Program will help teachers foster students’ leadership skills, critical thinking and environmental literacy; and provide a Student Innovation Fund for projects that improve schools’ environmental performance.
Texas-based nonprofit EcoRise and Humanscale — maker of high-performance ergonomic products that improve the health and comfort of work life — have joined forces to give conventional, public education in the US a much-needed reboot by bringing a free eco-literacy program to 60 educators across Boston, MA; Dallas, TX; New Jersey and New York.
The partnership will provide 60 K–12 teachers with professional development, curricula and resources focused on sustainability, innovation and social entrepreneurship — at no cost to the teachers, schools or their districts. Participating teachers will learn how to develop authentic learning experiences while fostering students’ leadership skills, critical thinking and environmental literacy — with a goal to enlighten and inform up to 3,000 students.
EcoRise began in one Austin, Texas high school in 2008 — with a mission to inspire a new generation of leaders who will design a more sustainable future for all. Over the years, EcoRise has successfully transitioned to a train-the-teacher model; today, the program is used in 3,200 K–12 classrooms across the US and can be easily accessed virtually for remote learning while school closures remain in effect during the COVID-19 pandemic.
EcoRise encourages students to tackle real-world challenges in their communities. Through the curricula — which focuses on enhancing STEM education, introducing students to careers in sustainability, and helping them develop 21st-century skills — students conduct an “eco-audit” of their school’s environmental performance in energy, waste, water, food, public spaces, air quality or transportation.
For its part, Humanscale will expand the Student Innovation fund, which underwrites classroom micro-grants for data-driven projects that reduce a school’s environmental footprint, to an additional 18 student teams during the 2020–2021 school year. The company’s Sustainability Ambassadors will also mentor students to provide career exposure and help with project implementation. Humanscale joins a growing coalition of EcoRise supporters including Salesforce, MetLife Foundation, Target and more.
“Humanscale is committed to working towards a net-positive impact on the environment, and we believe it’s important to foster the knowledge and enthusiasm of the next generation,” says Jane Abernethy, Chief Sustainability Officer at Humanscale. “We are honored to partner in this effort with EcoRise and join a network of other passionate partners that share these values.”