Posts tagged ‘green building alliance’

January 6, 2014

David Sobel, the Father of Place-based Education, is Coming to Phipps!

by Melissa Harding

“What’s important is that children have an opportunity to bond with the natural world, to learn to love it, before being asked to heal its wounds.”
– David Sobel, Beyond Ecophobia: Reclaiming the Heart in Nature Education

You may not know the name David Sobel, but you are probably familiar with his work. The author of Place-Based Education and Beyond Ecophobia: Reclaiming the Heart in Nature Education, among other notable works, Sobel writes about the importance of outdoor learning, developmentally-appropriate environmental curriculum and place-based education. Long before Richard Louv wrote Last Child in the Woods and coined the phrase “nature deficit disorder”, David Sobel was writing and speaking about the importance of helping children connect to and love the natural world. He is often called “the father of place-based education” and his work has inspired countless other writers and educators over the last several decades to “reclaim the heart of nature education”.

As part of the Inspire Speaker Series, co-hosted by Green Building Alliance (GBA) and Phipps, David Sobel will be speaking at Phipps Conservatory the evening of January 16th at 5:30 pm on How Schools and Community Institutions Can Utilize the Surrounding Community to Enhance Education and Engage Our Youth. He will then be teaching the following day alongside GBA and Phipps staff in a workshop for school administrators on integrating these principles at their own schools, as part of the Green Ribbon Schools program.

All that aside, you may wondering what he means by “place-based education” or “developmentally-appropriate curriculum”. These two ideas are connected and form the base of Sobel’s writing. Sobel believes that we should be helping children to engage in the plants, animals and character of their own neighborhoods and regions. He defines place-based education as “the process of using the local community and environment as a starting point to teach concepts in language arts, mathematics, social studies, science and other subjects across the curriculum”. Rather than using a tropical plant to teach about flowers, why not using a native plant? Why not learn about landforms using local topography instead of pictures from a text book? Sobel writes that getting education back to a hands-on, real-world learning experience that uses examples from students’ own lives is the key to helping them develop stronger ties to the community and the environment. By getting kids out in the their neighborhoods and bringing the neighborhood and its leaders into the classroom, we can create a new generation of active and engaged citizens.

In relation to the idea of place-based education, Sobel also writes about teaching children topics that are appropriate to their age and development. In environmental education, there is a tendency to teach young children about great tragedies like rainforest destruction and global warming rather than about animals and plants they can see around their school. This doom and gloom approach to environmental education often creates a fear so great that it can turn into dissociation; children would rather be totally disconnected from the world than face its complex and frightening problems. In order to create engaged citizens who will eventually solve these problems, we need to start on a more basic level.

Creating an attitude of love and wonder towards the natural world in young children and encouraging exploration in middle years creates older children who are capable of taking action against problems rather than retreating from them. Sobel recommends three separate phases of education based on development and age; in early years, activities should center on enhancing the development of empathy with the natural world; in middle childhood, focus on exploration; in early adolescence, social action should take precedence. In this way, children build a foundation to care for the earth as well as learn about its problems in a way that does not overwhelm them.

These two connected ideas, teaching children in a developmentally appropriate way about their local, and eventually global, environments is a model for success. Sobel’s ideas and teachings have been widely implemented in both formal and non-formal education settings, creating a clear and real change in how children learn about the environment.

Read our recent post about Sobel’s latest article in Orion Magazine, Look, Don’t Touch: The Problem with Environmental Education. (And our Director of Science Education and Research, Molly Steinwald’s, photography was featured in the print edition–as well as the cover of his most recent edition of Beyond Ecophobia!)

If you are interested in learning more about how to apply Sobel’s ideas to your own life and work, join us at Phipps on January 16th, 5:30-8:30pm for our Inspire Speaker Series. Learn more and register online at Green Building Alliance. Refreshments will be provided.

The top image was provided by the Green Building Alliance and bottom image by Molly Steinwald.

March 14, 2013

March Inspire Speaker Series: Food for Big Thoughts

by Melissa Harding

iss_march_ritz

FOOD FOR BIG THOUGHTS: EAT & LIVE HEALTHY

“The physical and emotional health of an entire generation and the economic health and security of our nation is at stake.”
– First Lady Michelle Obama at the Let’s Move! launch, February, 2010

“Students shouldn’t have to leave their community to live, learn and earn in a better one.” Stephen Ritz

We have long anticipated this edition of our Inspire Speakers Series. It’s all about FOOD! That is, it’s about healthy food and healthy living in our homes, schools, businesses, and communities. Everyone – including parents, elected officials at all levels of government, schools, health care professionals, nonprofit and community-based organizations, and businesses – has a role to play in creating healthy and sustainable places by supporting access to affordable and nutritious food.

