TNCS Gardens for Earth Day!

Earth Day happens on Sunday, April 22nd this year, with the theme “End Plastic Pollution”. But celebrating our planet is an everyday occurrence at The New Century School—green energy, ecological conservation, and sustainable gardening practices are themes TNCS students are very familiar with, as these are fundamental tenets of the school.

Earth Day itself is always special, though. For the second year in a row, for example, the TNCS Parent Council headed up Sakina Ligon, will host a Family Fun Day that, among lots of other super fun activities, includes crafting with recyclables (see below). TNCS Past year’s Earth Day observances include TNCS Takes Earth Day by Storm and Go Native for Earth Day 2016!

Greenhouse Effect!

Earth Day 2018, however, is extra special. Why? The greenhouse is back up and running, to the delight of students, staff, and families alike. With the changes in the lunch program for the 2017–2018 school year, the greenhouse lay dormant for a few months. Not so any longer! Meet Manuel Cueva, who joined TNCS in September as part of the new kitchen staff and has now taken over as Gardener.

tncs-earth-day-greenhouseSr. Cueva is originally from Cajamarca City, Peru, where he was a construction supervisor and engineer. “I worked at an NGO, IINCAP Jorge Basadre, focused on community development. I worked on projects related to the environment, youth development, health, community banking, and ending child labor,” he said. He came to the United States in June 2016.

Now that he’s here, he has begun working with TNCS students, teaching them to grow produce from seeds. “I like working with my hands and working outside, and I love taking care of nature,” he explained. They started last month, planting indoors, and, as the seedlings have grown sturdy enough, they are gradually moving them into the greenhouse beds (lovingly built last year by TNCS volunteers).

Sr. Cueva has worked with every TNCS class, from the 2-year-olds right on up through the middle schoolers. They have planted marigolds, beans, strawberries, tomatoes, and radishes, and any edible produce will be used in school lunch.

Trabajo del Jardin Abajo

On Friday, April 20th, Sr. Cueva took Professor Manuel’s students to the greenhouse for some transplanting.

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From the photos, it’s clear that students thoroughly enjoyed their greenhouse time as well as all of the advance preparation with the seedlings they lovingly raised. But children also learn and benefit in many other ways from growing things.

Through gardening, they can develop new skills, such as the sense of responsibility they derive from caring for plants; the scientific understanding they gain as they learn about cause and effect (plants will die without water, but thrive when they are properly tended); self-confidence from achieving their goals and enjoying the nutritious food they have grown; and the love of nature that develops as they learn about the outdoor environment in a safe and pleasant place. From there, stewardship of the environment also develops naturally.

Physical activity, collaboration, and discovery are also built-in benefits that TNCS students will realize through gardening. For more on the science-backed ways gardening is good for children, read, Gardening with Kids: How It Affects Your Child’s Brain, Body, and Soul.

Do you have suggestions, recommendation, advice, or questions? Sr. Cueva is eager to hear your thoughts. “If anyone has ideas or suggestions for the green house, please let me know,” he asks.

TNCS’s Go-Green-for-Earth-Day Raffle!

TNCS-uses-green-energy

TNCS supports and uses green energy!

One of The New Century School‘s core values is a commitment to environmental sustainability, and TNCS demonstrates this commitment in a variety of ways. From serving lunch from homegrown or locally sourced produce, to running recycling campaigns, to powering the school buildings with green energy, TNCS strives to keep its carbon footprint as low as possible for the good of the planet.

In honor of Earth Day 2015, which is Wednesday, April 22nd, TNCS is inviting you to join in and go green, too! As detailed in TNCS Uses Viridian’s Power with Purpose, TNCS sources electricity through green-energy company Viridian, who has helped avoid more than 4 billion pounds in carbon emissions to date. By enrolling with Viridian, you not only opt to affordably supply your home with green energy, but you also earn cash rewards for TNCS without lifting a finger. There is no cost to change your energy provider to Viridian, and all you need is your current utility bill to quickly and easily make the switch.

You Win, TNCS Wins, Earth Wins!

TNCS-green-energy

Why enroll for green energy with Viridian? Reduce your carbon footprint, show your support for socially responsible companies, and raise funds for TNCS!

