VEEP was presented with a Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence last Thursday, April 28, at the State House in Montpelier. The award recognizes VEEP’s contribution to energy literacy in Vermont schools and communities, which has expanded dramatically in the last three years.
“It is great to have this recognition that the work we are doing around the state is making a difference in the communities we reach,” says Cara Robechek, VEEP’s executive director. “We are now working with about a third of the schools in Vermont, and hope to be able to work with even more schools in the coming year.”
VEEP brings hands-on, interactive workshops directly into classrooms, making energy a core part of science curricula for students in kindergarten through high school. These workshops — on subjects like climate change, renewable energy, efficiency, and weatherization — encourage students to think like scientists, solving hands-on engineering problems and reflecting on their observations and experience.
VEEP also offers education and support for teachers, including curricula, kits of educational materials, and in-depth trainings to help educators develop hands-on science units and align their lessons with the Next Generation Science Standards. “We are particularly excited about our expanding professional development work with teachers,” says Robechek, “including our upcoming summer institute on Climate and Energy Engagement in June at Lake Morey Resort.”
The staff at VEEP believe that the path to environmental protection is education. By providing exemplary teaching and learning methods about energy, VEEP can empower students with knowledge and paths to action to reduce energy use. This deeper understanding changes the attitudes and activities of young Vermonters, changes that can last their whole lives. Today’s students will become the decision-making adults who will help Vermont meet its goal of being 90% powered by renewable energy by 2050, a milestone in stopping climate change.
The Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence is an annual award program that recognizes resource conservation, environmental protection, pollution prevention, and sustainability efforts taken by Vermonters.