A How-to Guide: Oaklandon's ambitious no-idling program

I've been spending a lot of time at Oaklandon Elementary School in Lawrence. In fact, yesterday, as I was driving there, I realized I'd be going to this school even if it wasn't my job to work with kids on environmental challenges and solutions. These kids, grades 4-6, are outstanding students, brilliant, creative and indefatigable in their work for the planet.

You can read about their Climate Recovery work elsewhere, but here I want to detail as best I can their ambitious no-idling program they developed over the past few months.

It all starts with education. The E-STEM club at Oaklandon, led by Laura Getz and Antonio Jefferson, spent time studying the impact of air particulate and greenhouse gas pollution that is emitted by an idling car. They worked with IUPUI educators as part of an EPA grant, and once the students learned their science, they went about developing a persuasive marketing scheme.

First, they created a series of posters.

Next, the students created a flyer they could disseminate electronically, but also print and hand out to drivers.

And they created "rewards" for drivers who turn off their car while waiting for students.

The students also made announcements over their school's intercom system as well.

So once they had all their materials together, they went out to the parking area to disseminate their information. I know when I first started coming to Oaklandon last fall, the majority of cars would be sitting, idling, emitting air particulate and greenhouse has pollution. Now, when I arrive at pick up time, it is a peaceful, quiet and clean environment!

From here, the students will be creating a powerpoint and a video so that their great work can be replicated in other schools.

Way to go Oaklandon!

Andy Fry