Serious About Science

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting three schools to meet with the teachers spearheading the projects that received funding from PPL’s Empowering Educators grant program. These educators were so excited to have funding to support projects that they felt would not be possible without the support of PPL. We’re just as excited to create these opportunities!

At Freedom High School in the Bethlehem Area School District they are constructing a livinDSCN3258g wall, designed and built by students, in the main lobby. The wall will have a vertical lush garden with carefully selected plants that will improve indoor air quality. The project will give students a lesson in engineering, design and construction as well as environmental science. Here are two of the lead students explaining the design to the rest of the class.

Scranton High School will be diverting roof runoff into rain barrels, where it will be stored to water the garden and landscaping.DSCN3276A rain garden, consisting of plants native to Pennsylvania, will also be placed strategically near a storm drain to reduce flow to the Lackawanna River. Sixty students will plan, plant and maintain the garden and rain barrels. These students as well as their teacher and principal are excited for spring so they can begin this project!

My last stop was at Blue Mountain Elementary-East in Orwigsburg. 150 fourth graders will participate in a classroom outreach project provided by the Da Vinci Science Center of Allentown. Students will discover the electrifying principles of electrical engineering by creating series and parallel circuits, measuring their voltages, and drawing circuit diagrams. These cute kids are ready for some science!

BlueMtn2013I hope to visit the rest of the schools receiving Empowering Educators funding by the end of this month. Here’s hoping the weather cooperates! Stay tuned for more photos and stories of STEM education happening near you!

~Alana Roberts, Community Affairs Specialist and Empowering Educators grant coordinator

PPL improving local education in Pennsylvania

Northampton Envirothon 2012.

 

PPL Corporation is honored to have donated $2.1 million to support education in the state of Pennsylvania last year.

“PPL continues to be tremendously committed to our communities,” said Don Bernhard, director, Community Affairs.  “We feel that one of the most effective things we can do as a leader in the community is to help properly educate and support our youth, especially during the crucial early years of their lives.”

Last year, PPL gave more than $1.3 million to dozens of education organizations under the state Department of Community and Economic Development’s Education Improvement Tax Credit program. The program gives companies an opportunity to support quality agencies working to educate children.

PPL also funded 72 educational institutions, including colleges and universities, through grants that exceeded $880,000.

Through the EITC program, the state encourages businesses to contribute toward pre-kindergarten programs, scholarships and educational improvement organizations to expand educational opportunities for students. Since the program began in 2001, PPL has contributed more than $10 million toward education in the state. The recipients must be qualified by the state Department of Community and Economic Development.

Among the recipients were: Community Services for Children (Allentown), United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, The Hillside School, Danville School, Pocono Services for Families and Children, United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties, United Way of Lancaster County, and United Way of Wyoming Valley.

PPL also supports education programs in other states where it does business.

We’re Expanding Classrooms and Young Minds

We’re  helping redefine the classroom experience for hundreds of local students, who are taking to the outdoors and participating in fossil digs, creating sun root roofs, investigating wetlands and creating a living wall to grow plants.

EE grants_WB2012

Careers in science and math will play an integral role in helping our company and country remain successful in the future and we want to create opportunites to develop hands-on projects that will allow students to explore these subjects as part of their school curriculum.

A team of PPL employees, environmental professionals and educators chose the winning projects from 22 submitted applications. Grant recipients include:

Bethlehem Area School District, Bethlehem, Pa.: $2,000 will help fund the construction of a living wall, designed and built by students, in the main lobby of Freedom High School. The wall will have a vertical lush garden with carefully selected plants that will improve indoor air quality. The project will give students a lesson in engineering, design and construction as well as environmental science, and will be displayed at the Freedom High School art show.

Blue Mountain School District, Orwigsburg, Pa.: $1,400 will be provided to help 150 fourth-grade students at Blue Mountain Elementary East participate in a classroom outreach project provided by the Da Vinci Science Center of Allentown, Pa. The center’s Classroom Outreach Education programs bring the visiting science experience into smaller school settings. Students will discover the electrifying principles of electrical engineering by creating series and parallel circuits, measuring their voltages, and drawing circuit diagrams.

