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CONTACT: Amy Graham (850) 245-2112, (850) 778-7258 (cell)

DEP Presents Leon County Schools with $90,000 for Two Environmental Initiatives

~Funding partnership will create environmental education program and install green retrofits~

TALLAHASSEE ? In conjunction with National Environmental Education Week, Florida Department of Environmental Protection?s (DEP) Secretary Michael W. Sole today joined Leon County School District Superintendent Jackie Pons at R. Frank Nims Middle School to announce two new environmental initiatives. A host of school, county and state officials joined Secretary Sole for the ceremonial check presentation.

?Leon County School District is leading by example through its sustainability and conservation efforts,? said DEP Secretary Michael W. Sole. ?I am proud to present Leon County Schools District Superintendent Jackie Pons and Nims Middle School Principal Kay Collins with this check for $90,000, representing the launch of two new initiatives in support of environmental education and resource conservation.?

The $90,000 will assist the Leon County School District with the following environmental initiatives:

  • $50,000, provided by the United State Environmental Protection Agency?s Gulf of Mexico Program, will establish an environmental education program at R. Frank Nims Middle School in conjunction with DEP?s Learning In Florida?s Environment (LIFE) Program.
  • $40,000, provided by EPA Region 4?s Office of Pollution Prevention and Innovation, and implemented through DEP?s Office of Sustainable Initiatives, will go toward green upgrades at Elizabeth Cobb Middle School and Canopy Oaks Elementary School.

?Our district has continuously worked to think out-of-the-box in developing programs that allow students to be involved in hands-on interactive learning,? said Superintendent of Schools Jackie Pons. ?We are honored to receive this grant and to work in partnership with DEP in educating our students about conservation and going green.?

The funding partnership allows DEP?s Learning in Florida?s Environment (LIFE) Program to join its partners in enhancing the coastal environmental education program at Nims Middle School. The LIFE program provides students with hands-on learning in Florida?s outdoor classroom and creates a pipeline to supply Florida with its next generation of scientists and biologists.

Through the partnership, 150 students each year at Nims Middle School will be able to conduct three field experiences, and ten to 15 high school mentors from the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University?s Developmental Research School will be trained to assist students with field experiences, along with DEP and University of Florida?s Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences Extension staff.

?This is an exciting opportunity for students to develop an awareness of the costal environment through our partnership with the LIFE Program,? said Nims Principal Kay Collins. ?Our partnership allows science education to go beyond the classroom walls and extend outdoors making learning exciting and fun for kids. Nims is truly appreciative of all who helped with this grant and truly grateful we are the recipients of the funding.?

The funding partnership also allows Leon County Schools to further its resource conservation measures. DEP?s Office of Sustainable Initiatives provided the school district with a suite of options for achieving reductions in water, waste and energy consumption, and money savings, which will be shared with the other 66 school districts in Florida. Some of the recommendations that will be implemented by the Leon County School district include:

  • Installing occupancy light sensors in classrooms, offices, restrooms and supply rooms, resulting in an estimated savings of at least 100,000 kilowatt hours on an annual basis ? enough to light at least 10 homes for a year.
  • Adding moisture sensors to the irrigation systems and low flow fixtures in restrooms, resulting in an estimated savings of 700,000 gallons of water ? roughly the same as the amount in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

To learn more about the Florida Department of Environmental Protection?s LIFE and Sustainable Initiative programs, visit www.dep.state.fl.us. To learn more about the Leon County School District, visit www.leon.k12.fl.us.


"Leon County School District is leading by example through its sustainability and conservation efforts."

Michael W. Sole
DEP Secretary



Last updated: April 15, 2010

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