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Kinard CARES in the News...

Kinard CARES Wins Colorado Environmental Leadership Program Bronze Video Award​


October 4, 2011


Kinard CARES was recently recognized at the Colorado Environmental Leadership Awards in Denver, Colorado on October 4th, 2011. The group won the Bronze Video Award for their production of a You Tube video geared towards spreading awareness to our school community (see video below). The Kinard CARES group found themselves in good company alongside the silver and gold video winners who were divisions of the federal government (NREL) and the State of Colorado Governor's office.

​The ELA awards are nothing new to the Poudre School District. The district has been recognized as a long time Gold Member of the Colorado Environmental Leadership Program and has received honors annually for its efforts towards environmental sustainability. This year's ELA event was hosted at the Seawell Grand Ballroom in the Denver Center for Performing Arts.

Pictured with Lynette Myers, Director of the Colorado Environmental Leadership Program, Kinard CARES students Kennedy Lee and Jayden Glover, were given the unique opportunity to attend the event along with Mr. Bergmann, CARES sponsor, and PSD department leaders, Pete Hall and John Holcombe. The students were luck enough to interact with environmental leaders from around the state including Governor John Hickenlooper and keynote speaker, Auden Schendler. Auden Schendler is the Director of Sustainability for Aspen Ski Company and author of the recent book "Getting Green Done." Not only did the girls receive personal leadership advice from Auden, but he also reference them specifically in connection with Kinard CARES as part of his keynote address in front of hundreds of environmental leaders from around the state. To learn more, click on the links below.

K​​inard CARES for Catalina Island


​Coloradoan- Nov. 11, 2011

A trip to Catalina Island gave middle school students from Kinard Core Knowledge Middle School a unique opportunity to engage in an environmental leadership program while also participating in service-learning projects to help the island community.

Twenty-five students from the Kinard CARES (Community Action Results Environment Service) program traveled to Catalina Island in November to participate in an environmental leadership program off the coast of California. The Kinard CARES program consists of students who share a common vision of raising environmental awareness while making a difference in their local community.

While on the island, students engaged in an experiential-based outdoor learning curriculum that taught them important principles about the environment. Using one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet as their classroom, students explored a giant brown kelp forest and climbed to the top of the highest mountain peaks to learn important environmental concepts.

I'm always impressed with the impact of providing students with an opportunity to engage in an authentic, outdoor learning environment,” said Chris Bergmann, Kinard teacher, who went on the trip. “These are valuable experiences and lessons that you can't get from a textbook."

While the trip was filled with adventure, it was far from a vacation. Students participated in a variety of service-learning projects to enhance the Catalina Island community.  The primary objective of the service-learning component was an ecological restoration project designed to help protect the biodiversity on the island.  Students removed invasive plant species and planted new native plants in their place as a part of the regenerative process.  Another service project taught students about healthy food choices and composting principles while working in the organic garden on the island.

In addition to learning about sustainable environmental practices, students enhanced their leadership skills and personal growth through team-building activities that included activities like ocean kayaking, a high ropes course, and night snorkeling.

Here’s what some Kinard eighth-graders say about their experiences on Catalina Island:

"Catalina had this way of sucking us in at the beginning of the day, immersing us in powerful hands-on learning, and spitting us out satisfied, more knowledgeable and begging for more," said Rebecca Hamner.

"The thing that I enjoyed the most was helping the community.  Nothing made me smile more than a job well done," said Ian O’Toole.

"This trip helped me to become aware of the impact our society has on the world and the environment," said Gianna Campana.

"While in Catalina, we were able to see life the way it is supposed to be - sustainable, regenerative, and happy.  Our goal is to bring those things to our Fort Collins community," said Rylie Lang.

"I really liked the night snorkel.  It was fun and I got the opportunity to see the animals we learned about in their natural environment,” said Ben Visee.

Kinard Students Collaborate with Community Experts to Develop LENSES Framework for Regenerative Practices​​​​​

​Sept. 27, 2011

Four students in the Kinard CARES environmental leadership class had the unique opportunity to work alongside university professors and community experts to develop a framework for sustainable & regenerative environmental practices. This workshop provided an opportunity for Kinard students to travel to the TAMASAG Conference Center in LaPorte, CO. These students were challenged to utilize authentic 21st century life skills to formulate a comprehensive view of what it means to be sustainable and regenerative in the areas of energy and education. For more information about LENSES and the workshop outcomes, download this draft of the project framework.​

Six years after being built, Kinard Middle School is the most energy efficient school in Colorado. Based on the energy use index kBtu/square foot/year, Kinard registered at 21.7 last year. The average school last year performed at 68 kBtu/sf/yr.

