Dream in Green is excited to announce a new collaboration with Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava and her team to support Miami-Dade County District 8 K-12 schools’ ‘green’ initiatives in the 2016-2017 academic year. District 8 includes Palmetto Bay, Cutler Bay, Homestead, Redland, the Falls, Princeton, Naranja, Leisure City and parts of West Kendall. Since the beginning of her term Commissioner Levine Cava has voiced her concern over the environmental issues facing South Florida. As a Chair of the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) Growth Management, Agriculture & Environment Committee, the Commissioner has advocated for preserving Florida’s waters including our aquifers and the Everglades. In 2016 she received the FAC Presidential Advocacy Award for her role in fighting against pro-fracking legislation that would prevent local governments from protecting their water supply. The Commissioner also sponsored legislation for the second 5-year GreenPrint sustainability plan for Miami-Dade County, pushed for County collaboration with the State on environmental restoration of Biscayne Bay, and sponsored a nearly 50 acre expansion of Biscayne National Park.
At the start of the academic year, Commissioner Levine Cava will help Dream in Green actively recruit K-12 schools to participate in the organization’s flagship environmental education program, the Green Schools Challenge. The program’s goal is to develop sustainable behaviors by engaging students, teachers and school administration staff in designing and implementing environmental solutions at their schools. Students are encouraged to complete hands-on monthly challenge activities that save energy and water for the school while also teaching the school community about the links between energy, water, waste, the environment, climate change and community sustainability. Since 2007, the Green Schools Challenge has helped Miami-Dade County Public Schools save approximately $2.3 million in energy costs, 23.2 million kilowatt hours and 35.3 million pounds of carbon emissions, the equivalent of taking 2,624 homes off the electricity grid for an entire year.
“Sustainability begins with education and with the youth of this community,” said Commissioner Levine Cava. “I am excited to partner with Dream in Green to bring their engaging program to schools in South Dade.”
In September 2016, Commissioner Levine Cava will be one of the guest speakers at Dream in Green’s professional development training workshop to address climate change and policy. This training brings together the teachers that will be spearheading the implementation of the 2016-17 Green Schools Challenge in their schools. Throughout the year, the Commissioner and her support staff, including Youth Advisor Christian Grossenbacher, will work together with Dream in Green staff, Executive Director Karla Utting, Program Manager Natalia Arias, and WE-LAB Program Coordinator Alexandra Ender, to provide guidance to Green Team members on the implementation of ‘green’ initiatives.
In addition to supporting the implementation of the Green Schools Challenge, the Commissioner will help Dream in Green facilitate WE-LAB workshops in District 8 cities. The Water and Energy Learning and Behavior (WE-LAB) program aims to encourage water and energy saving behaviors through money saving actions. To date, WE-LAB has helped community residents save 1.7 million gallons of water and 225 million kilowatt hours equating to over $40,000 in utility costs savings.
Commissioner Levine Cava and Dream in Green are eager to empower citizens of District 8 to respond to environmental challenges and make a positive impact in their community.