Grants to Green – a program of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta – is transforming the nonprofit sector by encouraging nonprofits to renovate, expand or construct buildings that are energy and water efficient. The ultimate goal is to improve a nonprofit’s facility to minimize environmental impact and increase the cost-efficiency of operations, making the financial savings available to be put back into the nonprofit’s mission.
The SAE School applied for, and received, an Energy and Water Assessment from Grants to Green. Our Assessment Award was not a cash grant, rather, a service performed by Southface– an organization that conducts assessments for existing or planned facilities and recommends opportunities to optimize operations, particularly related to energy and water use.
This gardening and outdoor project is shaped around engaging fourth grade students in inquiry-based education. Fourth graders have an opportunity to learn how to design and maintain an outdoor garden. Speakers such as a Forest Service Soil Scientist discuss soil water relationships and water conservation measures with students. Students learn the components of soil and about how water flows through various soil types. Pollinators will be introduced. Additionally, students will research and learn about composting and other waste reduction approaches associated with gardening. Students will also explore various types of gardening irrigation systems and opportunities to use renewable resources as they implement this project. Finally, students will learn from a local pediatrician how gardening and practicing healthy eating will ultimately improve quality of life. During the various stages of the project, The SAE Students will document their journey and use social media and other technology to share their knowledge with their peers in underserved communities. Students will develop documentaries and digital presentations that reteach concepts learned from presentations on soil degradation, water harvesting or conservation, moisture retention, the importance of remaining active and the positive impact on health, academic achievement and weight management. They will engage Pre-K and other grade level students at The SAE School in side-by-side gardening and plant maintenance.