Many of you have probably been considering signing up with Viridian, but, for one reason or another, just haven’t gotten around to it. Well, now’s the time! To sweeten the deal, TNCS and Viridian are jointly hosting a raffle for enrollees to be held at the April 24th Potluck. Just for enrolling, you receive a TNCS tee shirt, and you will also be entered in a raffle to win a $50 Amazon gift card, donated by Viridian.

How do you enroll? It’s so easy to do, and you have three convenient options to choose from!

1. Register online at: www.viridian.com/newcenturyschool. (Helpful tips include: Use Internet Explorer or Firefox rather than Safari, which is glitchy, and if you are opting for electricity only rather than electricity and gas, make sure to select “Not at this time” for gas on the Step 1 page.)

2. Call Viridian Customer Care at (866) 663-2508 (be sure to mention TNCS!).

3. Bring your current electric bill to the Potluck on April 24th, where TNCS Head of School Alicia Danyali will be manning a sign-up table to switch you to Viridian on the spot.

And, regardless of how, when, or where you enroll, as long as you bring proof of registration to the Potluck, you will receive your TNCS tee and be entered in the raffle.

viridian-faqs

Viridian FAQs.

If you need more information, please download this informative brochure of FAQs and other details, visit the website above, or contact Viridian at the number above.

This Earth Day—the 45th annual—is going to be a very special one, and some are calling 2015 the the most exciting year in environmental history. With the slogan “It’s Our Turn To Lead,” the Earth Day network is galvanizing countries globally to participate in this great enterprise. Choosing green energy is how we can contribute our voice and our support. With the coming week being Climate Education Week, we can also teach our future citizens the importance of behaving responsibly toward the environment—in fact, Thursday is Renewable Energy Day!

Other resources for your information include Affordable_Energy and Why Go Solar Now?.

TNCS Uses Viridian’s Power with Purpose!

power-with-purpose-at-tncs

Power with Purpose!

The New Century School has always prioritized environmental sustainability through recycling, community responsibility, and supporting local agriculture to name just a few ways. TNCS has also always strived to use and to support green energy. Remember our Green Neighborhood Energy Challenge? Although Clean Currents was shuttered due to circumstances beyond their control, TNCS has now partnered with Viridian, a larger socially and environmentally responsible energy company. Says Head of School Alicia Danyali, “Leaving a smaller carbon footprint can make a big long-term difference for our environment. The more invested, the bigger impact on conservation.” TNCS has once more gone green!

Raise Money for TNCS while Lowering Your Carbon Footprint!

Even better, Viridian is sponsoring a TNCS fundraising initiative. By enrolling in Viridian’s affordable green energy service, you can monetarily support TNCS. That’s right—every time you pay your utility bill, TNCS receives income! More importantly, you can make a significant and measurable impact on the environment. Says Viridian’s Eric Forseter, “We help TNCS raise money and simultaneously help green the Earth. Instead of paying a sales person a commission, for every electric meter that signs up under TNCS, Viridian donates a minimum of $24 a year to the school. If 20 families sign up, that’s nearly $500 in annual donations.” Not bad! Key here is that this is an ongoing donation. Unlike Clean Currents that made a 1-time contribution to TNCS per enrolled family, Viridian pays out every time you pay your utility bill. “This goes on forever!” said Mr. Forseter.

And it’s so easy! Instructions for enrolling are given below, and you continue to get the same delivery, service, and billing from your current utility (BGE for most of us). Enrollment in either of two electric options (50% green or 100% green) takes less than 5 minutes. Mr. Forseter explains that the 50% option costs less and is therefore what many people opt for (saving the earth while saving money). Even going 50% green for 1 month is the equivalent of recycling for 1 year, so just imagine what going 100% green would do for the environment! Enrollment in a green gas option is also available.

Seeing Green

Check out these truly wonderful benefits—benefits to our shared environment, to our beloved school, and to your individual pocket.

  • Viridian donates a minimum of $24 annually for every customer TNCS enrolls.
  • Choosing Viridian will result in an average offset of 11,000 pounds of carbon annually, the equivalent of planting 134 trees.
  • Your rates will remain competitive with your utility, and your billing service will never change (you are only choosing the supplier of your energy, not your utility, which distributes the energy).

Note that Viridian is guaranteeing a better rate than the utility can provide on the 50% green option. The average household can expect to save $5 to $50 per month. “A great deal is that the company will refund you 110% if their rate exceeds the utility’s,” says Mr. Forseter.

