CSO Runoff Projects Win Prizes From Greenprint Akron at APS SMT Expo

By Cindy Pantea

Saturday, January 24, 2015, I had the pleasure of attending the 59th Annual Science, Math and Technology Expo (SMT Expo) at North High School. My job was as a volunteer sponsor judge tasked with picking winning projects that addressed Action Areas listed in Greenprint for Akron, a KAB facilitated program.

I worked with three outstanding individuals with different areas and levels of environmental expertise. These judges were:

  1. Carl Safreed, P.E., Air Pollution Control Division of the Canton City Health Department, who has also worked for the Environmental Protection Agency,
  2. Katie Dye of GOJO Industries, Inc., a company that was a Summit of Sustainability Awards winner in 2013 and known for their commitment to sustainability, Katie is also a KAB Board Member, and
  3. Kevin Lockett of Lockett Media, APS Substitute Teacher, KAB Board Member and Member of Summit of Sustainability Awards Committee

The judges were completely impressed with all the well-spoken, knowledgeable students at the SMT Expo, some of whom would get us sidetracked from time-to-time with their interesting projects that were out of our particular criteria, like “The Antibacterial Effect of Green Coconut Water,” a project by a student with the last name of Tankersley, from STEM, under the direction of Coach Hanna.

Choosing the Akron Greenprint Sponsor Winners

cso runoff project winners greenprint akron

We were able to return to the task at hand and chose three Greenprint Akron projects winners. As it so happened, the winning projects all dealt with the combined sewer overflow issue that our Akron community has been facing.

solutions for neighborhood cso runoff science project winner akronThe first place Greenprint for Akron $250 award went to Abby Strobel, 7th grade, National Inventors Hall of Fame (S.T.E.M. Learning). She developed her winning project under the supervision of Coach Justiss.

csi elimination stepsIn her project, Rain, Rain, Go Away; Neighborhood Solutions for CSO Runoff, Abby designed a permeable concrete drain and gave solutions for eliminating overflow in her neighborhood. She also left a good impression on judges as she answered questions about the waterways research conducted in the city of Philadelphia and noted the fact that Toronto Canada is at least one area of the world that is way ahead in rectifying runoff issues, as they have removed downspouting and incorporated changes for effective runoff. She also was able to recognize words such as bioswales and rain gardens – words that she came across in her research.

The second place $100 Greenprint award went to Deanna Green, a Buchtel High School CLC 10th grader in Coach Grindall’s class.  SMT Deanna She won with a project entitled, Rerouting Water: A CSO Dilemma. The judges were impressed with Deanna’s pictures, which showed actual runoff, as well as her scientific experimentation and acquired knowledge. She has been interested in the CSO issue ever since meeting and learning about the dilemma from City of Akron Deputy Service Director, Phil Montgomery.

The third place $50 Akron Greenprint award went to Cyanne Dabney, also a Buchtel High School CLC 10th grader in Coach Grindall’s class. Working also in the CSO dilemma topic area, Dabney used the runoff soil to start radish seeds in her project grow seed in cso runoff soil akron science greenprintentitled: How Fast Can a Radish Seed Grow in Polluted Soil: A CSO Dilemma. Dabney explained to judges that she would like to take the project a step further to see the radishes grow to harvest and document growth pattern.

On a side note, I had the pleasure of speaking with Coach Grindall’s assistant coach and mother, who is also a retired school teacher. She was so excited for Deanna and Cyanne and mentioned that they knew absolutely nothing about CSO runoff when they started their projects and ended up turning into CSO runoff experts.They were impressively well-versed on the subject.

Greenprint Sponsor Judges Notation

Speaking of impressive, the judges wanted to note that it wasn’t an easy decision at all to pick three winners at the SMT Expo. In fact, there were other favorites that had to do with Greenprint Action Areas in the running, and we thought you should know. These included:

