Currently Teaching: 6th Grade Science and Native Plants and Animals
EcoRise Teacher Since: 2015
Eco-Audit Grant Recipient: Andrea Tole’s advocacy for EcoRise and student environmental stewardship goes way back, although it’s her first year teaching at Covington Middle School. Previously at Bertha Sadler Means School for Young Women Leaders, Andrea led her students to secure $1,255 in microgrants over two years. In 2016-17, a team of girls called “the Trash Terminators” proposed solutions after a campus Waste Eco-Audit. The year before that, Andrea’s students set up a solar energy charging station on their campus. Both years, students were invited to present their work at the Student Innovation Showcase at Austin’s City Hall.
In February 2018, Andrea will present her EcoRise work at the Texas STEM Conference. But her first priority is planting deeper roots at her own campus.
“I am doing my best to build relationships across content areas and help teachers realize what great lessons and opportunities EcoRise has for them,” she said. “I am also looking forward to connecting with the entrepreneurship teacher at my school’s vertical team for high school and developing foundation ecopreneurship projects for my middle schoolers.”
Advice to EcoRise Teachers: “Be creative and don’t be afraid to start small. Even teaching one lesson, doing one audit or applying for one mini-grant will make a difference. Allow your students to surprise you with their creativity and have them involved, if not in control, at every step of the way.”
Her Favorite EcoRise Lessons: “My favorite sustainable intelligence lesson is Dig, Pump, Turn. Our students use electricity every day but don’t seem to realize where the electricity comes from or the environmental and financial impact of using fossil fuels. This is a great STEM lesson that incorporates science perfectly aligned to our standards, engineering that goes into excavation and reclamation, new technology of alternative energy sources, math graphing with real world calculation problems of fines and payouts.”