JERSEY CITY PUBLIC SCHOOLS SUSTAINABILITY CHALLENGE

2020 STUDENT TEAMS

In 2020, students in Grades 3-12 were challenged to create and present climate action solutions to address climate change. The 32 submissions from across the district are featured below:

Submissions for Grades 3 ‑ 5

Gas Busters

PS 3

2020 FINALIST

In our community, we have a problem with food waste. We believe it is one of the largest problems in Jersey City. Food waste occurs in our homes, restaurants, and especially in our schools. People throw out countless amounts of food without a second thought of where it will end up. The U.S. produces roughly 133 billion pounds (66.5 million tons) of food waste each year. Not only does food waste affect our community but it sits in landfills and creates Methane Gas that then goes on to affect our climate. Methane Gas is 84 times more potent than Carbon Dioxide and is responsible for heating up the Earth’s atmosphere and causing climate change and global warming. Food waste is an environmental threat. A threat that needs to be identified and proper steps should be taken to reduce our “food footprint.”

 

The Kind Climate Changers

PS 5

Our team’s sustainability problem in our neighborhood is climate change due to daily human activities. Since our city has many people contributing to our overall pollution, it is extremely important that all community members are mindful of their daily actions that may affect our environment . In addition, we feel our community is capable of treating one another with more kindness on a regular basis. We think this relates to how they treat Mother Nature as well. This is because we believe if you treat others with kindness, they will most likely treat others with kindness, including Mother Nature.

Wakeman Owls

PS 6

Our class has noticed large amounts of plastic bottles littering the streets or being thrown away. Through some research, our students discovered that many products we think we recycle in this country end up in landfills anyway. The team decided to re purpose plastic water bottles by creating self-watering planters. The plants that thrive in each repurposed plastic bottle will have a continuous cooling and cleaning effect on the air around us. We believe that this is a simple solution for anyone that will also reverse the effects of climate change.

 

 

Climate Activists

PS 11

The problem in our community that we will attempt to solve is reducing flooding in our neighborhoods. When it rains, we see a lot of water collections accumulating in our streets. This extra water poses problems when trying to pass through our sewage system. This is a big problem in our community and it takes days for the water to evaporate off the streets and other railways we use for transportation from place to place. So, our team has decided to make the citywide mobile double rain gardens. We have designed a mobile double rain garden to help solve the issue of excess water while also addressing some additional concerns. Our rain gardens will also produce cleaner air quality and hopefully increase our insect population and pollination.“Building a rain garden [in our city] is a great way to reduce localized flooding, standing water issues and [pollution control] leaving [our city].”

Frugal Foodies

PS 12

2020 FINALIST

Food waste is seen throughout our community and in our school. Everyday,only part of school lunches reach the lunch table. Students put parts of untouched lunch on the share table but it is often left after the last lunch and then the food is thrown away. Additionally, the lunch that makes it to the table is often only partly eaten. The uneaten portion is wasted and tossed into the garbage. The same goes for school breakfasts. Most students admit that a lot of food is wasted in their homes as well. Most have come across fast food waste on the streets on their way to school and while out playing. Food waste is a community wide problem. Research showed us that its a global problem. This problem is important to address. A lot of energy goes into the production, packaging, and transmission of food. This impacts the environment. Further, when the food is wasted, the Greenhouse gases from the landfill, particularly the methane, contributes to climate change.

Climate Conquerors

PS 15

Our Team’s sustainability problem is the use and ban of plastic bags across all cities in New Jersey with a focus on Jersey City. We thought this was an important problem to address because the plastic bag ban came fast and hard and many people were not ready to deal with it. We wanted to come up with a solution to help people in our community adapt to the changes and be accepting of the ban in support of a healthy environment.

Cornelia Cares

PS 16

The Cornelia Cares team wants to change individual perspectives to positively affect climate change. We want to reach a large group of people, especially children, and teach them how as individuals they can make a difference. We brainstormed different ideas that we thought could reach both children and adults that could help to spread our message. We decided that creating family board games would be an entertaining way to spread our message about positively affecting climate change.