Living and Learning: Colorado's Green Schools

​By Grace Hood - KUNC: NPR

April. 23, 2012


Six years after being built, Kinard Middle School is the most energy efficient school in Colorado. Based on the energy use index kBtu/square foot/year, Kinard registered at 21.7 last year. The average school last year performed at 68 kBtu/sf/yr.

From Washington state to Florida to Colorado, more schools are being built with sustainability in mind. These environmentally friendly buildings take into account everything from natural lighting to water conservation—even the landscaping outside. But how does changing the physical environment impact the learning environment?

To understand this question we visited six-year-old Kinard Core Knowledge Middle School in Fort Collins. It’s the most energy efficient school in Colorado, according to Poudre School District officials. The school is also of interest to researchers like Stephanie Barr, an associate at Colorado State University’s Institute for the Built Environment.

As districts construct more sustainable schools, Barr is trying to understand how the buildings affect students. To learn what’s unique about Kinard, we first visit an empty science classroom on the second floor. It has two sets of windows along one wall.

Even on a cloudy day, natural light pours into the room.  

“The bottom set is specifically for views,” says Barr. “But then the top ones are for harvesting daylight. They combat the glare by having those louver systems.”

In order to get the light to the farthest places in the classroom away from the windows, architects used something called a solar tube, which projects light beams down from the ceiling. When it comes to natural light, Barr says some research has studied its connection to student performance in subjects like math.

“It also influences science and reading,” she says. “So if we can raise student test scores just by having a great building, I think that’s a great first step in the right direction.”

Kinard is one of six schools built from the ground up in Poudre School District with sustainable principles in mind. And so far the school’s paying off. It uses about one-third the amount of energy compared to a typical school. That’s thanks in part to Kinard’s geothermal system, which taps into the earth for heating and cooling.

But Barr says a successful green school needs to go further than just saving money.

“The building is important, but it’s just a pretty shell if it’s not integrated into curriculum and culture,” she says. “So that’s what we’re researching right now is how do you do that.”

During the typical school day of tests and prepping for statewide assessments, goals like these can easily fall to the bottom of the list for teachers. Barr says this “whole school” approach to sustainability starts at the top from school leadership setting priorities.

But it ultimately comes down to students and teachers taking the reins on projects. Global Leadership and Kinard Cares are two clubs that create projects and teach kids about sustainability.


On one recent afternoon, a half dozen middle school students belonging to Kinard Cares monitored compost and recycling bins.

“You’re witnessing first hand an active leadership role,” says Chris Bergmann, a science teacher who heads up the club. It dispatches members almost every day to monitor how food scraps are sorted into the bins during lunch.

There’s a bit of drudgery to the work, according to student Ian O’Toole. Especially when students pull this prank:

“They put everything in the plastic bag that’s see through, and they shove all their trash in it: everything, all the compost and recycling all in the bag. Then they pour their juice inside the bag so that when we reach in there we get sticky,” he says.

This spring students are taking the initiative to start a no idling campaign, targeting parents who leave their cars running in front of school. And a peak experience comes every summer for kids, who raise money to attend a one-week environmental camp on Catalina Island in California.

“Suddenly you want to do the right thing,” says Rebecca Hamner, an eighth grader in the club.

“And so that’s one of our biggest goals for the year is to make sure people feel the same way we do.”

According to Stephanie Barr it’s this type of attitude that’s critical to the long-term success of any sustainable school. Students learn and they become leaders. All of that can have a pretty profound effect on adults.

“If you have a teacher that’s leaving their lights on all the time, the energy manager can say, ‘Please turn your lights off,’ and they probably won’t. But if you have a 6th grader say, ‘Can you please turn your lights off,’ you can’t say no to that. So they are really the leaders of this change,” she says.

Barr will discuss her complete findings on “Green Schools that Teach” at the Tedx CSU conference in Fort Collins in April 2012.

Click Here to view the complete story and LISTEN to the radio broadcast.

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