Access to healthy, affordable food in our schools: 95% of children attend school every day. Many children consume at least half of their daily calories at school. Food served at school may be the only food that many children eat regularly. More than 31 million children participate in the National School Lunch Program, and more than 12 million children participate in the School Breakfast Program. Serving healthy, nutritious food is more important than ever!

Access to healthy, affordable food in our communities: More than 23 million Americans, including 6.5 million children, live in low-income urban and rural neighborhoods that are considered “food deserts” – communities that are more than a mile away from a supermarket with limited access to affordable, nutritious food. A recent 2008 study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture showed that an estimated 49.1 million people, including 16.7 million children, lived in households that experienced food insecurity multiple times throughout the year.

National guest Stephen Ritz and his students have had a huge impact on their local community of the South Bronx, including:

  • Growing enough healthy, local produce to feed 450 South Bronx students
  • Funding and creating over 2,200 youth jobs with a living wage
  • Increasing school attendance for his students from 40% to 93%
  • Rooting the school’s green initiatives in literacy and common core standards in order to help all students graduate high school and be fully prepared to enter college and pursue post-secondary training

Stephen and his students will share their adventures and explain how we can make changes in the places where we live, work, learn and play. Check out his TED Talk to see what’s in store. And check out some photos of the Green Bronx Machine in action here. Learn more about Let’s Move! Pittsburgh, a collaborative of organizations, parents, and caregivers in southwestern Pennsylvania committed to leading children in our region toward a healthier future. Inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign to curb childhood obesity through raised awareness about the benefits of healthy foods, decreased screen time and increased physical activity for children, the collaboration led by Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens aims to put solutions to this national problem locally.

Learn more about the speakers at www.go-gba.org/inspirespeakersseries

WHEN: Thursday, March 14th from 5:30 – 8 p.m.

WHERE: Special Events Hall, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, One Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Registration Information:

  • GBA Member Fee: $25.00
  • Member of Partner Organization Fee (Phipps Conservatory or Tri-State Area School Study Council): $25.00
  • Non-member Fee: $45.00
  • Student Fee: $25.00

CLICK TO LEARN MORE AND REGISTER.

For group rates and scholarship information, please contact Jenna Cramer.

February 25, 2013

March Inspire Speaker Series: Food for Big Thoughts

by Melissa Harding

iss_march_ritz

FOOD FOR BIG THOUGHTS: EAT & LIVE HEALTHY

“The physical and emotional health of an entire generation and the economic health and security of our nation is at stake.”
– First Lady Michelle Obama at the Let’s Move! launch, February, 2010

“Students shouldn’t have to leave their community to live, learn and earn in a better one.” Stephen Ritz

We have long anticipated this edition of our Inspire Speakers Series. It’s all about FOOD! That is, it’s about healthy food and healthy living in our homes, schools, businesses, and communities. Everyone – including parents, elected officials at all levels of government, schools, health care professionals, nonprofit and community-based organizations, and businesses – has a role to play in creating healthy and sustainable places by supporting access to affordable and nutritious food.

Access to healthy, affordable food in our schools: 95% of children attend school every day. Many children consume at least half of their daily calories at school. Food served at school may be the only food that many children eat regularly. More than 31 million children participate in the National School Lunch Program, and more than 12 million children participate in the School Breakfast Program. Serving healthy, nutritious food is more important than ever!

Access to healthy, affordable food in our communities: More than 23 million Americans, including 6.5 million children, live in low-income urban and rural neighborhoods that are considered “food deserts” – communities that are more than a mile away from a supermarket with limited access to affordable, nutritious food. A recent 2008 study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture showed that an estimated 49.1 million people, including 16.7 million children, lived in households that experienced food insecurity multiple times throughout the year.

