Green eNews January 2016: Go Green Challenge, Monarchs & Milkweed, and More!
Published on Jan 26, 2016 11:26

  January 2016

Dear CPS Staff and Community,

Happy New Year 2016! Hope your new year is off to a great start!

Please mark your calendars for our third annual Go Green Challenge! We will be launching the Go Green Challenge on Monday, February 29th, and the competition will run through Friday, April 15th. Every elementary classroom teacher will receive a sheet to fill out with his or her students, indicating green actions you are taking together, such as recycling, having a plant in the classroom, or printing double-sided.

When this sheet is filled out, hang it outside your classroom door. The school with the highest percent participation wins a trophy! There will be second and third place prizes, as well. Look for more information coming soon.

Thanks for all you do to keep our schools environmentally sustainable!

Warm wishes,

Kristen (von Hoffmann) Middleton
[email protected]

monarchs and milkweed

Cambridgeport Monarchs
& Milkweed Project!
Second grade students in Suzie Krupienski's class (with Helen Schroeder and Sam Nowak) at Cambridgeport Elementary School completed a monarchs and milkweed project and learned a lot about nature and the environment. After trying to raise monarch caterpillars during a science unit, we learned a lot of the caterpillars do not make it to the chrysalis or adult butterfly stage. Disheartened with this information, we decided to research and learn more about why this was happening. Through research, we learned that the monarch butterfly population has been dwindling. We learned that one of the main reasons for this is the milkweed is contaminated by pesticides and herbicides and black swallow wort is often mistaken as milkweed, which is deadly for the monarchs. Please watch our student created videos, posters, flyers, and book projects which share out how you can help the monarch population! Learn more >>

***Does your class have an environmental or sustainability story or piece of information to share? If yes, please e-mail: [email protected]. Thank You!!!***

Winter Farmers Market
Do you want to buy locally grown food and support small business? In partnership with “Cambridge in Motion,” a reminder that the Cambridge Winter Farm Market runs every Saturday from 10AM to 2PM from January through April inside the Cambridge Community Center at 5 Callender St, Cambridge. The market offers fresh food, hot coffee, lunch, live music and programs for kids & families. Location: Inside the Cambridge Community Center at the corner of Callender and Howard Streets. That’s near the intersection of Western Ave and Putnam Ave just outside Central Square. Learn more >>
Note: We participate in SNAP matching and double EBT/SNAP buying power, so that $15 SNAP = $30 market credit.

Top Tips to Prevent Wasting Food
Love food? Check out these top 8 tips from Love Food Hate Waste, as well as their “Hints and Tips” resource where you can click on the food you want to rescue. Remember, reducing and reusing are even better than recycling and composting. Thanks for all your efforts to reduce food waste. The Recycling Division’s web page about reducing food waste is another helpful resource.


Resolve to Recycle!
You help make the world a better place when you recycle, so be sure to recycle all you can! Recycling saves energy, water and natural resources. Recycling also helps protect animals and nature. Visit this page for a reminder of all that can go in curbside recycling. It’s helpful to have recycling flyers above your recycling bin, and recycling labels on your bins. Request materials via this form or [email protected]. It’s also helpful to have recycling bins and trash bins side by side. Thanks for reducing, reusing, recycling and composting! YOU are helping Cambridge reach its goal to reduce trash by 30% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. Curious about how much your school is recycling? Find out >> 

Storm Surge Flood Risk Results
The City of Cambridge has completed modeling of storm surge risks related to sea level rise. In a partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, which has assessed the risks to the Central Artery, the City worked to extend the Boston Harbor Flood Risk Model to Cambridge. It covers both the Charles and Mystic River sides of the city. The modeling was performed by consultants at the Woods Hole Group in coordination with Kleinfelder. The findings were discussed at a public meeting on December 3, 2015. The modeling will be used to complete the climate change vulnerability assessment which will serve as the foundation of the Climate Change Preparedness and Resilience Plan that will start up in the first part of 2016. The presentation slides are available on the CCVA project webpage >>

Win It

Block Captains Needed for Georgetown University Energy Prize!
It is 2016, and we are now entering the final year of the Georgetown University Energy Prize, a country wide competition to get cities in America to reduce wasted energy. In order to be the city that reduces its energy use the most, Cambridge is encouraging residents to sign up for no-cost home energy assessments through its Block Captains Initiative. A Block Captain is a friendly face that works with people in their social networks to help them sign up. These networks can include family, friends, neighborhoods, co-workers, classrooms, and schools.

