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EPA sponsors environmental education event at Durham’s Lowe’s Grove Middle School to raise awareness about energy conservation and the environment

Release Date: 09/15/2009
Contact Information: Dawn Harris-Young (404) 562-8421, harris-young.dawn@epa.gov

(Atlanta, Ga. – Sept. 15, 2009) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will sponsor an environmental education event today at Durham’s Lowe’s Grove Middle School to engage 45 seventh grade Math Science and Education Network students in activities and discussions related to energy conservation and the environment. Leading the discussion will be award-winning filmmaker and energy-conservation advocate Jeff Barrie, the producer of numerous environmental documentaries, including “Kilowatt Ours: A Plan to Re-energize America.”

The documentary film, produced by Barrie, shares how simple changes such as using compact fluorescent light bulbs instead of incandescent light bulbs, installing adequate insulation, using energy star appliances, and locating and sealing air duct system leaks, can save energy and protect the environment. Students in the school’s Math Science and Education Network Program will view the film and then participate in a discussion with Barrie regarding ways of conserving energy. As part of this event, EPA scientists who volunteer their time to mentor in area schools, will show students how to use a “watts meter” to measure how much energy common electric household appliances use, including a toaster, hair dryer, alarm clock, a lamp with an incandescent bulb, and one with a compact fluorescent.

“The film helps students see that they can personally make a difference in our planet by reducing their energy use at school and at home,” said Kelly Leovic, program manager for environmental education at the EPA facility in Research Triangle Park, N.C. “The hands-on watts meter activity engages students and helps them understand exactly how much energy is used by everyday appliances and how they can make choices that use less energy.”

Barrie said he made the film to raise awareness about simple, practical ways to save energy. “We’re building a conservation nation and that starts with a strong foundation — kids,” he said. “They can and will transform the way people think about energy use and the environment.”

Jamila Bowser, a Math Science and Education Network (MSEN) teacher at Lowe’s Grove Middle School, said this environmental education event is a natural follow up to EPA’s previous involvement with students participating in the Citizen Schools Program. Bowser said, "We are very grateful to the EPA and its wonderful professionals who have provided so many rich and substantive activities and presenters. Their participation is an invaluable reinforcement of our science and math studies."

Raising awareness about the environment, energy conservation, and other green initiatives that help people reduce their carbon footprint, is an important component of EPA’s environmental education and community outreach program.

Since October 2008, EPA’s program in the Research Triangle Park has reached nearly 10,000 students through classroom visits and community presentations sponsored or co-sponsored by the EPA, and another 15,000 individuals through environmental education booths set up at community career fairs and events.

For more information on the EPA environmental education and community outreach program in the Research Triangle Park, visit
www.epa.gov/rtpspeakers.

Read EPA’s blog entry on environmental education: “Watts Up With School Energy?” http://blog.epa.gov/blog/2009/01/13/watts-up-with-school-energy/

Listen to EPA Earth Day podcasts about energy conservation and other green initiatives http://www.epa.gov/EarthDay/podcasts/2008/footprint-pop.html