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Students implement green roof idea at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School

Posted by Brock Parker  August 1, 2013 05:01 PM

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Armanie Deleon, foreground, works with fellow students Cambridge's Rise Up program to plant a green roof at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School Thursday. Photo by Brock Parker.

An idea by high school students to promote green roofs locally as a way to address climate change has now begun to take root at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School.

For the past week, about 20 students in Rise Up, a transitional program for students about to begin high school, have been working to plant a green roof on the low-rising rooftop over a band room at the school.

The work is the brainchild of several students at the high school who developed a plan to promote green roofs during a Glocal Challenge competition held by EF Education First in February.

The team’s project was one of two local winners in the Glocal Challenge, which
asked students to identify a local environmental issue, research how other countries have found solutions to the problem, and then design a way to address the issue locally.

But after winning the challenge, the team didn’t stop pursuing the idea.

They teamed up with the Rise Up program to design a green roof that will use four different kinds of sedum in a landscaped design that will spell CRLS.

Zachary Spitz, 16, who will be a senior at the high school this fall, was a member of the team and said the project aims to promote green roofs as a way to reduce energy use in buildings.

“Hopefully this will be successful, all the plants will grow and we’ll be able to use this as a way to get other people to start doing green roofs,” Spitz said.

Laurraine LeCorps, a teacher for the Rise Up program, said the intent of the recently completed renovation at the high school had been to use the low-rising roof for the band room as a green roof, but no real landscaping had been done and the spot had been a kind of eyesore.

LeCorps said the Rise Up program worked with the students from the Glocal Challenge competition to implement their plan, and used the project as a way to talk about green roofs and climate change with the students in the summer program.

Armanie Deleon, 14, a student in the Rise Up program, said planting the rooftop has been a lot of work, but he’s looking forward to the end result.

“I’ll say I did it,” he said.

Andrew Miller, a co-director of Rise Up, said the roof work has been a good way to start a conversation about climate change with the students.

Shawna Sullivan, a spokeswoman for EF Education First, a for-profit company that offers academic classes and programs, said the company is pleased to see the students in the Glocal Challenge have continued working on their projects.

“We’re just really excited to see how students' innovation can turn into implementation,” she said.

She said the company plans to hold another Glocal Challenge this fall.

Work on the green roof at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School is expected to be completed next week.

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