  • Tabitha Anderson, Firestone HS, Coach Spak, “Microbially Influenced Corrosion” – a positive, bubbly student who worked with University of Akron professors on her project, appreciating every minute of this higher learning, and looking forward to majoring in microbiology at college.
  • Gabe DiFiore, National Inventors Hall of Fame STEM – MS, Coach Crews, “Water Absorption in Plants,” who put together a very impressive project that caught attention of judges.
  • Jeremiah Green Lewis, Litchfield MS, Coach Greene, “Filtration Frustration,” a thoughtful, smart young man who, in his project, contaminated distilled water and then used ionization and chlorination techniques to filter the contamination and compared this with untreated distilled water. Jeremiah is interested in environmental science as well as concerned about water quality.
  • Mica Heffner, Litchfield MS, Coach Greene, “Microbial Levels: Ponds vs Lakes,” who was excited to share her project, also mentioning that she learned time-management skills while doing the project, and was surprised to learn just how dirty lakes actually are.
  • Grace Julien, National Inventors Hall of Fame STEM – MS, Coach Kaffen, “The Effect of Green Roofs on Interior Temperature,” another positive student who enjoyed making her green roofs and comparing them for her project.
  • Maria McNutt, Litchfield MS, Coach Greene, “Litter Getter,” a bright student who knew her litter information gained by researching online and actually getting out there to compare litter in different parks around town. She definitely did a project that is close to our hearts here at KAB!
  • Nathaniel Slosson, Buchtel CLC – MS, Coach Starvaggi, “Solar Panels,” who spent time researching and gaining knowledge to share with judges about solar energy.
  • Selena Turner, National Inventors Hall of Fame STEM – HS, Coach Hanna, “Which type of roofing material is the most energy efficient,” who built bird houses, each one containing a different roofing material, and compared their heat and cool down times.
  • Audry Wytczyoczowski and Madison Wallace, Hyre CLC, Coach Hardwick, “How does different kinds of cigarette smoke affect bean plant growth?” Both students were interested in taking this project further and seemed to really enjoy their learning process on the subject matter. They are completely against smoking as it adds negatively to air pollution.

These are still just a fraction of the well-thought-out projects from our outstanding Akron students, coached by our superior teachers and all coming together through the dedication of Dr. Katrina Halasa and an army of helpers. We invite you to check out more pictures in our album on Facebook.

APS Science Fair Projects Address Issues Covered by Greenprint for Akron

by Cindy Pantea

Greenprint for Akron Executive Summary 2012

Click on the picture to read the 2012 Greenprint for Akron Executive Summary or follow the link to our Greenprint for Akron web page.

At The 57th Annual Akron Public Schools (APS) 2013 Science, Math, and Technology Expo held at North High School on Saturday, January 26, 2013, three volunteer judges spent 4.5 hours selecting projects that addressed issues covered in the Greenprint for Akron sustainability goals and climate change strategies for the government and the community.

Carl Safreed, P.E., Air Pollution Control Division of the Canton City Health Department, as well as Terry Reagan and Kevin Lockett, two Keep Akron Beautiful Board members who serve on the Greenprint Task Force, were the judges. They decided on a first, second and third place winner out of the 589 science projects created by middle and high school students.

Greenprint for Akron Award Winners Selected

Antonia Bruno, a 7th grader from Miller South School for Visual and Performing Arts. Antonia developed her winning project, entitled “The Ethanol Project,” under the supervision of teacher, Tina Lattimer. About her project results, Antonia commented, “Just because I didn’t get the results I was looking for doesn’t mean I won’t try again.  We can’t give up on trying to make the world a greener place.” Her prize was $250 from Greenprint for Akron.

Greenprint for Akron logoJacob Lormer, a 7th grader from Dr. Morgan Greene’s science class at Litchfield Middle School took second place. He won with, “The Effects of Grass Killers on Grass,” a project that will directly help Keep Akron Beautiful in bed preparation for urban Flowerscapes sites this spring. Jacob’s prize was $100 from Greenprint for Akron.

Mikala Warner, an 8th grader at the National Inventors Hall of Fame (S.T.E.M. Learning) School, took third place. She worked with Coach Sharon Kaffen to develop her project called Air Pollution in Akron. For this project, Mikala tested the levels of pollution in downtown Akron, in a residential area, and in a city park and found that downtown is the most polluted. Her work won her the $50 Greenprint for Akron award.

A big thank you to the judges and, of course, the students for participating in the event. The Green Ribbon Panel from the City of Akron is encouraged and impressed that these middle and high school students are identifying local environmental problems and investigating solutions at their young age.

For more about the APS Science, Math and Technology Expo, visit http://www.akronschools.com/departments/ci/teaching-and-learning/science/science-fair/.

Greenprint for Akron is a program facilitated by Keep Akron Beautiful.



Video: The Summit of Sustainability Awards 2012 Keynote Speaker

by Cindy Pantea

Keep Akron Beautiful has been sharing with you the sustainability efforts of all the applicants of The Summit of Sustainability Awards (SOSA) 2012 for awhile now. We are so impressed with how these Akron businesses are doing so much for the environment and the community! Although we still have about seven more emerging businesses in sustainability to share with you, we wanted to take a little break here to share a video taken at the SOSA ceremony (shot by Chris Miller, Akron Digital Media Center). The video is the presentation, Reinventing Fire, by SOSA keynote speaker, Elaine Gallagher Adams of Rocky Mountain Institute.

Whether you are a business, a city official, or a community member, we hope you are as inspired about doing your part to save energy as her words made all of us in attendance. We also hope it makes you really think about the answers to these questions: Do you really know from where energy comes? When you throw something away…where is away? When it comes to sustainability, are you just going the easy route, or are you really challenging yourself with big goals? Do you use the fifth fuel?

