July 31, 2020
This year, Living Classrooms was one of only two organizations to be awarded a grant through the Department of Energy & Environment’s (DOEE) Summer Green Zone Environmental Program (GZEP) for youth and young adults ages 14-24. The goal of the District’s Green Zone Environmental Program is to provide youth who are interested in energy and the environment with jobs and opportunities in the field and a potential pathway to a green career. Living Classrooms recruited a diverse group of local students for this program, primarily from Wards 6 and 7 that surround Kingman and Heritage Islands, and is focused on building racial equity within green industries.
The program is being held virtually this summer through live video chat sessions with our educators and industry professionals, as well as asynchronous assignments that can be done at home or in the students’ neighborhoods. The program is covering subjects such as watershed problems and solutions, science of trash, wildlife habitats, food insecurity, and environmental justice. Rather than just learning about these issues, students will be encouraged to take action on behalf of their communities through grassroots activism like writing to city council and producing movie shorts that will build local support of an environmental issue important to them.
Students will also be introduced to Living Classrooms’ Kingman Rangers Program that trains local young adults in maintaining green infrastructure, such as the Gallatin Street Trash Cage currently being monitored by Living Classrooms in the Anacostia River. A position as a Kingman Ranger is one of many jobs that could be available to GZEP participants in the future.
Living Classrooms Staff Writer