National guest Stephen Ritz and his students have had a huge impact on their local community of the South Bronx, including:

  • Growing enough healthy, local produce to feed 450 South Bronx students
  • Funding and creating over 2,200 youth jobs with a living wage
  • Increasing school attendance for his students from 40% to 93%
  • Rooting the school’s green initiatives in literacy and common core standards in order to help all students graduate high school and be fully prepared to enter college and pursue post-secondary training

Stephen and his students will share their adventures and explain how we can make changes in the places where we live, work, learn and play. Check out his TED Talk to see what’s in store. And check out some photos of the Green Bronx Machine in action here. Learn more about Let’s Move! Pittsburgh, a collaborative of organizations, parents, and caregivers in southwestern Pennsylvania committed to leading children in our region toward a healthier future. Inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign to curb childhood obesity through raised awareness about the benefits of healthy foods, decreased screen time and increased physical activity for children, the collaboration led by Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens aims to put solutions to this national problem locally.

Learn more about the speakers at www.go-gba.org/inspirespeakersseries

WHEN: Thursday, March 14th from 5:30 – 8 p.m.

WHERE: Special Events Hall, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, One Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Registration Information:

  • GBA Member Fee: $25.00
  • Member of Partner Organization Fee (Phipps Conservatory or Tri-State Area School Study Council): $25.00
  • Non-member Fee: $45.00
  • Student Fee: $25.00

CLICK TO LEARN MORE AND REGISTER.

For group rates and scholarship information, please contact Jenna Cramer.

February 6, 2013

February Inspire Speaker Series: Healthy Places and Indoor Air Quality

by Melissa Harding

inspire feb

GBA and Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens are excited to present the fifth session of the INSPIRE Speakers Series with national expert, Steve Ashkin, and local experts, Vivian Loftness and Erica Cochran!  

WHERE students learn matters. School buildings can enhance a student’s ability to learn by keeping them healthy, attentive and present. By improving indoor air quality, healthy and high performing schools can improve the health of students, faculty and staff.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, students in America miss approximately 14 million school days per year because of asthma. More than 65 percent of asthma cases among elementary school-age students could be prevented by controlling exposure to indoor environmental factors (according to the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine). Improved attendance affects a school’s financial bottom line due to federal funding that is linked to average daily attendance. According to the Department of Education, more than 20 percent of public schools report having unsatisfactory indoor air quality.  Carnegie Mellon University studies have shown that improved indoor air quality can have an average overall health improvement rate of 41 percent.

Join us on Valentine’s Day to talk about loving healthy learning spaces! The indoor environments in schools impact student and teacher health and productivity, as well as finances. The lecture will address:

  • The effects of building design, operations, and maintenance on student and teacher health and productivity
  • The business case for healthy indoor environments in schools
  • Easy low to no-cost steps schools can take to improve indoor air quality
  • New innovations in the fields of green cleaning and maintenance

We have an excellent lineup of national and local experts who will discuss how to create healthy indoor environments:

  • Vivian Loftness, FAIA, LEED AP, is a University Professor and former Head of the School of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University. She is an internationally renowned researcher, author and educator with over thirty years of focus on environmental design and sustainability, advanced building integration, climate and regionalism in architecture, and design for performance in the workplace of the future.
  • Steve Ashkin, known as the “father of green cleaning,” has been working in the cleaning industry since 1981 where he has held key technical and management positions for leading commercial and consumer products companies, and has worked on the issue of “green cleaning” since 1990.
  • Erica Cochran, Assoc. AIA, NOMA, LEED AP, is an Adjunct Assistant Professor and PhD Candidate at Carnegie Mellon University and an Architectural Designer. Erica’s doctoral research investigates the impact of school building and neighborhood physical and environmental characteristics on student and teacher health and performance.

 Learn more about the speakers at www.go-gba.org/inspirespeakersseries

 For the February lecture only, attendees can bring a guest or date for only $10 (GBA and Partner Organization Members) or $15 (Non-members).  We will also give away a few gift certificates to local eateries so you have a chance to enjoy Valentine’s Day dinner on us!

 WHEN: Thursday, February 14th from 5:30 – 8 p.m.

WHERE: Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, One Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

The event will be held in the new Center for Sustainable Landscapes building (learn more about one of the greenest buildings in the world!)

 Registration Information:

  • GBA Member Fee: $25.00
  • Member of Partner Organization Fee (Phipps Conservatory or Tri-State Area School Study Council): $25.00
  • Non-member Fee: $45.00
  • Student Fee: $25.00
  • Bring a Date or Guest! Select “Group Registration”:
    • Member of GBA or Partner Organizations: $35 for 2 Attendees
    • Non-members: $60 for 2 Attendees

 CLICK TO LEARN MORE AND REGISTER.

 For group rates and scholarship information, please contact Jenna Cramer.

