They say that charity begins at home. So does energy conservation. At least, that’s the idea behind a new program designed to get children interested in saving energy, one light bulb at a time. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Chris Lehman reports:
They say that charity begins at home. So does energy conservation. At least,
that’s the idea behind a new program designed to get children interested in
saving energy, one light bulb at a time. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s
Chris Lehman reports:
All of German Valley Elementary School’s 100 students are gathered in the
gymnasium to learn about saving the world…
“You guys are the ones who are going to have to worry about this stuff down
the road as you become adults and go out into the world. We always want to
plan, don’t we fifth grade.”
These kids are about to get a lesson in saving the planet. Although German
Valley Elementary is surrounded by farmland, the students are going to be
treated to a rap concert as part of that lesson. Their teachers are the rap stars,
trying to drive the message home…
(Sound of teacher rap skit)
The unusual school assembly is the kick-off event in a program called PEAK,
which stands for Preserving Energy for All Kids. It’s funded by a legal
settlement against one of the biggest power companies in Illinois: ComEd.
An audit found ComEd under funded its infrastructure. As part of a court
settlement, money was set aside to encourage energy conservation.
David Kolata is Executive Director of the Citizen’s Utility Board. The
consumer advocacy group is one of the agencies charged by the courts with
dispersing the 16 million dollar ComEd settlement.
“The mandate is simply to use that money to reduce our energy usage as
much as we can. We’ve taken the approach that there are multiple programs
out there that makes sense and we’re trying to see…basically pilot programs
to see what works and what doesn’t.”
So, German Valley Elementary is a testing ground. The school was
recommended by State Representative Jim Sacia. Sacia says educational
programs such as PEAK are crucial as younger generations face growing
questions about energy shortages in the future.
“I think it’s just so important that they learn at a young age the importance of
conserving energy and to consider alternative energy sources so that they can
make the world a far more energy-efficient place in years to come.”
The PEAK program includes more than school assemblies and teachers
mimicking rappers. The bulk of the lessons take place in the classroom…
(Sound of classroom presentation)
Teachers at schools participating in the PEAK program use teaching
materials generated by a California-based organization. One of the first
lessons is about the difference between standard light bulbs and compact
fluorescent light bulbs. Those bulbs use about one-third of the energy of a
standard incandescent light bulb, and can last up to ten years.
Students are given an assignment: to go home and count all of the light bulbs
in their house. Then they’ll figure out how much money their parents could
save by switching to compact fluorescents.
The PEAK program is in its beginning stages at German Valley Elementary,
but the message of energy conservation seemed to be hitting home with fifth
grader Brian Kraft:
“Because if we’re older and we don’t have any energy there will be nothing
to do and see.”
“How do you want to save energy yourself?”
“Turn lights off, play outside more than play inside.”
Playing outside means less TV watching and video game playing… and that
saves energy too.
Fifth grade science teacher Robert Nelson says the initial phase of the PEAK
program has generated positive feedback from children and their parents.
The school intends to sell compact fluorescent bulbs as a fundraiser later in
the school year.
For the GLRC, I’m Chris Lehman.