Thursday, January 28, 2010

Deer Creek Middle School Goes Green - An example for Challenge 20/20 Semester of Service


Deer Creek Middle School Green Team ( Details

It started as a Science Club, but for the last two years the team has concentrated efforts in recyling (paper, plastic and cans). They meet once a month for an hour after school on Wednesdays from 3:00 - 4:30.) They welcome a SKYPE conversation to present their finding and share their experience with the Casady Challenge 20/20 Green Team.

$20 memberships cover the cost of an eighth grade field trip at the end of the year. Movie field trips for sixth and seventh grades (Disney Earth last year, Disney Oceans, this year). The group has grown exponentiallialy in the last three years.

Green School Pilot Program Investigations:
Eighth Grade: Energy Audit-Used the tool kit. Completed Project Learning Tree handouts. Wish they have had more guidance on how to use the tools, but they read instructions and completed their audit.
Seventh Grade: Air Quality
Sixth Grade: Water Quality

Eight Grade Process
Ms. Kristy Vandorn ( and Ms. Bess Bridges ( with the Green Team 8th grade class finalizing their energy audit questionaires. The questionaires came from the Project Learning Tree website and were completed in two after school club periods.

After investigations were completed. The group discussed their findings and possible suggestions for improvement. Then, they completed, "individually" their action plan: Based on the information you found out from your investigation, what recommendations do you have for the school to reduce its energy use.. Individual forms were placed in their Green School Pilot Program Portfolio.

A fun teacher guided sharing time followed the written work. Some ideas were:
1. Leave windows open...not possible
2. Unplug electronics and power sources on non-working days and weekends...doable
3. Student energy patrols...unplugging the electronics with administrator approval..doable on non working days and weekends> Phanthom theory proven***
4. Turn off the lights when not in the library...making laminated signs for classrooms
5. Use lemons to power the school...creative...maybe not possible
6. See where heat scapes...fix areas...doable
7. Check air filters...change them more better quality filters...doable
8. Lights...are we using energy efficient light bulbs? doable...costly

Students made posters of their findings for their big group presentation. Students joined the other grades for grade presentations

Green School Pilot Program Presentations
Sixth Grade: % of waste and recyling at their school and % of food waste
Seveth Grade: Measured temperature, humidity, mold and water spots.
Eight Grade: Energy audit. Electrical appliances ON, OFF, Plugged, Unplugged!

After the presentations were finished, students placed their posters around school. The eighth grade made sure the posters were properly hanged and a very productive, fun, relevant and engaging meeting ended.

***Phanthom Energy Theory ( : Many of the electronic devices in your home stay on, even when they're "off." Chargers for cell phones, digital cameras, power tools and other gadgets draw energy even when they're not in use. Appliances like televisions, computer monitors and DVD players can also draw power whenever they're plugged into an outlet. All together, "phantom energy" use account for about 5 percent of an individual's home's electricity use.

You can take some simple steps to reduce the financial and environmental impact from these "vampire" appliances. Unplugging devices is the simplest way to solve the problem, but can be a hassle. Plugging a couple of your devices into a surge protector that can be clicked on and off can make things easier.

When you're shopping for a new device, check out this online database of products rated by their standby energy use from the Federal Energy Management Program at the U.S. Department of Energy. And devices that have the Energy Star label from the Environmental Protection Agency will use less energy when they're in or out of use.

How To Green Your Electricity:

To start "semester of service" Casady Challenge 20/20 received from Deer Creek
Green School Tool KitCasady School through Carmen Clay received from Ms. Kristy Vandorn and Ms. Bess Bridges the Green School Pilot Program Tool Kit to be used in the Casady Challenge 20/20 semester of service investigation. Challenge 20/20 students have chosen to ‘unofficially” follow the Pilot program guidelines for Casady’s Challenge 20/20 project this year along with awarness of carbon footprint and water conservation.

Teachers and students will decide how far they want to follow the guidelines provided by Project Learning Tree using the Green School Tool Kit to do an energy audit of a room, a building or the entire school.

1 Shower Flow Gauge
1 Lux and Light Meter
1 Weight Recycling Devise
1 Thermometer
11 Kill-A-Watt Meters
1 Infrared Thermother
1 Indoor Air Quality Monitor

Carmen Clay
Kristy Vandorn and Bess BridgesJanuary 27, 2010: Deer Creek Schools are finished with their energy audit.Paper with handwritten signatures available.

Project Learning Tree School InvestigationsMiddle School-High School!/Energy%20Middle%20&%20HS%204-24-09.pdf
Elementary – Draft!/Energy%20Elementary%204-24-09.pdf

Sunday, January 24, 2010

LEED and Challenge 20/20 Update and 2009 Reflection

Thanks to Beth, lab technician at OCU, Blue Thumb Service-learning teacher at OCU, and Okllahoma Green School Committee Member, a member of the Casady Challenge 20/20 team will be attending Deer Creek Green Schools final presentation of their energy audit findings this coming Wednesday from 3-5.