January 18, 2013

Inspire Speaker Series: The Bertschi School and Phipps Conservatory on Uniting Communities for Sustainability

by Melissa Harding

bertschi 4

Last Thursday night, as part of the Inspire Speaker Series, green professionals from all over the city were treated to a wonderful series of talks on the importance of integrative design, as well as given a sneak peek at the new Center for Sustainable Landscapes. Inspire Speakers Richard Piacentini, Mark Beuhrer, Stacy Smedley and Chris Hellstern shared their experiences in working with the Living Building Challenge to create the CSL and the Bertschi School Living Science Wing.

After introducing the twenty principles of the Living Building Challenge, Beuhrer, Smedley and Hellstern shared how they used these principles as a basis to create the beautiful Bertschi School Living Building Science Wing for the Bertschi School in Seattle, Washington. The three design professionals compiled a collective of local green businesses to handle all aspects of design and pre-construction services for the school. Using the process of integrative design, all stakeholders participated in a series of design charrettes, allowing everyone to work together to create a united vision. In addition to the usual stakeholders, this process also included the students. Students wanted a wall that was always growing, a river running through the floor, a fountain, and composting toilets; they got all of that and more. The Living Building Science Wing is an innovative education space, designed to be part of the science curriculum. Changing with the seasons and always growing, this building is truly alive.

Speaking also of integrative design, Richard Piacentini described the design and construction process of the CSL. Additionally, he shared why Phipps decided to pursue the Living Building Challenge. Phipps values not only sustainability, but connecting people to the environment; Phipps desires to reach out to people of all ages and help them learn about and rediscover the natural world. Piacentini also spoke about the importance of walking the walk and taking action. Complete with both an indoor and an outdoor classroom, fixtures to support employee relations with the outdoors and an interactive green roof, the CSL is designed to connect all people to nature.

Join us at Phipps February 14, 5:30-8:30 p.m., when The Inspire Speaker series welcomes national guest Steve Ashkin, the Father of Green Cleaning, and local guests Vivian Loftness and Erica Cochran, Carnegie Mellon University sustainability researchers, to talk about healthy places and indoor air quality. To learn more and register, visit the Green Building Alliance website.

Check out the slide show below for more images from the evening!

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The above images are courtesy of the Green Building Alliance.

January 2, 2013

January Inspire Speaker Series: Pushing Boundaries with The Living Building Challenge

by Melissa Harding

isslogo

“It takes cooperation and collaboration to create a place where enthusiasm in education is celebrated and shared.”
– The Bertschi School

Join us January 10, 5:30-8:30 p.m. for the fourth session of the INSPIRE Speakers Series , which will feature guests from both the Bertschi School and Phipps Conservatory to talk about the Living Building Challenge. The Bertschi School, a preK-5 elementary school located in Seattle, Washington, is both the builder of the first LEED gold-certified building on an independent school campus in the Pacific NW and the first living building in Washington State, the Bertschi School Living Building Science Wing. Inspire Speaker guests include Bertschi School project team members Chris Hellstern, Stacey Smedley and Mark Beuhrer. Additionally, Phipps Executive Director, Richard Piancentini, will speak about the new Center for Sustainable Landscapes. GBA and Phipps are excited to host these accomplished guests to speak about the value of uniting entire communities for the purpose of sustainability through the Living Building Challenge.

The Bertschi School is a highly collaborative community that balances rigorous academics with kindness and social responsibility. Students actively take part in the community, learn from a strong interdisciplinary curriculum and benefit from innovative science, arts, physical education, and horticulture programs. The Bertschi School’s goal is to foster successful learners and engaged citizens.

 “At Bertschi, I don’t feel like I do anything alone, but I am confident to do things by myself.” – Bertschi student

This process of collaboration is also evident in the creation of the Living Building Science Wing. Inspired by the Living Building Challenge, design professionals formed the Restorative Design Collective in order to provide design and pre-construction services to the school pro bono. The task was daunting; the project team had to create a school that not only achieved net-zero energy and water usage, but would also be an interactive teaching tool for students. The solution was innovative; students worked with design professionals to brainstorm some of the building’s most unique features. One of these includes a river that runs through a channel in the concrete floor, showing the building’s rainwater harvesting system.

Another example of the power of local minds and materials is the Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL). The CSL, Phipps new education, research and administrative facility, is aiming to exceed even the Living Building Challenge in its quest to be one of the greenest buildings in the world. The CSL will generate all of its own energy with state-of-the art technologies such as solar photovoltaics, geothermal wells and a vertical axis wind turbine; treat and reuse all water captured on site; and feature a restorative landscape with many beautiful varieties of native plants. This was made possible through the use of an integrative design process in which the design team and stakeholders formulated ideas and figured out best practices before the building was off the ground. Using this approach, all parties were involved from the start and worked together to create innovative ideas.

