Two Denver Schools Receive GreenWorks! Grants from Project Learning Tree and Esurance
Denver, CO — April 16, 2009
Project Learning Tree® (PLT), the environmental education program of the American Forest Foundation, and Esurance, the direct-to-consumer auto insurance company, announced today that Lowry Elementary School in Denver and Peakview Elementary School in Centennial will receive GreenWorks! Grants to undertake service-learning projects focusing on the environment.
"These grants help support Colorado students committed to working with their community to improve their neighborhood," said Shawna Crocker, Colorado PLT coordinator. "This is the first time that Esurance has funded GreenWorks! projects in Denver, and we are very excited by their support of worthwhile projects that may not have been able to go forward otherwise."
Begun in 1992, GreenWorks! Grants give youth a chance to apply classroom learning to community projects in conjunction with environmental education training and materials that PLT provides to teachers through professional development workshops. Esurance has partnered with PLT since 2007 to bring these grants to schools in communities near its local offices.
"American children need more science education to stay competitive in the global economy and more environmental education to help protect our natural resources," said Gary Tolman, Esurance president and CEO. "Through the GreenWorks! Environmental Grants program, children get a hands-on learning opportunity that yields environmental benefits now and a lesson in environmental stewardship that will last far into the future. We are very proud to work with Project Learning Tree to make this opportunity available in a few of the communities where Esurance has offices and customers."
The projects will be completed within the next year and are as follows:
Lowry Elementary School, Denver
Veggie-Share Project students will expand their school gardening experience by installing cold frame covers to extend the growing season. They will grow vegetables from seed and donate food they grow to neighborhood families in need. The students will keep journals to document the progress of their seeds in the cold frame as well as seedlings started indoors. As vegetables mature, students will harvest, organize, label, and distribute produce to members of their community. "This project will help students make better use of the school's Victory Garden and teach them not only about life science, agriculture, and healthy lifestyles, but also about community service," said Lisa Emerson, parent volunteer and co-chair of PTO Garden Committee.
Peakview Elementary School, Centennial
Rock Hopper Garden and Nature Discovery Stations fifth-graders will apply their math skills when they design an arrangement of rocks for a dry riverbed and 3 clusters of boulders. The rocks will serve as natural benches and stepping stones adjacent to their playground, and alleviate damage caused by heavy foot traffic to a group of trees. Other classes will help create nature discovery stations such as butterfly, mason bee, and bat houses, a sundial, and an animal tracks panel. They will do research and design educational signs to describe the animals' natural habitats and needs, and to explain how a sundial works. "By giving students and teachers more structured opportunities to use the school grounds for teaching and discovery, they will become more comfortable outdoors, and gain respect and wonder for our natural world," said science teacher Laura Arndt.
Esurance, a subsidiary of White Mountains Insurance Group, Ltd. (NYSE: WTM), provides personal auto insurance direct to consumers online and through select online agents. Because of Esurance's virtually paperless online customer experience, Esurance policyholders have saved thousands of trees since the company's inception. As of first quarter 2009, Esurance has also helped plant and maintain approximately 70,000 trees by supporting a variety of urban reforestation programs. Esurance is committed to safeguarding the environment through its own operational practices, including a hybrid claims fleet and carbon offset programs for its office locations. Esurance also supports a variety of environmental organizations across the U.S. For more information about Esurance's environmental initiatives, visit www.esurance.com/company/environment.