Miami, February 17, 2017 –Due to South Florida’s vulnerability to a changing climate, Dream in Green’s commitment to responding to local environmental issues and empowering people to take action is more relevant than ever. With this in mind, Dream in Green (DIG) created its first annual Eco-Hub Competition to help schools reduce their carbon footprint and promote sustainable behaviors.
The competition encourages elementary, middle, and high schools enrolled in the Dream in Green Academy to compete for a portion of $15,000 to create an eco-hub at their school. An eco-hub is an indoor or outdoor educational area where students gather to learn about the environment, raise awareness about its associated challenges, and develop hands-on solutions to environmental issues. This initiative allows students to work as a team, learn communication skills, and develop leadership capabilities in executing a project which will have a long-lasting impact at their school and in their prospective professional careers. Parallel to these transformational experiences, students learn about financing the projects, budget management and project sustainability. As an added bonus, the winning schools will be paired with a local University student studying architecture or other relevant major to guide them through the process of developing the best possible eco-hub.
On February 4th, 2017, the Green Teams of six local Miami-Dade County schools presented their ideas to a panel of judges at the Miami-Dade STEAM Expo’s 63rd South Florida Regional Science and Engineering Fair (SFRSEF). The judges were professionals from the community including Nick Gunia, DIG’s Co-Founder and President of KGI and Alterna Corps; Allie Miles, Chair of DIG and consultant at Environmental Resource Management; Pablo Gonzalez, DIG Board member and Sustainability Director of OHL-Arellano; Bill Meredith from Covanta Energy; and Jason Bell from West Kendall Baptist Hospital. They evaluated the student’s presentations and made recommendations for funding.
The winners were announced as follows:
2nd Place: Miami Sunset Senior High School – receiving $5,000 for the creation of an outdoor classroom;
3rd Place: Terra Environmental Research Institute – receiving $2,000 for mobile solar house upgrades;
4th Place: Aventura City of Excellence School – receiving $1,000 for the creation of a greenhouse at the school;
4th Place: Date B. Fascell Elementary School – receiving $1,000 for the creation of a gazebo/outdoor learning area;
5th Place: Tropical Elementary School – receiving $1,000 for the creation of greenhouse at the school
*Aventura City of Excellence School and Date B. Fascell Elementary School had a tie score.
DIG could not be prouder of our Green Teams and we cannot wait to see the final projects. Photos of the projects will be posted on DIG’s Facebook page and everyone is encouraged to look.
Funding for this competition was provided from a grant by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). If your organization is interested in funding the next annual Eco-Hub Competition, please contact Karla Utting at gro.neergnimaerdnull@alrak or call the Dream in Green office at 786-574-4909. Until then, let’s continue to dream in green!
About Dream in Green
Dream in Green (DIG) is a Miami-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization focused on promoting environmental sustainability in South Florida through innovative educational programs. DIG assists diverse organizations, including schools, households, local governments and businesses to reduce their environmental footprint. Through establishing partnerships in our community, DIG develops, implements and oversees educational programs and workshops that promote environmentally sustainable behaviors among all age groups, with a particular emphasis on K-12 students. DIG is best known for its award-winning Green Schools Challenge program (currently in its 11th year), serving 105 schools and teaching over 100,000 students, teachers and facilities staff in Miami-Dade County. DIG’s second most successful program is the WE-LAB (Water Energy Learning and Behavior) program which provides homeowners with information and incentives to reduce their household energy and water consumption and minimize waste. To date, DIG’s programs have served 292 unique schools and 88,866 individuals, roughly 66,675 of which were K-12 students. Additionally, our partner schools have worked with us to conserve 23.2 million kilowatt hours of electricity, which in turn has saved Miami-Dade County Public Schools $2.3 million dollars and reduced or offset 35.4 million pounds of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere.
For more information, please visit the Dream in Green website at www.dreamingreen.org.