How To Enroll with Viridian

To sign up, you will need your electric account number; BGE customers will need your Electric Choice ID on your bill:

  1. Go to viridian.com/newcenturyschool. (Make sure you have your energy account number.)
  2. Click the “Become a customer” link at the top of the page.
  3. Enter your zip code and electric utility, then select Electric. Select Gas if you want a carbon offset for Gas supply.
  4. Follow the steps to enroll in the 50% fixed-rate plan 3DOM for electric and 25% carbon offset for gas (if you choose 100%, your environmental contribution will be higher but your bills will increase).
  5. If you are interested in going solar, check the box to receive a free consultation with SolarCity, the solar partner for the program. Solar customers result in a donation of $100 to TNCS and ongoing annual payments.
  6. Questions? Contact Eric Forseter (eforseter@hotmail.com) or call Viridian Customer Care at (866) 663-2508 for more information.

Please spread the word—Viridian is not just local to Maryland, but is also licensed in Washington, D.C. on up through Massachusetts. As long as your friends and families sign up for responsible energy under the special TNCS-specific Viridian URL given above, TNCS will reap the fund-raising benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please click FAQs for answers to many of your questions. Then join us and the more than 3,800 other non-profit organizations in “greening the energy grid!”

TNCS elementary parent volunteer LaShon Johnson (lashon.johnson85@gmail.com) will be coordinating this fundraising event. Ms. Johnson will be contacting the TNCS community with additional information as this fundraising initiative gets going!

Blown Away with Wind Energy

On October 31, 2012, The New Century School decided to come clean. As part of an ongoing sustainability plan, TNCS switched off fossil fuel–derived energy and turned on with the environmental-friendly, clean energy provided by Clean Currents. Clean Currents delivers 100% wind- and solar-powered energy, a service that benefits the school; the environment; and, some say, the U.S. economy.

Clean Currents logo illustrates that power sources can be green

TNCS gets greener every day!

TNCS is fortunate to be located in Maryland, one of a handful of states (see map) currently enjoying a deregulated energy market for both electricity and gas (most states have deregulated one or the other or are not yet deregulated). This means that although Baltimore Gas & Electric owns and maintains the power lines, Clean Currents’ wind energy is what’s coming through those lines to power the school. In other words, consumers can choose not only who provides their power, but also have a choice in what type of power they buy, thanks to companies like Clean Currents.

With choices come advantages. The most obvious benefit to wind energy is its environmental friendliness. “Windustry” ameliorates climate change by not only providing a non-polluting source of energy but also by displacing the greenhouse gas emissions that have already polluted the atmosphere from conventional power. But there are other tremendous advantages, too. By reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, for instance, clean energy also makes us less vulnerable as a nation to the vagaries of the international oil market . . . and to the associated security risks. Moreover, ever-renewable wind is a cash cow for farmers. Wind farming almost effortlessly generates considerable income without taking up land needed for crops as well as creating jobs and boosting the economy.

So, as President Obama has pledged to move the United States toward energy independence, TNCS is doing their part to get there at the community level. Clean Currents was a natural choice for collaboration. Being a “benefit corporation, we have elected to build in commitment to the local communities we serve along with the environment. It’s part of our operating agreement,” says Emily Conrad, Community Outreach Coordinator for Clean Currents.

wind energy is sustainable, renewable, and readily available

Wind turbines harvest wind on a midwestern wind farm

And TNCS likes a company that is motivated as much by doing lasting good for its community as by its bottom line. The benefits to the school itself are also numerous. Besides going green, TNCS will host Clean Currents workshops with students that will focus on “age-appropriate activities around the world of energy,” says Conrad. This is another way that TNCS can reinforce to students the importance of respecting our world.

Finally, readers, you’re invited to ponder these very wise words:

When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why
But why wonder why wonder
I am green, and it’ll do fine
It’s beautiful, and I think it’s what I want to be . . .

Kermit acts as TNCS mascot for environmental sustainability

Sometimes, it IS easy being green!

P.S. Stay tuned to learn about the upcoming Green Neighborhood Challenge that will bring green energy to your door. That’s right—TNCS and Clean Currents are partnering to expand clean energy availability to the surrounding community. Look for a post about the Green Neighborhood Challenge in early 2013!