1. 4 Tech Tools That Will Make Your College Experience Greener

    Posted on June 26, 2012 by Courtney

    Please welcome today’s guest poster, Lauren Bailey.

    Whether you’re about to start your first year of college or are already a jaded senior or master’s candidate, there is no better time than the present to make sure you’re doing all you can to match your educational goals with your environmental ones. If you care about preserving the environment and are also a student, there are some special things you can do to lower your environmental impact. Check out these tech tools that will help you make your college experience that much greener:  Read more…

  2. 6 Green Tactics for College Students

    Posted on January 11, 2012 by Courtney

    Please welcome today’s guest poster, Brenda Ortega.

    “It’s not easy being green,” according to Kermit the Frog. You’d think old Kermie was trying to retain his eco-friendly beliefs while away at college and not just referring to his frogginess. Green-friendly students often struggle, unable to afford organic produce and waste-reducing devices on a meager student budget. However, the good news is that even though you might not be able to afford to purchase all organic hair products and hemp clothing, there are still some very affordable ways for students to go green on a struggling student budget:  Read more…

  3. Packing a Green Lunch

    Posted on July 27, 2011 by Courtney

    Believe it or not, it won’t be long until that school bus will be pulling into your neighborhood, ready to take the kids off for another year of school. Every parent knows that kids need a nutritious lunch, whether they buy it at school or bring it with them, but here’s a little secret: Kids aren’t the only ones who need to eat healthy! Maybe you’re a teacher who doesn’t want to rely on the school cafeteria for your lunch, or maybe you go to an office every day and want to save a few bucks by bringing your own food to work. Any way you slice it, here are five green tips to keep in mind when you’re packing lunches:  Read more…

  4. Interesting Environmental Degree Programs

    Posted on March 23, 2011 by Courtney

    Please welcome today’s guest poster, Brian Jenkins.

    Aspiring environmentalists have an array of degree programs to choose from. Some interesting programs are available at schools across the nation, while others are currently only provided by a few scattered schools. Let’s take a look at some of the programs out there.  Read more…

  5. GreenSmart Bags (And A Giveaway!)

    Posted on September 8, 2010 by NPW

    Every year around the end of August I get myself all in a tizzy about finding a new bag to bring to school. I have very specific needs and wants; it has to be big enough to lug around six classes worth of research projects, plus my gradebook, lunch, water bottle, and professional review magazines. I need to be able to carry my laptop when traveling. It needs to have enough compartments for writing utensils, hair ties, flash drives, and keys. The strap needs to be long enough that I can carry it slung low by my waist, but it also needs to be adjustable, because I am nothing if not totally fickle.

    This August I received an email from GreenSmart asking me if I would like to review their bags. Despite my intense bag requirements I agreed to try them out. And since the people at GreenSmart are lovely they sent me not one, but TWO of their recycled bags to test. I chose to use the Baringo messenger bag as my school bag because it’s spacious and comfortable to wear, plus it came to me in a snazzy blue with orange interior. I’ve already had compliments from a bunch of teachers! But the best part about this bag, in my opinion, is that it was made using 31 plastic bottles that were broken down and made into fabric.

    They even have a breakdown of how 100% of the fabric is made from plastic bottles. Fascinating! And surprisingly soft.


    No joke, I told my principal about the recycling process after he complimented me on the bag and I could practically see the admiration sparkling in his eyes. Way to make me look good, GreenSmart!

    But the love didn’t stop there. I also tested out the Mandrill backpack (in olive) during our long weekend trip up to Maine. It seemed to be a great size for travel and has a separate back compartment for your laptop, which always comes in handy. This bag uses an even 40 plastic bottles to create the interior and exterior fabrics. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a good-looking bag, either!

    Because they are delightful, the people of GreenSmart have agreed to give away one of their awesome bags to one lucky winner. All you have to do is check out their website and leave a comment about which of their products would suit your green lifestyle best! Please also mention which color you would prefer, unless you want me picking for you (I mean, we all know I have awesome taste).

    One person will be selected at random from the comments section. Comments that will be included in the contest will close on Wednesday, Sepember 15th, 2010, at 11:59 pm, EST. Good luck!

  6. 10 Environmental Studies Programs You Should Know About

    Posted on July 28, 2010 by Courtney

    Image credit: Colby College, http://www.flickr.com/photos/72098626@N00/2100990080

    It’s hard to believe, but it won’t be long before the kiddos are zipping their backpacks and heading back to school. If you or your son or daughter is in high school, have you given any thought to college majors? There are all kinds of schools out there that offer all kinds of degrees, but for someone who wants to take eco-friendliness into a career, the time is now to start looking at what colleges offer the best environmental studies programs.

    Fiske Guides are a popular resource for researching the schools that offer the best programs for what you want to do with your career. Here are 10 environmental studies programs in the United States that should be on your radar, according to the Fiske Guides: Read more…

  7. Easy Green Fundraisers

    Posted on February 15, 2010 by NPW

    Even though Massachusetts public schools are on February break this week, another teacher friend and I were discussing our respective Green Teams and just how into it the kids are. So many kids want to take responsibility for their own planet that it warms even my jaded little teacher heart. At the beginning of this year, for example, the Green Team installed three different recycling bins in the cafeteria for cans and plastic bottles, one for each grade (sixth, seventh, and eighth). Each week, the grade that recycles the most cans gets to play music during their lunch period and students get to enter to be the DJ for their lunch period. They call it Tunes at Noon and it’s been a huge success.