Learn more about how the process of integrative design and community collaboration can create innovation in green buildings!

WHEN: Thursday, January 10th, from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
WHERE: Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, One Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Registration Information:
• GBA Member Fee: $25.00
• Member of Partner Organization Fee (Phipps Conservatory or Tri-State Area School Study Council): $25.00
Non-member Fee: $45.00
Student Fee: $25.00

Register HERE. Or for group rates and scholarship information, please contact Jenna Cramer.

The above image was provided by the Green Building Alliance.

December 6, 2012

David Orr, Environmental Leader and Author, Presenting at Phipps in the Inspire Speakers Series!

by Melissa Harding

David Orr“The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these qualities have little to do with success as we have defined it.” – David Orr, Earth in Mind

Join us for the third session of the INSPIRE Speakers Series with internationally renowned expert, David Orr, a scholar, teacher, writer, speaker, and entrepreneur who spans fields as diverse as environment and politics, environmental education, campus greening, green building, ecological design, and climate change!

GBA and Phipps are excited to host David Orr to speak about the value of integrating sustainability across the curriculum and engaging students with their local communities. As David explains in his book, Ecological Literacy, the words “environmental education” imply education about the environment, often in a separate course or two within formal school settings. However, all education is environmental education due to the interconnectedness of all things, and thus of all academic disciplines. To be effective, education must reflect the ecological patterns that connect us all, and not be confined to separate subject areas or within the walls of our formal school settings.

In this inspirational talk, David will discuss:

• The value of engaging the wider society in education;
• The roles of nongovernmental organizations, schools, colleges, universities as catalysts to a wider transformation of the culture and society;
• The importance of the educational environment, campus, and curriculum as reflections of ecological values and realities; and
• The goal of ecological literacy as the active cultivation of ecological intelligence, imagination, and competence.

David will share stories from Oberlin College, where students have gained specific capacities, practical skills, analytic abilities, and a commitment to civic engagement due to participation in multi-disciplinary courses and hands-on community projects to address problems of sustainability.

David W. Orr is the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics and Special Assistant to the President of Oberlin College. He is the recipient of six honorary degrees and other awards including The Millennium Leadership Award from Global Green, the Bioneers Award, the National Wildlife Federation Leadership Award, a Lyndhurst Prize acknowledging “persons of exceptional moral character, vision, and energy.” He is the author of seven books and co-editor of three others. His first book, Ecological Literacy (SUNY, 1992), was described as a “true classic” by Garrett Hardin. A second book, Earth in Mind (1994/2004) is praised by people as diverse as biologist E. O. Wilson and writer, poet, and farmer, Wendell Berry. Both are widely read and used in hundreds of colleges and universities. The Essential David Orr (Island Press, 2010) is a collection of his writings from 1985 to 2010.

Local Inspire Speaker, Molly Steinwald, Phipps’ own Director of Science Education and internationally-recognized photographer, will also give a photography lecture on using the arts and nearby nature, particularly in the built environment, for environmental education reform and youth empowerment.

For the December lecture only, guests of the Inspire Speakers Series will have a chance to explore Candlelight Evenings at Phipps! After you hear our amazing lecture from David Orr, stroll around the halls of Phipps and be enchanted by the Winter Flower Show & Winter Light Garden. You’ll be surrounded by live music, twinkling lights, and beautiful flowers! What better way to spend a cold winter evening? Phipps will remain open until 10 p.m. Don’t miss your opportunity to hear an amazing speaker and enjoy this special treat, all for one low price!

WHEN: Thursday, December 13th from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
WHERE: Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, One Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, PA 15213: The event will be held in the new Center for Sustainable Landscapes building (learn more about one of the greenest buildings in the world!)

Registration Information:
• GBA Member Fee: $25.00
• Member of Partner Organization Fee (Phipps Conservatory or Tri-State Area School Study Council): $25.00
• Non-member Fee: $45.00
• Student Fee: $25.00

Register HERE. Or for group rates and scholarship information, please contact Jenna Cramer.

We thank David Orr for offering his extensive knowledge on this topic, which was originally scheduled with David Sobel, who had to postpone his trip to Pittsburgh due to an unexpected conflict. David Sobel will be joining us in Pittsburgh in 2013. Stay posted for more information!

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