Please enjoy…

The Summit of Sustainability Awards is a part of Greenprint for Akron, which is  facilitated by Keep Akron Beautiful. For more information, visit http://www.summitofsustainability.org/.

KAB Recognizes Other Emerging Businesses in Sustainability Part 5

by Cindy Pantea

Summit of Sustainability Awards are facilitated by Keep Akron Beautiful

The Summit of Sustainability Awards is a part of Greenprint for Akron which is facilitated by Keep Akron Beautiful.

Wow — read the sustainability efforts of these three nonprofits, which include two residential communities! What are you and your neighbors doing for the environment? Are you cleaning up your dog’s waste, realizing the importance of not littering and participating in recycling efforts? Maybe these folks will inspire you to do that and more:

Habitat for Humanity (nonprofit) – Because they care about the environment, this nonprofit is continually working with its partners to improve the quality of the building process and the homes they build. Their sustainability accomplishments include:

  • Building all ENERGY STAR® rated homes (and since 2010, the affiliate has been designated a Green Builder for complying with Northeastern Ohio Green Building Institute Standard)
  • Building healthy buildings with good indoor air quality by using natural and non-toxic building products, installing energy efficient windows that reduce condensation and thereby reduce moisture and mold, sealing holes to prevent air leakage, ensuring proper ventilation for HVAC systems, and designing energy efficient plumbing that makes water conservation a priority.
  • Using materials with recycled content and applying building methods that minimize waste.
  • Opening a ReStore in 2007, which has recently been expanded, that sells building materials and home furnishings at 50% to 90% off retail prices – this not only diverts an estimated 300 tons of perfectly good materials from landfills each year but also has generated $2 million in income that was then reinvested into the organization.
  • Recycling a perfectly useful building across from Rolling Acres mall, which enabled them to also consolidate building operations, the Restore and administrative offices into one building.
  • Increasing efforts to help sustain local communities; for example, Habitat’s Deconstruction Program helps divert demolition debris from landfills and “A Brush with Kindness” helps low-income homeowners spruce up the look of their existing homes.

Laurel Lake Retirement Center (nonprofit) – This retirement community has been educating their 450 residents (average age of 82) in the concept of Sustainability and the practice of Recycling. Their efforts include:

  • Working with Summit /Akron Solid Waste Management Authority on plastic and paper recycling.
  • Collecting and re-using building materials salvaged from an abundance of re-modeling projects.
  • Using only energy-saving plumbing and electrical fixtures (including wall switches with motion/infrared sensors, where appropriate, CFSs in the common areas, fluorescent fixtures with electronic ballasts, LED exit signs).
  • Using only Energy-Star rated appliances.
  • Upgrade all air filters in all HVAC units withMerv-8 filters.
  • Instituting a CFL conversion program for residents’ lighting fixtures.
  • Involving Hudson area Eagle Scouts in the building of bridges and walk-ways on Laurel Lake’s 5 miles of nature trails.
  • Introducing a composting program for food refuse.
  • Introducing dog waste stations to avert ground water contamination.
  • Running a year-around Garage Sale open to the whole Hudson area to aid in the re-use of household furniture and equipment.
  • Completing an analysis of both gas and electricity bills over a 12 month period to aid in the establishment of the Laurel Lake Retirement Community Carbon Footprint.
  • Shared their activities with “Good Day in Hudson” cable television program to educate others.
  • Installed walk-off mats at each entrance to catch air contaminants.
  • Purchase supplies in all areas in bulk to reduce container trash.
  • Reduce lawn area with low maintenance plantings.

Hampton Wood Condominium Inc. (nonprofit) – Consisting of 304 units on approximately 70 hilly acres that contain 16-17 acres of grass, it is the largest complex in Summit County. Environmental efforts at Hampton Wood began with one resident and grew into a team effort. Keeping residents and park neighbors in mind, the association’s board of directors included an environmental policy in the 2010 revision of their rules and regulations and is the only known complex in Ohio to have such a formally stated environmental policy.  As a result, improvements in sustainability over the past two years are:

  • Reducing pollution and fuel consumption for lawn maintenance.
  • Switching to organic pond treatments in lieu of chemicals.
  • Incorporating native species and wildlife friendly species in landscaping projects.
  • Initiating paper and aluminum recycling measures where there were none.
  • Recycling trimmings and storm damage to flora for mulch, then purchasing that mulch.
  • Reducing electricity usage for outdoor lighting.

On behalf of Keep Akron Beautiful – Greenprint for Akron, thank you to Habitat for Humanity, Laurel Lake Community Center, and Hampton Wood Condominum for participating in the 2012 Summit of Sustainability Awards.

We’ll be soon launching the beginning of the 2013 Summit of Sustainability Awards and will have two new categories: Businesses with less than 10 employees or less and a Governmental and/or Neighborhood Association. Visit http://www.summitofsustainability.org/ homepage for more info. Is your business ready to share sustainability efforts?