The Sustainable Schools branch serves as a resource and catalyst for Iowa school districts, cities, solid waste agencies, and community colleges to build a more energized and sustainable future. These Green Iowa AmeriCorps members serve in pairs as Sustainability Coordinators for an 11-month service experience at each host agency, with specific focuses on Operations and Education. These two members work together to assist in reducing district-wide energy costs by developing Climate Action Plans and energy reduction strategies, often through behavior-based lessons.
Through our members, our Sustainable Schools sites can expect the following: to engage their students in more outdoor learning opportunities and lessons surrounding environmental sustainability, to implement environmental project-based learning initiatives, and ultimately save on energy costs. Based on the hands-on experience the Sustainable Schools members are able to engage in, alumni from this branch have gone on to achieve employment with city governments, businesses, museums, and school districts as Sustainability Coordinators.
As youth engagement regarding environmental awareness continues to surge, the program also provides a three-month experience for students at each partner location. These three-month positions take place throughout the summer and are intended for high school students (17 and older) from each site to engage in hands-on experience related to environmental sustainability. Our 11-month members serve as mentors and leaders to the three-month members as they work together to continue to strengthen sustainability efforts at their school and throughout their communities.
Our Sustainable Schools members take on one of two coordinator roles: either Sustainability Education Coordinator OR Sustainability Operations Coordinator. Each host site supplies its own coordinator job descriptions, but the following is the basis of each position:
The Sustainability Education Coordinator focuses on environmental education development and implementation within the host site and host site community.
The Sustainability Operations Coordinator focuses on operational sustainability, as well as developing best practices on how best to save on energy costs and increase sustainability efforts.