Jeff Wegener-Chair of the Oklahoma Green Schools Pilot Program and Jason Hukill from a LEED architectural firm came to school last week to start a conversation about LEED. It was a quick, informative visit. Jeff sent the following link for green curriculum

Jason invited the Challenge 20/20 and Casady Green team to his office to continue the conversation on Monday, February 15. We are also scheduled to visit the DEQ that day to meet Mrs. Susie Shields who has provided many resources to the Challenge 20/20 team.

2009 REFLECTION: Casady has the following Green initiatives facilitated by Challenge 20/20 in collaboration with the Environmental Club: Recycling (paper-plastic and cans-thanks for the free recycling containers). Challenge 20/20 is about to begin an energy audit campaign in collaboration with teachers from the Middle and Lower Divisions. Challenge 20/20 finished fundraising for the energy audit tool kit with proceeds from an ongoing aluminum bottles sale campaign. Last week, with Jeff's visit, they started a LEED awareness campaign.

Challenge 20/20 is trying to set-up a Green Treen Training Session for the Casady Green Team as another step to develop the students capacity to MENTOR younger students in "green practices."

There has been no communication with the school in China. We have been trying to set-up SKYPE communication with the school in New York. They are creating a Global Warming awareness book to be used with younger students and have requested our help,but we have not begun to work together yet.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Recycled items can become USEFUL PRODUCTS???

Collecting food bags to make useful products such as backpacks, totes and pencil cases. This is cool!!! The page with the products made for purchase is

Blue Thumb -What is it?


Blue Thumb, as the education arm of OCC’s Water Quality Division,works to connect Oklahoma’s citizens with the natural world.

Blue Thumb Volunteering: Stream and wetland monitoring,
Groundwater screening and Providing nonpoint source pollution prevention educational presentations. Across the state, there are over 90 streams that are currently being monitored by Blue Thumb volunteers. Volunteers come in all ages and from all walks of life.

Blue Thumb: Healthy Streams. Healthy implies life!

Healthy Streams= Chemical water quality + Physical Habitat Quality + Biotic Quality

CHEMICAL MONITORING: MEASURES POTENTIAL STREAM HEALTH IF PHYSICAL HABITAT IS ADEQUATE Can be expensive, time consuming for NPS pollutants,necessary for problem and source identifications. IT DOES NOT TELL YOU IF THE STREAM IS HEALTHY

BIOLOGICAL MONITORING: MEASURES HEALTHY STREAMS. Less expensive, TELLS IS THE STREAM IS HEALTHY, but does not identify the cause and source of the problem.

Cheap, TELLS HOW MUCH OF BIOLOGICAL IMPAIRMENT IS DUE TO WATER QUALITY, without having to actually perform and pay for the tests (remainder is due to lack of habitat). DOESN’T TELL IF STREAM IS HEALTHY

Blue Thumb Volunteers: Middle School age and up – Two day training required. Staff supports volunteers after training. Site Coordinator gets a $650 test tool kit.

Gather information on stream ecology and chemical monitoring. Participate in data collection and water pollution education

Water Chemistry: A glimpse of the water ‘s chemical properties at an instant in time: Dissolved oxygen, chloride, ammonia nitrate, water clarity, temperature, orthophosphate, Nitrate/Nitrite, pH. Volunteers are issued a test kit to complete their monitoring data each month.

Insects: Winter and Summer Collections: Benthic macroinvertebrates: worms, snails, etc. Tolerance to pollutants an habitat changes

Fish: First summer field session after monitoring begins. All day event! Sienes are used to capture fish. Fish tell the same story as the insects. A complete habitat assessment is also completed. At 20 meter intervals, How deep is the water? Is erosion a problem? Does emerging vegetation offer a nursery area for baby fish?

Physical Habitat: Are there rocks? Is the stream shaded? Is the substrate rough or smooth? How is the stream flow?
A Blue Thumb volunteer understands our streams. In addition to stream work, Blue Thumb volunteers do educational work.

What does a Blue Thumb Volunteer do as a stream monitor? Participates in chemical monitoring MONTHLY 1.5-2.5 HOURS
Helps collect aquatic insects TWICE A YEAR 2 HOURS
Prepares aquatic insect samples for identification TWICE A YEAR 3 HOURS
Helps collect fish habitat assessment (each fifth year) 6 HOURS
Attends quality assurance sessions quaterly 2 HOURS

What does a Blue Thumb Volunteer do as an advocacy educator?รพ Provides pollution prevention demonstrations at schools Volunteer records hours with honor system. Hours helps organization get funding!
Helps with stream clean-ups
Staffs educational exhibits
Marks curbs wit the “No Dumping – Keep Our Water Clean” message

