StopWaste at School


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STEM Service-Learning

The Region 4 STEM Service-Learning Consortium seeks to engage traditionally under represented youth in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math through service-learning projects that address environmental challenges.


Examples of STEM Service-Learning Contact Nate Ivy for more information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Interesting STEM Service-Learning Example

The example highlighted in this video showcases an interesting partnership between NASA and high school students in Fremont, viagra 100mg CA.  High school students help provide on the ground measurements and photo evidence of fault creep that NASA uses to calibrate and confirm satellite monitoring of earthquake faults. This project also incorporates technology in an interesting way as students photograph and upload photo evidence collected in the field.

What are your thoughts on engaging students in similar projects related to waste reduction?  How can students use technology to monitor waste and improve diversion?  Login to post your thoughts in the comments section below.

(Description of student work at about 4:30 in the video) 

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STEM Examples in SLWRP

The Service-Learning Waste Reduction Project presents many opportunities for schools to address environmental challenges throught the application of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.


Castlemont GardenCastlemont GardenEast Oakland's Green Pioneers at Leadership Public School on the Castlemont Campus are leading an effort to expand access to healthy food. In addition to advocacy and organization work attempting to bring a farmers' market to campus, students are using science and engineering in their own garden to improve yields in order to provide more fresh food to students and their families. Students have set up experimental plots to study differences in fungal resistance between hybrid and heirloom seeds. Community partners are working with students to design and build custom cold frames to extend the growing season from the garden's raised planter bed. As part of a community peace building effort, students are designing a large pond to promote reflection and scientific inquiry. One student is already working on a remote control robot submarine to help monitor the health of the pond. Students are working hard to live up to their motto: "Green is Good for Every Neighborhood." (More)

Cleaning the TidelineCleaning the TidelineScience scores at Wood Middle School in Alameda have risen dramatically since teachers began engaging students in environmental stewardship and study on campus, in the community, and at the beach. Students regularly participate in beach clean-up activities where the items they collect are meticulously catergoriezed and studied. Based on the data students collect, they initiate different projects to reduce the impact of marine debris on wildlife. For example, after discovering that most of the litter at the beach was plastic food packaging and noticing that healthier foods had less packaging, students organized a healthy eating campaign on campus. Now students are investigating persistent organic pollutants by collecting plastic nurdles for the international Pellet Watch project. Back on campus, students used data from an on-campus cafeteria waste audit and an understanding of global warming associated with anaerobic production of methane to advocate for and organize a food scrap diversion program on campus. (More)

In the midst of California's rolling blackouts in the mid-2000's, technology students at Irvington High School took on the challenge of reducing campus energy consumption. Students measured the energy use of all plug-in devices on campus and identified a variety of challenges. There were out of date appliances that were more expensive to operate than to purchase newer models with EnergyStar certification. Computers and peripherals were left on at all hours. Lights and ventilation were on even when students were not on campus. Using this data, students installed a program on the school's computer server to automatically shut down idle computers at night.They collected power strips and taught teachers and students how to use them to reduce "vampire" energy drain. Realizing that long term investment was needed to retire "energy hog" appliances and older computers, students organized e-waste collection fundraisers and used the proceeds to purchase energy efficient technology upgrades. By the end of the year, Irvington cut energy used by 33% and was recognized as a statewide Flex Your Power Winner by the Pacific Gas and Electric utility company. (More)

Students at Livermore High won a grant to build a portable recycling station in the gymnasium. The student grant winners worked with the Green Engineering Academy on campus to develop the design and specifications for the bin through a reverse engineering and modification process of existing systems. Once the engineering students complete the design, the plans will go to the ROP (Regional Occupational Program) where another set of students will build the stations.·(More)

SWANA Board Member Leads Zero Waste Session for Schools

Ruth Abbe, Vice President for HDR Engineering and international practice leader for Zero Waste Planning led a Zero Waste Planning Session for Schools for teachers and student leaders in the Service-Learning Waste Reduction Project. Ms. Abbe encouraged schools to move beyond recycling to consider all factors that lead to consumption and disposal choices at schools which can negatively impact the environment.  She highlighted the 4Rs hierarchy- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot- as a way to make decisions that reduce the amount of energy that is lost when we throw something "away."

Ms. Abbe also shared career path insights and green job information with attendees. She highlighted multiple points of entry for students interested in working for international engineering organizations and reminded the audience that all jobs can be green jobs, if the worker brings a viewpoint of sustainability to the job.

In her work with HDR Engineering Ms. Abbe consults with large businesses and cities as they develop zero waste plans.  She has advised the cities of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Austin in their waste reduction efforts.  In addition to her work at HDR, Ms. Abbe was on the Measure D committee that passed legislation calling for 75% diversion of Alameda County Waste, she served as the president of the Alameda County Source Reduction and Recycling Board, is a board member of SWANA's Gold Rush Chapter (The Solid Waste Association of North America), CAW (Californians Against Waste), Altamont Education Advisory Board, and NCRA (the Northern California Recycling Association)

Click here to view her overview of zero-waste planning for schools.

CalServe Funds Region 4 STEM Initiative

The California Department of Education awarded the Alameda County Office of Education $40,000 to establish a Regional STEM Service-Learning Consortium serving Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco and Solano Counties.

The creation of an environmentally focused Regional STEM Service-Learning Consortium will facilitate relationship building and coordination between and among existing SLWRP schools, SWANA (a professional organization for environmental engineers), locally funded Green California Partnership Academy Grantees, CalTeach (a UC Berkeley initiative to support high quality STEM instruction in urban schools). the East Bay Science Project, and California State University East Bay's National Science Foundation Integrated Middle School Science Project.

The grant seeks to engage traditionally under represented youth in STEM course work through service projects requiring the application of STEM skills.

Read the grant narrative here.