U.S. Department of Education’s Green Strides Tour Visits Altamont Creek Elementary
September 26, 2023 - Livermore, CA - Top officials in school sustainability, environmental infrastructure, nutrition, and school facilities from the U.S. Department of Education and California Department of Education (CDE) joined state, local, and school district leaders at Altamont Creek Elementary on September 20, 2023 for a stop on this year’s 2023 Green Strides Tour. The U.S. Department of Education’s Green Strides Tour highlighted schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions that have exceptionally promoted health, implemented cost-saving measures related to environmental practices, and created sustainable school environments. As a 2022 recipient of the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon School (ED-GRS) recognition award, Altamont Creek Elementary was one of only ten educational institutions selected for this year’s Northern and Central California tour.
Those in attendance for the tour were guided through a variety of stations, led by students, staff, and members of community organizations, that illustrated the many ways Altamont Creek has made environmental education part of its culture. “We were excited to have students from our Green Team lead our stations, as they are well versed in our environmentally-conscious practices. These students lead by example and help to train and educate our younger students so that our sustainability practices are sustainable themselves,” expressed Principal Andrea Tapia. At Station 1, students explained their understanding of waste reduction and, along with support from Livermore Sanitation and StopWaste, challenged attendees to properly sort items into compost, recycle, and landfill containers. Station 2 included a visit to the school garden, also a Certified Wildlife Habitat, where students shared about growing fresh fruits and vegetables, the importance of worm composting, and their process for collecting temperature and air quality data. Station 3 focused on health and wellness with students demonstrating how mindful breathing can help with emotional regulation. Teaching Opportunities for Partners in Science (TOPS) volunteers discussed at Station 4 how weather and climate change awareness is shared with students and families at family science nights, and wowed visitors with a look inside a mobile planetarium. Lastly, at Station 5, students and Quest Science Center volunteers helped attendees to build sail cars and engage in hurricane simulations that demonstrated the importance of renewable energy and the necessity of building structures capable of withstanding our changing climate. “Today was an example of the power of hands-on learning. When our students are given the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and share their knowledge with others, they shine. I am continually amazed by their poise and understanding,” shared Fenna Gatty, Altamont’s science teacher.
In addition to dedicated staff and school leadership who have prioritized the adoption of “green” practices, Altamont Creek’s strong network of community partnerships has been integral to their sustainability journey. “We recognize how fortunate we are to have such a supportive and generous, science-focused community. The community partners who came out today were not just here for the tour spotlight; they are valuable partners that continually give of their time and resources to help educate our students and families,” expressed Chris Van Schaack, LVJUSD’s Superintendent of Schools. Community partners who supported Altamont’s Green Strides Tour visit included: StopWaste, Livermore Sanitation, Fertile Groundworks, Quest Science Center, Tri-Valley Air Quality Climate Alliance, TOPS Science, Horizons, LARPD, Center for Environmental Health, Kat Weiss Landscaping, and Patti Cole from Friends of Springtown Preserve.
To learn more about the Green Strides Tour, visit Homeroom, the official blog of the U.S. Department of Education.
Photos Courtesy of LVJUSD
Photo 1: Christopher Maricle, Education Administrator for the CDE was challenged by students to properly sort a bag of items into compost, recycle, and landfill bins.
Photo 2: California’s 16th District Assemblymember, Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, among the attendees on a tour of Altamont Creek’s garden.
Photo 3: Students used Hoberman Spheres to demonstrate how mindful breathing can help with emotional regulation.
Photo 4: Students used fans to simulate hurricane conditions on wooden block structures built by attendees to highlight the importance of designing structures that can withstand changing climate conditions.
Photo 5: U.S. Department of Education, California Department of Education, local and school officials, community members, staff, and students all gathered in the garden for a group photo at the end of the tour.