Spring is here, and soon gardens will grow! Today we're featuring a book review from a special guest blogger. Thanks to Lynn for this review! ---
review by Lynn Hyndman
Across our country, more and more children have the opportunity to step from their school doorstep into their own school garden. The beauty of gardens is that they captivate our senses, our mind, and our spirit -- not to mention the invigorating workout they provide our muscles and bones.
Our Generous Garden tells the real-life story of a school vegetable garden in the central Midwest that has enriched the lives of an entire school community in just these ways. Here children see nature at work firsthand, forge a deeper respect for the land and our connection to it, and are awed and surprised by the discoveries that await one at each turn in the garden.
Stroll through the garden with the students at this school and learn of their excitement in harvesting crops and the joy and satisfaction derived from contributing more than 900 pounds of vegetables to the local food bank. Experience their pleasure as they prepare garden fresh dishes for themselves and share a few of their recipes with you.
Perhaps you'll find inspiration for starting your own garden, recall the pleasures of a juicy tomato plucked from a garden on a hot day, or take more satisfaction from that next home cooked meal prepared with the help of your family.
What you're sure to recognize is the power of gardens to engage adults as well as children on many levels and their potential for growing and deepening relationships in a school community.
Today we have a guest blog by HSC volunteer Emily Kropp. Thanks to Emily for this great book review!
If you’ve been thinking that it’s time to start evaluating your carbon output, but you’re not sure where to start, the Low Carbon Diet: A 30-Day Program to Lose 5000 Pounds is the perfect tool for you. A user-friendly workbook designed to take you through the lifestyle adjustments and home-improvement projects to reduce your CO2 emissions by up to 5,000 pounds, The Low Carbon Diet features handy worksheets that help you calculate your CO2 reduction with each activity.
From reducing your weekly garbage waste through recycling, purchasing items with the least packaging, and requesting to be removed from direct mail lists, to unplugging all of your appliances when not in use to avoid home energy leaks, Section One – “Cool Lifestyle Practices” lists the sometimes surprising impact of simple changes of habit.
Section Two – “Cool Household Systems” takes on the common ways homes lose energy and ways to maximize your household energy efficiency. Did you know that replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs saves 100 pounds of CO2 annually per bulb? Facts like these helped me really understand the importance of making these changes and can be a powerful motivator.
In Section Three - “Empowering Others to Lose Unwanted Pounds,” there are instructions for helping children and youth adopt environmentally sustainable lifestyles through the use of a similar workbook geared towards a younger audience. All of the steps in the book can be easily transferred from the home to a school setting, and some - such as switching to a vegetarian, locally-grown diet, or replacing trips in the car with bicycling or walking - can be elements of a healthy lifestyle for kids.
The instructions are peppered with amusing cartoons, and author David Gershon conveys genuine enthusiasm that helps to build momentum and excitement. The action plans and checklists help to create a concrete sense of your carbon “footprint,” making this workbook a valuable resource for anyone looking to shed extra carbon pounds.
The 21st Century School Fund, Critical Exposure and Healthy Schools
Campaign are pleased to announce the release of the Through Your Lens
This publication brings together the vivid photos and poignant
stories of students and teachers across America to illustrate current school
conditions, how our system reached this point, and what is possible for
all students and teachers. Perhaps most important, it answers the
question, "How can we change this?"
You can view the book online,
download it or purchase a printed copy. Please take a moment to check
out the book, then remind your legislators that school facilities
photographers and Through Your Lens advocates will hand-deliver the
book to leaders on Capitol Hill this week and next week. Now, we need your help
reaching out to let Congressional leaders and staffers know just how
important the Through Your Lens message is to our nation’s
schoolchildren and educators.
Please send a letter asking your Senators and Representatives to make safe, healthy school buildings a priority for all students and teachers.
Thank you for helping show our elected leaders the often unseen reality of our nation’s school building conditions.
In another sign that green is indeed going mainstream, the bright yellow book Green Cleaning for Dummiesmade its debut this month at the annual ISSA conference for leaders in the cleaning and maintenance industry.
Green Cleaning for Dummies is co-authored by our friend Steve Ashkin, who also wrote The Quick & Easy Guide to Green Cleaning in Schools, a free resource developed and distributed by Healthy Schools Campaign. (Don't have the Guide? Order your copy here.) Steve's new book includes a prominent focus on green cleaning in schools and features HSC's Quick & Easy Guide as a resource.
Steve is described in the book as the "Father of Green Cleaning," and we couldn't agree more. He has more than 25 years experience in the cleaning industry and has spent the past 17 years advocating for environmentally preferable cleaning. For a sampling of his expertise, check out his Ask Steve column on our Green Clean Schools website, where he responds to questions about green cleaning programs, products and policies.
In addition to providing practical tips, Green Cleaning for Dummies discusses the connection between green cleaning and learning, which is something we here at HSC talk about all the time:
It's relatively easy to demonstrate the link between class size and student learning. The link between a clean, healthy facility and learning hasn’t been demonstrated to the public as effectively. However, studies have identified a connection between how a school is maintained and students' ability to learn. Society needs to understand this connection and assign it a proper value. … The positive impact improvements in cleaning practices can have on learning is dramatic.