Protectors" Takes Off
It has been a great year for the "e"
inc. "Planet Protectors" program,
which brings interactive lessons in
ocean biodiversity or global warming
to children in after-school programs
around the city. In 2005, we began
with three sites; this fall, we already
have 13 on board, in communities
ranging from Chinatown, Dorchester,
Mattapan, Charlestown, and Mission
Hill in Boston to East Cambridge and
Kendall Square across the Charles.
Students in the Global Warming course at Dorchester's Holland School model
In addition, many of our sites have
chosen to participate financially in
the program, effectively becoming
partners as they contribute some
portion to our fee, and allowing us to
leverage our grant dollars. This has
opened the way for us to expand the
program to new sites.
Another difference from last year is
that directed action is front and center
from the first lesson. Students on our
teams begin by making a group pledge
to take action in their schools to help
protect the environment. For example,
second-graders learning about ocean
biodiversity at the Stone School in
have become protectors of their storm drains by teaching others to keep it clear
of debris. Older students studying global warming at the Neighborhood House
Charter School have become energy monitors, going room to room to help remind
other students and teachers to turn off appliances and lights when not in use.
After carrying out their group pledges, students go a step further, filling
a classroom wall with pledges from family and friends who, in turn, have made
a commitment to take action.
actions could be anything from starting to recycle to monitoring and lowering
their homes' heat use. We ask staff and students to spend 5-10 minutes every
day on these projects so that their commitment is not confined to the time spent
with "e" inc. in the classroom, but also extended across their daily experiences.
Do you know of a school that may be interested in bringing an "e" inc. course
to its after-school program? If so, please contact Dr. Ricky Stern at 617-761-8434
for more information.
Learning Room Update
As we reported in the previous issue, we are working hard to bring The
Learning Room to the Greater Boston area. For those not familiar with
The Learning Room, this is a new resource that will invite community members-classroom
students on weekdays and families on weekends-to explore issues of sustainability
and learn about concrete ways to lessen their ecological "footprints" on the
Since the last "e" Update, we have come up with a program plan and, with
the help of an architect, begun to sketch the room's physical layout. Around
the outside walls, visitors will explore the concept of systems, looking at
the earth as a series of revolving cycles and balancing acts where matter is
continuously re-formed and reused. There will be manipulation stations on
topics like renewable energy, population growth, weather systems, and the
cycling of elements through soil, water, and air. There will be opportunities to
observe and record data on living organisms in their habitats or make items out
of recyclable materials. In addition, at the center of The Learning Room will
be three experiment stations where visitors can test concepts they have just
learned. Finally, we plan to have a small amphitheater for demonstrations that
will help bring the ideas of The Learning Room to life.
In keeping with "e" inc.'s mission to inspire action on environmental
issues, our goal for The Learning Room is that once its visitors have learned
about the scientific principles behind sustainability, they will go back to
their classrooms or homes and plan an action to reduce their fossil fuel use,
such as beginning a recycling program, avoiding over-packaged products, or other
steps that they feel contribute to a more sustainable world.
Keep an eye on these pages for more updates as we move toward our planned
"e" inc. Participates in BELL Foundation's Pilot Summer Program
We are thrilled that the BELL
Foundation chose to include
the "e" inc. Ocean Biodiversity course
as an afternoon enrichment offering
in its pilot 2006 summer program for
boys. Every afternoon for six weeks,
40 Boston-area boys learned about the
wonderful varieties of marine habitats
and life forms. They also learned
how to protect the water sources
in their own area, through ongoing
activities such as building clay models
of the ocean floor, identifying and
observing live fish, and caring for
aquaria. In addition to bringing us
into their summer program, the BELL
Foundation has also become a new
after-school partner of "e" inc. We're excited to be at the Holland School in
Dorchester, teaching Global Warming and having the BELL children join us in
our mission to empower kids to take environmental action!
Thank you to our new
All of us at "e" inc. extend a
warm "thank you" to the most
recent companies and organizations
to sign on as partners with us in
2006-2007: State Street Bank, JP
Morgan Chase Investments, the Linda
Zucker Memorial Fund, the Clipper
Ship Foundation, and the Polaroid
Foundation. Your support is central to
from the field
Dorchester, fourth-graders from the BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life)
after-school program at the JP Holland School are learning about weather and
climate as they study Global Warming. Gloria S. and 11 of her classmates record
the weather daily with their homemade weather station, and will soon be completing
an energy assessment of their school, encouraging their teachers and peers to
conserve resources by saving energy.
The first- and second-grade planet protectors at the Lucy Stone School in Dorchester
have spent the fall studying Ocean Biodiversity. (cont. below)
from the field
Students care for aquaria at the Samuel Mason School in Roxbury
They are vigilant about caring for the fish in their aquarium and have really
honed their scientific observation skills as a result. Their data sheet includes
records of fish behavior and appearance. They recently completed a lesson during
which they expanded their understanding of the physical properties of water
through a series of experiments culminating in a replication of Earth's early
ocean. Although it is a complex concept, the hands-on nature of the lesson allowed
genuine comprehension, proven by the presentation of "her ocean" by Shakyra:
"This little tub is the ocean- not now, but a long, long, long time ago. Before
people or anything else alive. The little bits of sparkle are the parts of life
and they can move around because water has space in it. One day there was a
'spark' (she claps her hands for effect) of energy and those bits of life stuck
together and that was the very first thing alive ever in the world. That's the
This group has also adopted the storm drain at the end of Regina Street. They
have accepted the responsibility of cleaning it up and teaching others why it
matters to the ocean that the storm drain not be used to dump trash. They spent
an afternoon with gloves and trash bags scouring the school yard and street,
picking up all the trash that would "hurt the sea creatures". At the end of
that class, I gave them a little pep talk to keep them excited to pick up trash
when I wasn't present. I applauded them for saving the sea animals from the
trash they picked up and asked, "Is our job done now?"
"If we don't pick up the trash and protect the animals, who will?"
"No one!" Then Kevaughn raised his hand and said, "When I grow up, I want it
to be my job to clean the streets." And he was met with a chorus of "Me too!".
Tips for reducing your electricity
In each issue of the "e" Update, we will focus on a different challenge and
the possible actions we can take to make a difference. We see this as a way
to use the newsletter as yet another source that can inspire involvement based
on the principles we teach in our programs. In this issue, we are looking at
ways to help reduce electricity use. Here are some options to consider in your
home or workplace (several are activities kids will love to do):
Monitor your electricity use by regularly checking your electrical meter and your electrical bills. As you do so,
keep track to see whether you can use less electricity this month than you did last month, and even less the following.
(Kids enjoy doing this activity.)
Plug household appliances into a surge protector. Electrical
appliances that are plugged into the wall can consume electricity even when
they're not turned on. By using the surge protector, when you go out, you
can just turn it off and quickly ensure that your appliances are not needlessly
Have your child make stickers, signs, or magnets and put them around
the house to remind your family members to turn off lights and appliances
when not in use and to turn down the thermostat at night and when no one is
home. On our website, www.e-action.us, you can download a sheet of magnet
templates to get kids started. These can be found on the "Action" page. All
your children need to do is print the file, color in the drawings, cut and
then glue the pieces onto magnet strips. Magnet strips can be found at most
office and craft stores.
If you have a microwave, use it instead of the conventional oven.
Microwaves consume about half as much energy.
Use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) wherever possible.
CFLs last up to 10 times longer than standard light bulbs, and they use much
less energy. They are often sold where regular light bulbs are sold. You can
also visit www. energystar.gov for a store locator for CFLs and other energy-saving
Check the windows and doors of your home for leaks. Seal
any leaks with caulk or weatherstripping to make your heating system more
efficient this winter.
Now all that's left to do is decide what to do with all the money you've saved
by being energy-efficient! (See below...)
Contribute to "e"!
We at "e" inc. are building a team of Founders, Program Sponsors,
and Friends. Working with "e" allows you to:
teach urban youth about the natural resources of our planet and how to protect
be a partner in helping families become activists for sustainable
neighborhoods and homes.
demonstrate that, indeed, there is a huge set of
long-range-thinking individuals who agree that lifetime "conservationists"
are imperative to achieving a viable world.
"e" is a 501c3 organization. Your
donation is tax deductible.
Yes, I would like to make a contribution toward
"e" inc.'s efforts to bring environmental awareness and action into classrooms
and homes. I would like to become a:
Sponsoring Member ($200)
Seed Team Member ($35)
Yes, I would like to be a sponsor
of "e" inc.'s Learning Room. I understand that sponsors will be listed on
a Founders' plaque in The Learning Room and receive special mentions in "e"
inc.'s newsletter and website. Enclosed is my check for $1,500.
Please mail this form with your check to:
"e" inc.-the environmental learning and action center
One Kendall Square
Cambridge, MA 02139
Amount enclosed: $__________
I would like to learn more about "e" inc. Please add me to your mailing list.
Instructions for filing an online donation
You can also make a secure online donation through our website, www.e-action.us. From the main page, click on Donate
to "e", which will bring you to a secure website hosted by Wainwright Bank's CommunityRoom.net. From Make a
Donation, go immediately to step 2. Fill out the form and click on Add Donation.
Thank you for your support!
© 2011 "e" inc. All Rights Reserved.