Treehouse Community Club

PS 17

Our team wants to improve the number and health of trees in Jersey City. This is important to address because we want more trees to take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. This process can fight against climate change. Besides, who doesn’t love trees?  Our overall project is to create a public service announcement video for social media to convince people to care for our Jersey City trees. We will also design Scarecrow wasp drones to scare away Emerald Ash Borers from Ash trees and a water catchment and irrigation system to ensure young trees get enough water.  

Urban Climate Defenders

PS 20

2020 FINALIST

The students of Dr. Maya Angelou’s Room 241 feel that air pollution, the lack of resources, and creative ways for kids to combat climate change is a big problem in our community.

The students felt that this was an important problem to address for the following reasons:
1) The students felt they had little knowledge of the effects of climate change.
2) The impact climate change has in urban neighborhoods.
3) The amount of air pollution Jersey City has because of its location.

Gang Green

PS 22

After several observations and evaluations our team, Gang Green, decided that composting was the best green practice to adopt. All members of the team voiced concern over food garbage littering our community. Students also connected the idea that each day, students and teachers in our school, throw away food scraps that can be composted. After adopting a plan for composting at our school our team has dedicated themselves to informing teachers, students, peers and others community members about composting and its benefits. Gang Green compiled data by emailing a survey about composting to our staff and students. The same survey was also posted on our Instagram page. One hundred and twenty six people participated in the survey. After analyzing the results, our team collaboratively decided that the need for composting was not only an an issue in our community and a problem that needed be addressed, but also a task that P.S. #22 was ready to take part in.

Greenhouse Group

PS 23

We are trying to solve the problem of climate change. We are building a mini greenhouse and put three plants in it so it can help the air. We are also placing an air filter on top pf the greenhouse to help the plants strive and grow.

The Voice of Jersey City

PS 25

2020 FINALIST

In our community, there has been extensive construction, which leads to trees being cut down so they can be used as materials to build houses or to clear spaces to construct buildings. When they cut down an abundance of trees, they release so much CO2 so fast that the other trees can’t keep up with the high carbon dioxide levels. In order to continue educating our community, we have created a brochure, a flyer, and even conducted surveys to gauge prior knowledge of climate change.

The PS 26 Falcons

PS 26

We discovered that in our school we have many students who drive to school instead of walking. We want to reduce the carbon footprint at Patricia M. Noonan School, PS 26. We learned that our carbon footprint impacts the environment and if we didn’t reduce our carbon footprint we would be contributing to Global Warming. We love our Earth and want to help it in any way possible. We also decided to introduce this during the month of April.

Forever Green

PS 27

Our team’s sustainability problem is that there is too much pollution CO2 in the air and we want to help clean it. We are also trying to solve a problem related to climate change and sustainability in our neighborhood. Our team wants to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions from the air within the city. This way we can help in the reversal of global warming. Our team thought this problem was important to address because we need to change the future of our community. We want to take action on problems that need to be solved. Global warming is a huge problem that our planet is facing. It is very important that we increase the amount of oxygen, while reducing the carbon dioxide that we leave behind. As people living in an urban area, we produce a large amount of carbon dioxide into the air. We think by building more green spaces in our city, more carbon dioxide will be scrubbed from the air.

Carbon Catchers

PS 30

2020 FINALIST

The problem in our community is the carbon emissions produced by transportation vehicles. School busses are releasing too much carbon dioxide on our school grounds.Our school has multiple busses that provide daily transportation to our students. In addition, our school is down the block from a NJ Transit bus parking lot. When school buses pick up or drop off kids they are releasing carbon dioxide emissions. If we don’t help our planet now our future generations won’t survive. People would have to wear masks wherever they go. If we look outside the sky will be all black, or gray from the carbon dioxide gases in the atmosphere. These greenhouse gases, or CO2 is like a big blanket for the earth, too much of it can cause our earth to heat up. We need carbon dioxide to survive, carbon dioxide helps the earth not freeze, but too much is not good.