How is the data collected by Blue Tumb volunteers used? A DATA SHEET IS PROVIDED!
« Chemical data is screening data, unusual results are reported to the DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality).
« Fish and Macroinvertebrate information is used by the state to assess conditions of streams. They tell the story of the stream!
« Blue Tumb volunteers are expected to communicate with the people who live around the stream and let them know how their every day actions impact the stream. Blue Tumb volunteers help people take care of our water resources by realizing how their choices limit or enhance life in our streams.
« A stream is a reflection of its watershed. A Blue Thumb good grade
Shade to help keep water cool
Emergent vegetation to offer habitat
Trees, grasses and shrubs lining the stream
Rocks and woody debris to serve as habitat
Clear water
Area natives willing to jump right in

What can anyone do to keep our streams healthy and get a good grade? TAKE TIME TO BE OUTDOORS!
Use households and chemicals cautiously. Read labels, follow instructions, dispose properly. You break a federal law if you do not follow instructions.
Have soil tested. You will know your fertilizer needs. Do not apply chemicals when rain is predicted.
Pick-up pet waste.
Keep farming and construction from sensitive stream banks.
Practice no-till farming to reduce soil erosion and conserve precious soil moisture.
Keep vehicles and heavy equipment in good repair to eliminate leaks.
Composte grass!
Plant native plants.
Collect rain water to water plants. Check state mandates on rain water collection!
Leave wild areas alone.
If fishable, is swimable



1. Blue Thumb is an educational program, not a regulatory program.
2. Blue Thumb has regularly scheduled trainings, but they do also work with special interested organizations.
3. Blue Thumb SAFETY: Safety first! Teachers need to have outdoor certification (Sierra Club provides that type of training)
4. Blue Thumb Volunteers Impact: They have a wonderful PP presentation comparing two creeks that provide the relevance of the volunteers work.
5. The Blue Thumb Chemistry kit provided for volunteers costs $640 and they provide all supplies during their quality control sessions.
6. Blue Thumb Service-Learning Course at OCU: Contact the Math and Science Department and ask for Lab Tech, Beth

7. Contact Information for Blue Thumb: Kim Shaw, Blue Thumb Water Quality Educator, Water Quality Programs. 2800 N. Lincoln Blvd. Suite 160, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105-4210, 405-522-4738, fax: 522-4770, cell 627-3787,


Challenge 20/20 LEED Conversation

Mr. Jeff Wegener will be on campus on Wednesday, January 20th. Jeff Wegener, AIA, Principal, 5909 NW Expressway, Suite 600 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73132, T 405 722 7270 F 405 722 8373 W

Architect Jeff Wegener is the Principal partner of LWPB Architecture. He is also the Chair of the Oklahoma Chapter of Green Schools Initiative. Mr Wegener has brought with him his firm’s Director of Sustainability, Mr. Jason Hukill.

Mr. Wegener and Mr Hukill’s firm is focused on kids and creating environments where teachers can teach and kids can learn. The firm has more than 1,200 educational projects. Mr. Wegener's firm uses 3D modeling services from Google to interact with their clients. School design is Mr. Wegener's firm passion.

Schedule for Mr. Wegener and Mr. Hukill's Challenge 20/20-LEED Conversation
12:00-12:30: Meeting with available Casady administrators at Mr. Sheldon’s office.
Tour of campus by Mrs. Clay and available students. Time with Mr. Bush in LD (TBC)

12:43-1:26 Pizza Lunch at Student Center for Conversation about LEED buildings. Bring your aluminum water bottle!

Expected attendance:Guests: Mr. Jeff Wagoner and Mr.Jason Hukill.
Challenge 20/20-YAC: Josh Ou, Sarah Cox, Eric Corn, Mrs. Clay, Caitlin Anderson
Environmental Club: Mrs. Zesiger, Rita Sengupta, Ankit Verma, Samaan Ghani, Andrew Roberts, Moeez Qureshi, Nathan Prabhu, Rebecca Roach; Aamina Shakir; Zainab Shakir; Jack Maxwell; Katie Costello; Ritt Costello

Weather Club: Mr. Ware
Multicultural Club: Mr. Miano, Mrs. Miano, Marcela Engles, Ashwin Prasad, Bonnie Tibbs, Lizzie Lockard

Casady Green Team: Mrs. Linn, Jessica Linn, Mr. Fresonke, Mrs. Johnson

LEED links: , Green Schools: , for Oklahoma LEED, visit: ,, Interested in professional LEED certification, visit: a general “green site”:

What is LEED? (From LEED Certification)

Tom Watson, Creator of LEED talks Green

What is LEED and Why should we care?

What is LEED? (Home Improvement)

Business case of sustainability?

The Business Case for Protecting the Climate

Can a Green Business be a profitable one?

Recommended sites for LEED information: For LEED information visit: , Green Schools: , for Oklahoma LEED, visit: ,, Interested in professional LEED certification, visit: a general “green site”: