projects. These projects will create many opportunities for young people to gain expertise in technology, data collection and analysis, and sustainable solutions as they improve their STEM skills and prepare for higher education and the growing green economy.
"This is a critical time to prepare young people to lead innovation in their world and play a vital role in building a sustainable future," said Linda Roberts, Member, MOUSE Board of Directors, and Visiting Scholar, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
The pilot program will be implemented over three years, starting in October 2012, in four New York City public high schools, which include A. Philip Randolph High School, Manhattan, Bronx Design and Construction Academy, and Urban Assembly Institute for Math & Science for Young Women, Brooklyn. The schools were chosen for their diversity of population, size, and building type. GreenTECH will work directly with approximately 675 students, 30 teachers and 6 custodians and impact many more people who are a part of the schools and local communities. The aim of the program is to create an effective model that can then be used in urban high schools across the country.
Other partners in the GreenTECH program include the Wallenstein Collaborative for Urban Environmental Education at New York University, the New York City Department of Education, and Gaylen Moore Associates
About Solar One
Solar One, incorporated in 2004, is a 501(c)(3) not-for profit organization created to be New York City's first Green Energy, Arts, and Education Center. Solar One's mission is to empower people with the knowledge and resources to unleash and build sustainability in their communities. From thin film solar to rooftop gardens to efficient buildings, the organization is dedicated to developing innovative, complete and effective ways to encourage people to re-examine, through critical thinking and scientifically proven information, the ways we live and work in order to reduce our impact on the environment. Solar One seeks to set new standards on how to make our urban environment more sustainable, particularly in our hometown of New York City; to catalyze movements to reduce carbon emissions; to educate the public about innovative solutions to our environmental challenges; and to connect people from all walks of life to an array of new ways to address current energy, environmental and sustainability issues. This is all done in an engaging, intellectually honest and entertaining way that leaves people inspired and facilitates community-wide change.
MOUSE empowers underserved youth to learn, lead and create with technology, preparing them with skills essential for their academic and career success. Founded in New York City in 1997, MOUSE is a dynamic nonprofit organization having a positive and lasting impact on students in more than 375 locations in the United States, including in New York, California, Chicago and Texas, as well as a global presence in more than 50 countries. To learn more about MOUSE, visit http://www.mouse.org.