The Mustang STEAM Team

PS 38

2020 FINALIST

Our team has identified dependence on fossil fuels for daily use of electric appliances and lights in our school and surrounding community. Our team thought it was important to address sustainable energy for our neighborhood because fossil fuels are becoming scarce, and science has shown that there are serious repercussions from the overuse of fossil fuel on our environment.

Submissions for Grades 6 ‑ 8

SA Team

PS 24

Heat stress occurs when too much heat is absorbed by a person, plant, or an animal. This is a problem for urban areas like Jersey City; residents may experience heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Our team addressed this sustainability issue by using cooling vest and other cooling clothing. The
cooling vests will make people feel less hot. The cooling vest will be designed to lower or stabilize body temperature and make exposure to warm climates or environments more bearable.

Cyber Panthers

MS 40

2020 FINALIST

Pollution is a recurring problem in Jersey City. We believe that this is a problem because pollution not only makes our city look bad but it also affects our health. We also want to beautify our neighborhood and add biodiversity. Our final product will address all those issues; we will break down plastic water bottles, melt them down and form building materials for our “Bio-Box.” The “Bio-Box” is a planter box that will beautify our neighborhood, add biodiversity and sustainability by planting various plants that can either attract pollinators or provide food to the members of the community. We calculated that we will remove 1,400 plastic water bottles with each “Bio-Box” that is created.

The Corbots

PS 37

Experts say that we could run out of oil in 53 years and coal in 100 years. In order to raise awareness of alternative and renewable energy, we designed a shoe that generates electricity to charge creates direct electric power to charge devices like cell phones. The shoe uses a dynamo which is a device that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. Ideally, the shoe must generate enough energy to charge phones or electric scooters.

Aeroponics 28

PS 28

2020 FINALIST

Fertilizer has chemicals that has a negative effect on our air and soil and is harmful to us and our environment. Our team wanted to come up with a solution to grow plants without using fertilizer. The goal was to create an portable aeroponic system that reduces our carbon footprint. We found that by using mist with the proper nutrients, we can grow herbs and vegetables. Our portable system allows people to take it home and share it with others. This is an issue that is important to our community because many students in our school do not have access to backyards where planting herbs are vegetables are possible. 

 

The Global Honey Bees

PS 5

Due to the effects of climate change on biodiversity. the bee population is rapidly declining. Pollination is the primary source of approximately 80% of the worlds’ food sources. Our project’s objective consists of attracting more pollinators to urban areas like Jersey City through vegetation in our school garden, constructing organic makeshift hives to house the bees in the hopes of establishing a sustainable environment and assisting in pollination via a miniature drone.

Eco First Responders

PS 17

2020 FINALIST

Jersey City is a densely populated urban area that experiences widespread littering in streets. Plastic pollution and other kinds of waste contribute
to high carbon dioxide emissions. Our team will attempt to solve is waste management in public spaces.Our project aims to reduce pollutants from the air, soil and water. Through our eco-friendly sustainable bench, we were successful in filtering out carbon dioxide as well as other chemicals in the air. We diverted waste from landfills while providing a low-cost architectural solution that benefits the citizens and helps the environment simultaneously.

Energy Warriors

MS 7

2020 FINALIST

Our school spends a lot of energy in heating and cooling the classrooms. This
energy comes at a financial cost, and it also releases a carbon dioxide into
the atmosphere. Our team designed a window covering model that reduces the ability of UV light to penetrate the window. The window film greatly decreases room temperature.

Wizards Raise the Roof

MS 4

Our team is tackling the issue of climate change by growing gardens for butterflies, bumble bees and food for human consumption on our school’s rooftop garden. The project includes an abundance of plants, flowers, vegetables, and trees to help clean the air and attract pollinators. The garden will serve as a wellness space for all of our middle school students where they can connect with nature and the natural world.

Academy 1 to the World

Academy 1

2020 FINALIST

The Academy 1 STEAM team identified a major problem in our school with the amount of food that is thrown away on a daily basis. After data collection and research, the STEAM team came to find that during two lunch periods, approximately ten pounds of fruits and vegetables are thrown away every day. This food waste goes into garbage bags which eventually end up in landfills. The STEAM team decided this problem had a very actionable solution, so they set out to design a ‘self-contained’ composting bin which could be easily constructed by other schools, not only Jersey City, but throughout New Jersey and hopefully the country.

