Vanderbilt sustainability groups to help bring ‘green’ education to MNPS students next spring

SustainVU, the Vanderbilt Center for Science Outreach and Vanderbilt Student Volunteers for Science are subgrant recipients of a $91,000, two-year EPA grant to Nashville’s Urban Green Lab to deliver hands-on science and sustainability education to Nashville middle- and high-schoolers.

With assistance from partners Metro Nashville Public Schools and Nissan North America, the Urban Green Lab’s mobile science and sustainability laboratory will bring engaging exhibits and activities and interactive green technologies to MNPS students. The lab will launch in spring of 2016.

The EPA funding will allow Vanderbilt student volunteers and interns to facilitate mobile lab site visits, gaining valuable field experience and boosting the project’s success.

“SustainVU is happy to offer this unique learning opportunity to our students, who will gain valuable experience as they bring sustainability education to MNPS students through the mobile lab,” said Andrea George, director of the Sustainability and Environmental Management Office at Vanderbilt.

“The Vanderbilt CSO has as part of its mission to provide real-world learning for students; we are therefore delighted to partner in this important venture,” said Virginia Shepherd, professor of pathology, microbiology and immunology and director of the Center for Science Outreach.

Urban Green Lab is a nonprofit dedicated to improving citizens’ health and well-being through sustainability education, offering programs that inspire people of all ages to incorporate sustainability into their daily lives. The organization offers workshops on topics from green building to urban agriculture to spark positive changes that save money, improve health, and conserve resources.

“The mobile lab will provide cutting-edge programming for Nashville schools that will create ongoing educational, mentoring, and relationship building opportunities. EPA’s funding is an extraordinary opportunity for Urban Green Lab to expand our reach and impact,” said Jennifer Tlumak Westerholm, executive director of Urban Green Lab.

“We are excited at the opportunity to connect our students with scientists in higher education while empowering our educators to develop projects that will further develop our students’ STEM experiences in the context of sustainability,” said Kristopher Elliott, MNPS director of STEM.