All Marion County schools are eligible to apply for up to $5,000 in project funding to support the implementation of up to 3 new projects, or to expand, improve upon, or sustain an existing sustainability project. A lack of existing sustainability initiatives does not disqualify schools from applying for project funding. All proposals for project funding must have the support of the school leadership (i.e. principal, head custodian, cafeteria manager).
Each project, regardless of category, requires a pre- and post assessment of impact. To illustrate, all energy related projects will require the completion of a before and after energy use comparison and all waste management projects will require the measurement of waste before and after project implementation.
All project funding recipients must commit to participating in the 2020 Eco Science Challenge, taking place at the Indiana State Museum on April 24, 2020. At the minimum, a small group of Green Team students can create a display about their Thriving Schools Challenge project, but preferably an entire class present on a variety of environmental-related subjects. Note that it is not necessary for the funded projects to be completed by the Eco Science Challenge.
All participating schools will receive a Thriving School Certification decal to display their achievement on the school front and digital graphics to use in digital documents or the school website. The use of these materials is at the discretion of each school.
Schools seeking certification and project funding must have a dedicated school Champion(s). This individual (or individuals) will be the driving force behind the project’s planning, implementation, and classroom incorporation.
Recognition and a stipend of up to $1,000 will be awarded to school champion(s) selected for project funding. The stipend amount will depend on the complexity, duration and classroom incorporation of selected project(s). For projects that have multiple Champions, decisions regarding how to split the stipend is at the discretion of the school.
All schools receiving project funding must start a Green Team or Club, made up of students along with a teacher, administrator, staff member, and/or parent. If your school already has a sustainability-focused team or club, there is no need to start a new, separate, club.
The idea behind the Green Team is that we believe students should be leading the process of planning and implementing new projects. A Green Team may be a classroom or a multi-age student/teacher/parent group, and they can meet either during or after school.
Schools selected for project funding will work with Jim Poyser of Earth Charter Indiana throughout the process of planning and implementing new projects. Jim and his staff will serve as a mentor to Champions who wish to receive support and guidance as they go through the program, whether that be to ask questions, talk about potential partners, community resources available, or anything else that comes up. Earth Charter Indiana has worked in this field for almost a decade - and mentored the 2018 projects from the inaugural year of the challenge.
Schools that receive project funding are encouraged, but not required, to maintain contact with Earth Charter Indiana, particularly during project milestones. Schools receiving project funding must complete two reports - April 1 (can be brief) and June 12, 2020 (the final report). The final report will answer a short series of questions, provide a simple budget and include photos of the project/s. Note that the report you submit may be used as testimonial content for promoting the Thriving Schools Challenge project.
The ability to demonstrate success is crucial when communicating the need for sustainability initiatives, whether in schools or in local government. Each project, regardless of category, requires a pre- and post assessment of impact. To illustrate, all energy related projects will require the completion of a before and after energy use comparison and all waste management projects will require the measurement of waste before and after project implementation.
It is strongly encouraged that new projects be student-led, increasing project-based learning benefits. Schools applying for project funding must demonstrate that at least 1 project will provide hands-on, educational opportunities for students.
Due to the alignment of the goals the Thriving Schools Challenge and our primary funders, we will be particularly interested in projects that emphasize energy and water savings or projects that illustrate the benefits of a circular economy (e.g. cafeteria waste reduction projects).
Circular Economy: A regenerative system in which resource input and waste, emission, and energy leakage are minimized by slowing, closing, and narrowing energy and material loops; this can be achieved through long-lasting design, maintenance, repair, reuse, remanufacturing, refurbishing, recycling, and upcycling. This is in contrast to a linear economy which is a 'take, make, dispose' model of production. — Definition courtesy the UN Climate Change.
Additional selection criteria used:
Impact to community
Ability to sustain into the future