“We’re hoping to inspire students to embrace cycling as a primary form of transportation,” she said. “We have fully embraced it ourselves, we think it is one of the most powerful ways of fighting pollution, obesity and community isolation all at the same time. We endeavor to practice what we preach when we work with the students, and cycling is just one of the ways that we do that.”
The program has several teaching areas, Eidelman said. One is growing organic food in an urban setting through aquaponics, a technology that merges hydroponics and aquaculture, using a tilapia fish tank as a growing bed for lettuce and other vegetables. The program also helps build compost bins, revitalize school gardens, teaches students how to make home goods themselves and contains a bike maintenance class.
On Tuesday, Flintridge Sacred Heart hosted the tour. Nancy Power, science teacher at the school, said her biology classes enjoy learning about permaculture and sustainable lawns and working in the school’s garden, weeding and squirrel-proofing the beds.
“We think it’s important it’s part of our mission for the school for the girls to be good stewards of the earth,” she said.
Ryan Bache, a sixth-grade teacher at Crestview Preparatory, said the school jumped at a chance to participate in a clean-up and restoration project at Hahamongna Watershed Park on Wednesday.
“We have a strong emphasis on philanthropy, and serving the community and the environment has a two-pronged effect,” said Bache.
Eidelman, now in her fourth year participating in the tour, said she is gratified to see students and schools beginning to be more environmentally aware.
“[Students’] knowledge of ecological sustainability has grown more sophisticated,” said Eidelman. “Plus, the facilities that we visit have embraced sustainable systems more wholeheartedly than they have in the past.”
Ultimately, Eidelman said, the students embrace a chance to learn about the environment outside of the classroom.
“They love to be outside and to work with their hands and to build something that leaves a legacy from their schools,” she said.