East Stroudsburg Area School District, Bushkill, Pa.: $2,000 will help fund a coal-age fossil dig for a nature trail and outdoor classroom on the district’s North Campus located in Bushkill, Pa. These additions will help students better understand energy and how it impacts their daily lives, both environmentally and economically. The related display will provide students with a hands-on investigation of the fossils that created coal, the methods used to excavate fossils, geologic time and the processes that gave Pennsylvania its large volume of coal beds. 

Hazleton Area School District, Hazleton, Pa.: $2,000 will be given to provide alternative energy lessons in the classroom. The project will incorporate equipment into the existing pre-engineering curriculum to allow students to explore alternative energy sources and their application to our society’s current power needs. A PV solar system, as well as a student-designed tracking system, will be installed at the Hazleton Area Academy of Sciences as part of a class project. The completed system will provide power to a prominent display to showcase alternative energy to students and visitors, and will be incorporated into classroom activities.

Manheim Central School District, Manheim, Pa.: $2,000 will be given to help design and build a living roof on the livestock stable and horticulture work area used by Manheim Central High School. Additionally, a solar panel will be installed to create an alternative energy source for the stable. The agricultural mechanics class will build the roof structure, the environmental stewardship class will install the solar panel and the agricultural science class will plant the roof. More than 300 students will study science, math and alternative energy as part of this project.

Northeastern School District, York Haven, Pa.: $460 will be used to help 75 third-grade students at York Haven Elementary School study the water cycle and wetland environments at PPL’s Brunner Island Environmental Preserve, and learn how to take care of the environment.  After researching various water habitats, the students will create written and oral reports about a given water habitat and share them with the entire third grade.

Scranton School District, Scranton, Pa.: $2,000 will be used to divert rainwater from the roof of Scranton High School into rain barrels, where it will be stored to water the garden and landscaping. A rain garden, consisting of plants native to Pennsylvania, will be placed strategically near a storm drain to reduce flow to the Lackawanna River. Sixty students will plan, plant and maintain the garden and rain barrels. A presentation will be given at the annual Community Connections to the Watershed Forum in May.

 For more information, visit www.pplweb.com and select Environment and Community, then Our Education Programs or contact me, Alana Roberts, at 570-542-2886 &  aroberts@pplweb.com

 

PPL works to Empower Educators

As part of its continuing relationship with the communities it serves, PPL Corporation is once again offering grants to teachers to help their students learn more about energy, the environment and resource conservation.

Through the competitive “Empowering Educators” grants, teachers can receive up to $2,000 for educational projects that focus on energy issues like renewable energy demonstrations, energy efficiency and the greening of schools.

Applications must be postmarked or received on or before 4 p.m. Nov. 9. Grant awards will be announced Dec. 10. For more information, and for grant application forms, visit the Empowering Educators webpage.

PPL Supports Saucon Valley Outdoor Env. Ed. Center at “Launch Party”

Saucon Valley Foundation for Educational Innovation is embarking on a tremendous project that will bring hands-on outdoor environmental educational lessons to students in Saucon Valley School District (Hellertown, Pa.) without having to travel on a bus or take a field trip. They plan to develop the school grounds into an educational facility to study stream ecology, wetlands, birds, invasive plants, wind energy, solar energy and MORE!

At a Launch Party held in late April, students, teachers, administrators, community volunteers and local legislators gathered to officially kick of the construction of the center. The room was energized as passionate students and teachers discussed their plans to maximize the opportunities available to them right outside the classroom window.

Melinda Stumpf, PPL regional community relations director, and Alana Roberts, PPL community affairs specialist attended the event and provided $2,000 in funding on behalf of PPL through the Empowering Educators grant program.  We are pleased to be a part of this event and look forward to seeing this center develop as a resource for the school and community.

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