During the assessment, a professional home energy advisor will evaluate the health, safety, and performance of heating and cooling systems in your home and provide no-cost instant savings measures such as LED light bulbs, water saving devices, and smart power strips. The advisor will follow up with a report of further opportunities to save energy and money in your home while taking advantage of opportunities through the MassSave program.

Look to hear from your Block Captain during the 2016 year, and also consider becoming one yourself! Signing up is easy and activity is based solely on your level of availability, with contributions towards the Prize being as big or small as you want. Sign up here!

As we all continue helping Cambridge Win It during the year, keep an eye out for the Cambridge yard sign posted in front of City Hall and circulating throughout the city. It tracks our progress in reaching our goal of 5,000 home energy assessments!


Sustainability Manager Gives Students Workshop & Tour of CRLS
Kristen Middleton, CPSD Sustainability Manager, gave a tour of CRLS explaining its LEED Gold attributes, and a workshop to students from Genesee Community Charter School in New York State. The group was visiting to conduct research on green schools, and to learn more about applying for a Green Ribbon Award. Cambridge Public Schools was a national recipient of the 2015 Green Ribbon District Sustainability Award last year.


Visit winter farmers markets in Cambridge! Why? Because vegetables are healthy, and your purchase supports local organic farmers. Learn more >> 


Want to help reduce paper waste? We’re working together in Cambridge Schools to reduce paper use. Here are some ways YOU can help:
-Reduce font size and margins to reduce the number of pages
–Print on both sides of the paper
–Collect and use scrap paper
–Print documents on “Good on One Side” paper

Are you doing all these things already? Great! If not, please resolve to start today!

Be sure to recycle all your paper. When we recycle we protect nature and animals, curb climate change and save the City money. Did you know that producing recycled paper requires about 60 percent less energy than making paper from virgin wood pulp? It makes a lot of sense to recycle all you can! Here’s what can be recycled in the bins at school >> 

milk jugs

A class at the Kennedy-Longfellow School is building an IGLOO out of gallon milk jugs and needs 300 more! Can you help? Please drop them off at the school at 158 Spring Street, or contact the teacher about picking them up: [email protected].

2nd Saturday of each month | 10AM-1PM
Alewife Reservation

Join CRLS student Jake Stout, Reservation Monitor, for a wildlife nature tour of Alewife Reservation. Adults and children welcome. Jake is highly responsive to all questions and loves to discuss the wildlife that reside at Alewife Reservation. This high school naturalist spends much time passing through these diverse ecological systems in Cambridge, which make the urban wild a unique experience for families as well as adults. From Alewife T-Stop: Walk North over Little River bridge, turn West at the Alewife Greenway sign, and walk to the end of the path. Bring water bottle, hat, lotion, spray, sturdy walking boots, long sleeves, long pants, binoculars, and notepad. Call the Friends of Alewife (FAR) office at 617.415.1884 for more information.


Love kids? Love composting? Volunteer, a little or a lot, to remind students "what goes where" and why we compost and recycle. Breakfast shifts are ~7:30-8:30AM and lunch shifts are ~11AM-1:15PM. You can help the continued success of the school composting programs! Please email [email protected] to learn more and join the team.

January 31 |  1-3PM
Fresh Pond Reservation
(exact location TBD)

Come learn about the fascinating world of white oaks and the natural communities they sustain at Fresh Pond. In this workshop, we’ll go over winter tree identification with a focus on trees found at Fresh Pond Reservation, as well as explore the numerous relationships between trees, mammals, birds, insects, etc. Bring your smartphone, tablet, or laptop charged up for a group exploration with Ranger Jean. To register and for a meeting location, please email: [email protected].
Learn more about Fresh Pond >>

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Kristen (von Hoffmann) Middleton
Sustainability Manager
Email Kristen

Cambridge Green Schools Initiative
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