41 Austin-area schools to receive Bright Green Future grants

41 Austin-area K-12 schools will be receiving grants to fund 45 sustainability projects that are expected to benefit 15,000 students, says the City of Austin.

The city's Office of Sustainability received 75 applications from 53 schools and selected projects from every city council district representing schools in Austin ISD and several private schools.

Each project will receive up to $3,000 to implement their project and the city says nearly half of the schools receiving a grant qualify for Title 1 funding, which include a larger percentage of students from low-income families. 

The selected projects will offer hands-on learning opportunities, make school campuses greener, and provide tangible benefits to surrounding neighborhoods, says the city. This year, nine schools will create spaces for outdoor learning.

The following projects were selected:

  • Outdoor learning spaces help students stay safe and healthy. In addition, research has shown that children who spend time outdoors are happier and perform better academically. At Blazier, Menchaca, Becker, Linder, Patton, Highland Park, and Rodriguez Elementary Schools, Bowie High School, ABH Community School, and the Harmony School of Excellence, students will connect with nature and breathe fresh air in outdoor classrooms.
  • Bicycle clubs improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve health by getting students out of cars and on bikes. This year’s clubs will teach students about bike safety and maintenance at Allison, Langford, Sanchez, Hart, Perez, Houston, Rodriquez, St. Elmo, Reilly, Harris, Oak Springs, Ortega, and Overton Elementary Schools.
  • Rain garden projects at Magnolia Montessori For All and Mills, Lee, Cunningham, Anderson Mills, Sunset Valley, and Grandview Hills Elementary Schools will help conserve water, provide education about native plants, and minimize soil erosion.
  • Growing vegetables in school gardens at Linder, Campbell, Zilker, and UT Elementary Schools, the Mendez STEM Academy, Bailey Middle School, Bowie High School, and the Liberal Arts and Science Academy will help students learn about healthy food options while reducing the carbon impact of transporting vegetables from farm to grocery store to table.
  • Barton Creek and Brentwood Elementary Schools, and St. Ignatius will plant and maintain a wildlife garden to provide habitat for various native pollinators and birds. An aviary at Govalle Elementary will help students understand the critical role bees play in our environment.
  • Students at Austin Discovery School, Alternative Learning Center, and Maplewood Elementary will create recycling and composting programs for students and their families.

Funding for the Bright Green Future Grants program is provided through a collaborative effort among six different city departments, including the Office of Sustainability, Austin Resource Recovery, Austin Transportation, Austin Water, Development Services Department's Urban Forestry Program and Watershed Protection.

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