Submissions for Grades 9 ‑ 12

DHS Environmentalists

Dickinson High School

2020 Finalist

The neighborhood is polluted we wrote a song in order to promote green energy and the proper steps to reach sustainable Jersey City Via Climate Action. Following in the steps of Greta. Everywhere in Jersey City there’s a variety of pollution. We are very musical and wanted to incorporate the A in STEAM by writing the lyrics and performing our green anthem Vie de Verde.

Green Thumbs

Ferris High School

2020 Finalist

James J. Ferris High School has numerous unused courtyards and outdoor grassy areas. Unfortunately some of these areas are an eyesore; littered and unattractive to look at. At the same time, students are in need of areas they can safely gather, eat lunch and socialize in. The team feels the inability to use and enjoy these available outdoor areas is a big school problem. Their goal is to clean, restore and beautify an area and turn it into a community garden. The “Ferris Community Garden” will be a public space that can be used and enjoyed by the entire school community. The team also decided this will be a great opportunity to teach the school about sustainability. The community garden will include benches made from recycled wood, a composter, recycle bins, flower beds, and an herb garden.

To Infinity and Beyond

Infinity Institute

We are working to address the lack of biodiversity in the Greenville section of Jersey City.  This problem is important to address because an increase in biodiversity in a region typically corresponds to an increase in the overall health of the region. We plan to establish a community garden in front of our school building that will have wildflowers, bird feeders, and seek to encourage various species of flora and fauna to visit and establish roots in our area. 

Carbon Free Road

Innovation High School

2020 Finalist

In New Jersey, 16 percent of its carbon emissions come from the electricity generating sector, but about 42 percent comes from transportation. Speeding and unnecessary acceleration reduces mileage by up to 33%, wastes gas and money, and increases carbon emissions. Our plan is to create a speed limit sign with flashing LED lights and a message on an LED display under the speed limit sign. Behind the speed limit sign, we can add the barcode to our website for more information.

Team Liberty

Liberty High School

2020 Finalist

As humans continue to build and develop new structures, urban areas are becoming more and more crowded with fewer spaces for local flora and fauna. Increasing populations within these urban areas bring more carbon emissions from cars/industries, higher rates of resource usage, higher temperatures and fewer green spaces. Our team has focused on finding ways to maximize plant cover while utilizing existing structures and finding new places to incorporate plant life into our urban landscape. It is increasingly important to include plants in our urban planning as face worsening environmental situations such as flooding, carbon emissions, and pollution in our local urban areas.

McNair Green Team

McNair Academic High School

2020 Finalist

Climate change will have a severe impact on Jersey City, increasing the number of flooding events and damage from more powerful storms. Increases in sea level are also expected causing some areas to become permanently flooded. Stronger storms and flooding will put more people in harm’s way. People can get hurt, lose their homes or cars, and have to be relocated. Just like we saw with Sandy, school and work time will be lost. It will be a financial burden for everyone. We will try to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases being emitted. We will carry out three campaigns:
1. Set up a recycling program at school
2. Carry out a No Idling campaign at school
3. Have a Day of Action where faculty, staff, and students pledge to not take their car to school on that day and take public transportation instead.

Snyder Tigers

Snyder High School

Our goal is to reduce CO2 concentration in the atmosphere and help to beautify our school and community at the same time. Students are researching vertical gardening, watering systems, and types of plants that remove a lot of CO2 from the air and are best to grow in these gardens. The plants need to meet the following criteria: be good CO2 users, be useful in terms of providing an aesthetically appealing look and/or food. Various design shapes for the wall gardens will be made to accommodate different wall shapes and sizes. The students will also create a plan for community outreach out thru parent/teacher organizations, local church/religious organizations to explain the importance of reducing CO2 levels in the atmosphere and eventually offer start up kits for vertical gardens that will work in their spaces in the city.