    Just this week I heard about another program that not only lets the kids have that feeling of responsibility, but also makes money for the school. NSTAR Energy has been promoting their Change A Light, Change The World Fundraiser, and it couldn’t be easier. NSTAR provides energy-efficient bulbs at no cost, and students sell them as a fundraiser. Not only does the school get 100% of the proceeds, but students are also convincing people to switch to energy-efficient bulbs.

    According to the NSTAR website, “The program includes of a kick-off event, educating students on energy-saving light bulbs and energy conservation. The event will also provide the students with an overview of the fundraising program, as well as explain the benefits of saving energy and how the money earned can benefit your school. The students are then encouraged to spread the word on energy conservation and sell the energy-efficient light bulbs provided by NSTAR.” I think the program sounds pretty amazing, especially for school districts that are less affluent and have less access to education on energy efficiency.

    Next week I plan on emailing NSTAR’s contact person to find out more about this program and see if my school’s Green Team would be interested in participating. For right now though, I think I’ll just enjoy my week-long vacation from the darling kidlets.

  8. Eco-Friendly Gifts For Your Kid’s Teacher

    Posted on December 21, 2009 by NPW


    It’s that time of year again! You know, the time of year when you start to have an anxiety attack every time you think about how close it is to the holidays and how little shopping you’ve actually done. Over the past few weeks I’ve been reading increasingly frantic blog posts and tweets from people wondering what to get their kid’s teacher or daycare provider. And as a teacher myself, I am here to fill you in on the gifts that do not go immediately into the trash (I’m looking at you, Coca-Cola tree ornament!) or contribute directly to the tightening of our jeans (that means you, delicious homemade baked goods!).

    There are so many great eco-friendly gifts available now that it’s really easy to choose something fun, practical, and green. The CupKozy is a great gift for the coffee and tea drinking teachers out there. Because there is nothing worse than waking up at 5:30 a.m. and braving the nasty weather without a warm beverage to escort you into your classroom. Feeling cheap just getting this? Throw in a gift card to your local coffee shop and your kid’s teacher will love you for life.


    Next up, these super cute rhino erasers from Priscilla Woolworths. Who doesn’t love having wildlife to erase errant pencil marks throughout the day? Plus they also come in polar bear and gorilla shapes, and I know I would personally love to have that trio sitting on my desk.


    Feel like doing it up with something homemade? As a library teacher, I think these Book Page Wreaths are a fantastic idea and the personal touch would make receiving one extra special. Especially if someone used old school Nancy Drew books to make it!


    Maybe you don’t know this about schools, but they are constantly running out of things like paper towels for the faculty bathroom. I’ve taken to bringing in dish towels with me so that I can wash my hands without then having to wipe my hands on my skirt on the way back into class. I would love to get some super cute new towels like this Velo Tea Towel from Branch. Read more…

  9. Does Your Kid Ride The Bus?

    Posted on October 26, 2009 by NPW


    If your child is like millions of other students, they ride that big yellow school bus to and from school every day. And it’s helpful, right? At the very least it’s a cheaper and more effective mode of transportation than hiring a chauffeur to bring your kid home. Although, now that I think of it, I kind of wish my parents had hired a Bentley complete with a jaunty-hat driver to wheel me around my tiny little New Hampshire town when I was growing up. It probably would have fit my personality better than the indignity of being squashed into that set with the wheel well sticking up into it.

    Anyway, the yellow school bus is a time-honored tradition for school children everywhere and it seems to be the best way to get hoards of kids places all at once. But what about when your child is not on the bus? Back when I was in middle school I know the school buses sat idling in the driveway for up to a half hour, while the bus drivers sat smoking, chatting, and waiting for the last bell of the day to release the kidlets into the wild. Nowadays there’s not so much smoking going on, but still the noxious fumes are being emitted from the school buses exhaust pipes as they sit parked but running.

    At my school, the Green Team pondered this problem for a while before asking the bus company to stop the idling. There were a few factors to consider: turning the heat on at an appropriate time in the cold winter months, allowing time for the older buses to warm up, etc. But they did agree to keep it to a minimum and to stop the idling all together while parked in the school driveway.

    It was especially easy to get the bus companies to agree to this when we figured out how much they could save in costs and fuel. Using the EPA’s Fuel Saving Calculator, we presented the bus company with these stats: with 10 buses, if we cut idling time by 15 minutes a day, we would be saving them 225 gallons of fuel and $900 per year. Crazy, right? And pretty effective in business terms, I might add. In addition, my school district just this year had all their buses retrofitted for biodiesel, which should also help them both save money and produce less exhaust.

    So try it out in your school district. It might seem like a small thing, but the more districts we can get to agree to this, the less toxicity we are releasing into the atmosphere.

    Or, you know, hire that Bentley. Either way.

  10. Back to School: Reusable Bags

    Posted on August 31, 2009 by NPW


    Ah, school days. Hands down, the best part about going back to school every year is,  stocking up on new school supplies. Even now, as a thirty year old librarian, the look of freshly sharpened pencils and crisp, clean notebook paper gives me shivers of anticipation. It’s fall! It’s time to learn things! And we are going to do it in style.

    Read more…

Tip of the Day

If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It


According to Real Simple, if every American made an effort to launder less — cutting out just one load of laundry a week per household — we’d save enough water to fill seven million swimming pools each year.

So if it looks clean, and it smells clean, call it clean and wear it again. Consider hanging worn clothes out on your clothesline to freshen them up between wearings.

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