Tackling EcoDistrict Challenges with the Students of Sunnyside Environmental School


By Joshua Baker

Friday June 13th Sarah Heinicke (Executive Director) and Danielle (Governance and Development Intern) visited Sunnyside Environmental School to speak with Tara Branham’s 6-8th grade classroom for their Urban Planning Sequence. The school’s curriculum is rooted in environmental education, environmental justice, culturally responsive teaching, place-based education and service learning.These bright students shared what sustainability meant to them, what they liked about the Sunnyside neighborhood, and the connections they could make between green building and urban planning. After engaging the class in a discussion on EcoDistricts, the students were divided into groups and given EcoDistrict challenges pertaining to waste, water, community development, energy, and transportation. One challenge concerned transportation solutions for their neighborhood…

People at Sunnyside Elementary want to bike to school but everyone does not have a bike. How could the community work together to address this challenge?


This model was their solution: a covered community bike rental structure in the center of the neighborhood that used key cards to rent bikes and several other strategies to support their share system. These students are critical and creative thinkers! No doubt they will continue to foster sustainable practices and teachings in their homes and communities (maybe even starting their own EcoDistrict one day!).