EcoRise’s 2016-17 Impact Report Shows Positive Education and Environmental Outcomes
Highlighting successful student innovations
Report demonstrates EcoRise’s success in supporting student-driven sustainability solutions.
October 18, 2017
Austin, TX―EcoRise, the school-based non-profit curriculum organization inspiring a new generation of leaders to design a sustainable future for all, has released its 2016-17 Impact Report, which highlights some of the most successful student innovations supported by its program and provides statistics demonstrating the overall national impact of its work. The report demonstrates that 75 student projects were funded by more than $31,000 in EcoRise micro-grants; that student innovations created positive environmental outcomes, with significant water, waste, and energy savings; that seven in 10 students in EcoRise classrooms adopted new green habits; and much more.
“The results in this year’s EcoRise Impact Report demonstrate that student-driven sustainability solutions are already changing the world,” said Gina LaMotte, EcoRise founder and executive director. “When sustainability education is implemented as part of a standards-aligned curriculum and teachers receive ongoing professional learning opportunities, the sky is the limit for student innovation and achievement.”
The three major components of the EcoRise program are its standards-aligned STEM curriculum, the Student Innovation Fund, which provides micro-grants to students to support the implementation of their sustainability solutions, and teacher professional development. The Impact Report demonstrates significant achievements in each of these areas during the 2016-17 school year.
EcoRise has created and helps K-12 schools implement a STEM-based curriculum that challenges students to investigate local sustainability problems and invent real-world solutions. Through project-based activities, design labs, and campus eco-audits, teachers become equipped with the strategies and resources to catalyze student innovation. 90 percent of teachers report that EcoRise expands their teaching practice and 89 percent report that the program empowers them to be a more effective environmental educator. Teachers also report positive student outcomes:
- 96 percent of teachers report that EcoRise fosters student eco-literacy.
- 93 percent report that students’ 21st-century skills are improved.
- 85 percent report that EcoRise creates a more authentic learning experience for their students.
Student Innovation Fund
After students conduct a campus-wide eco-audit and capture environmental data, they have the opportunity to apply for a micro-grant to implement their solution. This year, the Student Innovation Fund supported 75 projects with more than $31,000 in micro-grants. These projects directly engaged 53,374 students and helped districts save almost $67,000. The environmental impact of these 75 projects was immense:
- 458,385 gallons of water were saved, the equivalent of filling more than 9,100 bathtubs.
- 1,594,655 pounds of waste ―close to 40,000 full trash bags’ worth―was diverted.
- 29,826-kilowatt hours of energy was conserved, which is enough to fully charge 2.5 million iPads®.
Teacher Professional Development
EcoRise delivers year-round online and face-to-face training to support and inspire ongoing success. Flexible resources and real-time support are two important factors in achieving lasting student growth and true campus sustainability. In 2016-17, 512 teachers at 253 schools participated in more than 2,100 hours of professional development. These teachers reach 23,000 students in their classrooms.
To build on the successes highlighted in 2016-17, EcoRise has announced plans to continue championing transformative K-12 sustainability education by scaling its impact tenfold by 2020, forging partnerships for global programming, expanding its Student Innovation Fund across the U.S., and building a network of teacher ambassadors. To download and view the full EcoRise 2016-17 Impact Report, which includes more data and examples of school success stories, visit this page. To learn more about the EcoRise mission, school-based program, and individual curriculum resources, visit ecorise.org.
EcoRise develops the next generation of creative problem solvers by enlivening conventional classrooms with academically-aligned K-12 curriculum that introduce students to environmental literacy, social innovation and hands-on design skills. Green professionals serve as guest speakers and project mentors to help students solve real-world sustainability challenges concerning energy, water, waste, transportation, air quality, food and public spaces. The program focuses on enhancing STEM education, promoting sustainability, introducing students to green careers, and helping students develop 21st-century skills.
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