Barre Town seventh graders show off one of the 68 new efficient LED lighting fixtures they got to replace over 100 older fixtures. Photo courtesy Krista Battles.

We recently had the opportunity to write about our Green School Energy Challenge program for the Green Schools National Network. Here’s a teaser; click the link below to read the full article and learn about the great work being done by students around the state!

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Students across Vermont are not just learning about the global effects of climate change. They are taking that learning to the next step: action on the local level.

These students are leading school projects to install new energy-efficient lighting, weigh and track school waste, measure insulation, educate parents about the negative effects of idling, and create community public service announcements on saving energy. One school reduced its electricity bill by a remarkable 21% through conservation measures alone.

These students — along with their climate-conscious teachers — are participating in the Green School Energy Challenge, a program of the Vermont Energy Education Program (VEEP) that focuses on reducing energy use as a way to empower students, save money, and address climate change. More than 40 Vermont schools have taken the challenge since it began in 2011.

The challenge was recently redesigned to have a greater focus on professional development, with VEEP educators supporting teachers to lead their young climate activists in making real change over the school year. While VEEP’s focus is on teacher support, the action projects are primarily developed and led by students.

“It’s so easy for students to not feel like they have control over a lot of things,” said VEEP educator Mariah Keagy. “[The challenge] is a sweet spot where they actually get to exercise the power they have.”

Click here to read the full article on the Green Schools National Network website.