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100 Central High School Students Tour Saint Paul EcoDistrict
Saint Paul, MN (April 9, 2015) – 100 students from Saint Paul’s Central High School spent the morning touring the Saint Paul EcoDistrict to learn about renewable energy, waste reduction programs, and sustainability. The tour was a collaborative effort arranged by the Metro Clean Energy Resource Team (Metro CERT) and led by the EcoDistrict partners, which include the City of Saint Paul, Science Museum of Minnesota, Saint Paul RiverCentre, and District Energy St. Paul. The partners are committed to the use of renewable and efficient technologies and waste reduction programs and have been globally recognized for their efforts. The EcoDistrict tour featured nine solar installations, district heating and cooling, electric vehicles, biomass, and composting and recycling programs. This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for the Central High School students. Lisa Houdek is a science teacher from Central and is teaching her students about clean energy technologies and sustainability. Houdek initiated the EcoDistrict visit to help her students see projects being deployed in their own community, “As an educator, the most meaningful experiences I can provide for my students are those that unify our classroom and our community. An unprecedented opportunity such as this can inspire ingenuity in society and foster innovative perspectives for the future.”
The partner organizations are developing an education destination to make the most of this very unique experience through walking tours, online materials, and eventually educational curriculum for visiting school groups. Along with Metro CERTs, the EcoDistrict partners are thrilled to have this opportunity to share their sustainability applications and stories with the visiting students. The tour and the experience for the students aligns with the City of Saint Paul’s commitment to sustainability leadership and efforts to introduce the city’s young people and visitors to important solutions for climate adaptation and efficiency. “This is a great opportunity to showcase all of the important work being done in Saint Paul around renewable energy, waste reduction and sustainability,” said Mayor Chris Coleman. “These young people are the ones that will be carrying on our efforts as the need to be more resilient amidst climate change continues to grow.”
Students will be invited to provide feedback on the tour to help partners improve the experience for future student groups and visitors. The public launch of the Saint Paul EcoDistrict is slated for May 2015.
About the EcoDistrict: Developed as a sustainability education destination, the Saint Paul EcoDistrict is the only place in the United States where visitors can explore nine solar installations, district energy, heat recovery, combined heat and power, composting programs, and other renewable energy and advanced technology solutions. This showcase is a 4-block district right in the heart of downtown Saint Paul overlooking the Mississippi River. The partners have worked together to develop projects and programs that support renewable energy, energy conservation, and waste reduction and create tools so visitors can learn more about how these work in our community. It is best experienced as a walking tour, so a website is under development to enrich the experience for kids of all ages. Additional curriculum for school-age students is under development. Partners include the City of Saint Paul, District Energy St. Paul, the Science Museum of Minnesota, Saint Paul RiverCentre and Xcel Energy Center, and Visit Saint Paul.
About the Clean Energy Accelerator: Communities across Minnesota are looking to take action on clean energy projects, but sometimes knowing where to start, who to involve, and how to get from an idea to a completed project are steps that make the process seem daunting. Making those difficult steps easier, and getting through them faster, is what the Clean Energy Accelerator is all about. Through this project, the Metro region of the Clean Energy Resource Teams (Metro CERT) provides an opportunity to apply for assistance from Metro CERT staff with getting community-based clean energy projects “off the ground” in Anoka, Carver, Chisago, Dakota, Hennepin, Isanti, Ramsey, Scott, Sherburne, Washington, and Wright Counties. Metro CERT is a program of the Great Plains Institute. More information is available at www.mncerts.org/accelerator