EcoRise and City of Austin Office of Sustainability to Host 4th Annual Central Texas Student Innovation Showcase


Join us to celebrate students who have created a positive social and environmental impact on their local communities and to recognize the EcoRise Teacher of the Year.

Austin, TX, May 9, 2018—EcoRise and The City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability will host the 4th Annual Central Texas Student Innovation Showcase at Austin City Hall on Friday, May 11, 2018 from 5:30 p.m.–7:00 p.m. Held to celebrate data-driven, STEM-based student sustainability projects, this year’s showcase will feature EcoRise Eco-Audit Grant recipients from Austin ISD, Leander ISD, and Round Rock ISD, as well as several charter and private schools. In addition, one teacher from the program will be recognized as “Teacher of the Year” for their commitment to environmental literacy and student innovation.

EcoRise’s Eco-Audit Grant Program helps K–12 students “green” their schools with funding provided by the City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability. More than $17,000 in microgrants has been awarded to 15 schools in the Austin area this school year. To receive grant funds, students must complete a campus environmental audit in one or more areas of sustainability (e.g. water, waste, energy, food) and design a project to address an issue identified during the audit. The student-designed projects must either reduce the campus environmental footprint or create public awareness around environmental issues. This year, the partnership between EcoRise and the City of Austin funded a zero-waste lunch program, an aquaponics garden and a food forest, to name a few.

“The enthusiasm, intensity, and commitment of our students is awe-inspiring,” says Jon Stott, Deputy Director of EcoRise. “Showcasing provides students an opportunity to share their work with the community, demonstrating how they are having a lasting environmental impact.”

Since 2014, EcoRise has partnered with the Office of Sustainability to fund the Eco-Audit Grant Program in Austin. “We are excited to support tomorrow’s sustainability leaders in their efforts to build a bright, green future for Austin,” said the City of Austin’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Lucia Athens.

Building on the successful model of the Austin program and with the help of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant, EcoRise is also hosting Student Innovation Showcases in San Antonio, TX and Washington, D.C. this spring, and will award an estimated $40,000 of Eco-Audit Grant funding for projects. “It’s been exciting to work with local communities to expand our Showcase offerings to several new cities across the country,” says Gina LaMotte, Founder and Executive Director of EcoRise. “This is is an essential part of our program model and we look forward to growing it further in collaboration with our partners,” added LaMotte.

ABOUT ECORISE:

EcoRise develops the next generation of creative problem solvers by enlivening conventional classrooms with academically-aligned K–12 curriculum that introduces students to environmental literacy, social innovation, and hands-on design skills. EcoRise supports teachers in helping 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. To learn more about EcoRise, visit ecorise.org.

ABOUT THE OFFICE OF SUSTAINABILITY:
The City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability works to ensure a thriving, equitable, and ecologically resilient community by providing leadership, influencing positive action through engagement, and creating measurable benefits for Austin. In 2012 the Office launched the Bright Green Future Grants program, designed to recognize and support innovative projects that will inspire students to become lifelong environmental stewards. To date, more than 200 projects at local K-12 schools have been funded with Bright Green Future Grants; these projects have saved 964,000 gallons of water, produced 30,000 pounds of vegetables, and avoided 12.8 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions through miles traveled by bike instead of by car. More than 40,000 students have participated in implementing Bright Green Future Grant projects. To learn more about the Office of Sustainability and the Bright Green Future Grants program, visit: www.austintexas.gov/sustainability

For more information, please contact Abby Randall (abby@ecorise.org) or Mary Priddy (mary.priddy@austintexas.gov).