Green Boot Camp an energetic experience

Harding Township School teacher Susan Engelsman, third from left, joined teachers from around the world as part of the Green Boot Camp experience offered by honeywell at Escondido and San Diego. From left are Tejashree Patil of India, Jim Johnson of Pennsylvania, Engelsman, John Hebrink of Iowa and Julie McCullough of Tennessee.

Escondido got in on the new energy wave in education as a host for Honeywell International’s 8th Annual Green Boot Camp. It resonated with educators from California to Vietnam, Russia to the Garden State of Nuevo Jersey.

“It was both educational and fun,” said Susan Engelsman, grades 6-8 math teacher at Harding Township School in Mt. Vernon, New Jersey. “Honeywell filled our days with a combination of speakers from the San Diego area on sustainability and related activities that explored water, wind and conservation.”

Teachers this year built rain barrels at Escondido City Hall to donate to the city’s fire department, renovated the nearby Escondido pocket park, and assembled compost boxes. Following the activities, teachers discussed their lessons.

“The activities were designed for the middle school classroom and the approach encouraged exploration, collaboration and experimentation,” Engelsman said. “We had the opportunity to test solar cars, design wind turbines and collaborate on water wheels. The activities were to be completed in our teams of five teachers and were presented in a way that was thought provoking and encouraged much discussion and sharing of ideas to complete.”

The workshop at the San Diego Gas & Electric Energy Innovation Center began on June 19 before gravitating to Escondido on June 21 for hands-on learning on topics ranging from renewable energy technologies to green building materials.

The four-day interactive sustainability workshop provides educators with the information, experience and resources to bring lessons on energy efficiency, sustainability and the environment back to their classrooms.

“It was a great model for presenting the activities in our classrooms, and my participation has made me a part of a network of professionals that love what they do and value learning for their students and for themselves,” Engelsman said.

Alongside 50 teachers from 13 countries, Engelsman participated in hands-on interactive educational experiences including assembling and building solar houses, identifying “energy vampires” and building rain barrels to donate to the City of Escondido’s fire department. Following the activities, the teachers convened to discuss how to apply the ideas and learning in their classrooms and within their respective subject areas.

“From building wind turbines to learning about renewable energy initiatives in our own state, I’ve been able to better educate my students on important topics and concepts, and I’m grateful for Honeywell’s support,” Susan Koppendrayer, Calvin Christian School teacher and past Green Boot Camp attendee, said.

“Sustainability education offers an opportunity for educators to not only share insights in the classroom, but to inspire students to take those principles out into the real world and affect change,” said John Rajchert, president of Honeywell Building Solutions.

“Honeywell Green Boot Camp arms teachers with the latest practices in renewable energy and technology innovations, so they can prepare students for the green jobs of the future,” Rajchert said.

Green Boot Camp was made possible by a grant from Honeywell Hometown Solutions, Honeywell’s corporate citizenship initiative.

The Green Boot Camp curriculum included expert-led activities such as designing and building solar houses, using watt meters to measure energy use and identify potential “energy vampires,” as well as collecting and analyzing water samples.

“The experience has left me with a renewed energy and an excitement to share what I have learned with my students and colleagues at Harding School,” Engelsman said.

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