Urban Environmental Program in New England
Climate Change Events
Climate Change in Springfield, MA
Groundwork Springfield, one of twenty Groundwork USA Trust communities across the United States, is an urban environmental and ecological education and employment program dedicated to change, revitalization, and transformation that will lead to a cleaner, safer, more beautiful Springfield, MA.
One of Groundwork Springfield's programs is the Green Team, which focuses both on the importance of readying youth for the green jobs of the future and preserving the earth at the same time. This project will give low-income, urban, minority children the opportunity to explore a green jobs career path, contribute to the environmental betterment of their community, and obtain the leadership skills needed to take command of their own employment pursuit. Three issues that the Green Team focuses on in Springfield include: the negative environmental consequences of urban decay; the lack of awareness among Black and Latino populations regarding how these consequences affect them and their potential role in eradicating such outcomes; and the need for economic security for low-income youth.
Since 2007, the Groundwork Springfield Green Team has planted flower gardens in a Springfield Elderly public housing complex, organized a ‘Stimulus Summit”, wrote, created and performed environmental Public Service Announcements for the local NBC Affiliate Channel 22 News, presented workshops for the What’s Bugging You? program, planted trees in Somerville, MA, and cleaned a park in Lawrence, MA. The youth of the Groundwork Springfield Green Team have all received work readiness training, and have developed their research skills. The Green Team cleaned the banks of the Connecticut River on Earth Day 2010, and cleaned a park in the North End of Springfield on the day of the Great American Cleanup 2010.
The UEP hosted "Climate Change in Urban Communities: Get Informed and Take Action" at the Springfield Library on August 11, 2010. Attendees included the Green Team youth, Patricia Moss, the Green Team’s Project Manager and City Councilman Melvin Edwards. The presentation was aimed to help broaden the Green Team youths’ knowledge of the effects of climate change on urban communities and share with them teaching tools for their community as well as resources and services to help them and their fellow Springfield residents save money while saving the environment. The Green Team plans to use what they learned, along with the materials provided, to raise awareness about urban climate change and conservation to other community groups, schools, and churches that they are involved with and to expand their many projects and accomplishments in Springfield.
Climate Change in Bridgeport, CT
"Climate Change in Urban Communities: Get Informed and Take Action" is an interactive hands-on educational presentation developed by EPA New England's Urban Environmental Program (UEP). The UEP Team recently presented this engaging and fun presentation to the City of Bridgeport's Conversation Corps, lead by Lisa Miro, Conservation Coordinator. The Conservation Corp has been working to promote recycling, clean energy use, and storm water reuse in their community since July of 2009. The youths' accomplishments include raising recycling rates in Bridgeport to approximately 18% and training to retrofit rain barrels donated by the city to help residents save on their residential water bill, and reduce storm water runoff. About one hundred youth attended the presentation given by the UEP Team on August 5, 2010 at Bridgeport City Hall. The presentation served as one of the Corp's orientation trainings to prepare incoming student workers for planned community based projects. The training included a "pre-test" to assess the audience's understanding of climate change facts, a discussion about the impacts of climate change on urban communities, group activities to reinforce the importance of water conservation, and tips on things that can be done to conserve energy and save money. The group received brochures and other materials that they will hand out to residents in their community to help raise awareness about climate change and energy conservation.