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Students Learn More about Sustainable Features

Principal gives tours of building Students are learning more about the sustainable features at Eden Hall thanks to the PA Healthy Schools initiative and the "My Greens Challenge."

Who best to talk about sustainable features is someone who was involved in the planning process of the configuration and construction of the building. Retired Eden Hall Upper Elementary School Principal Robert Cooper led students on tours. He explained more about special sustainable features at Eden Hall which include natural lighting through skylights, and plants and trees native to Pennsylvania on the school grounds.

Fifth-grade students are prepping for a project that will have them designing a sustainable building via the challenge in GATE teachers Jennifer Kopach and Joanna Sovek's classes.  They are basically designing a sustainable school that must include plans to produce energy, provide inhabitants with food, handle waste efficiently, transport people and goods to the school, whilst ensuring that nature is welcomed and supported in your school. They must build a 3D model structure of the school to scale and include at least three major aspects of the school (Example: cafeteria, GATE classroom, meditation room, etc.)

The U.S. Department of Education announced that Eden Hall Upper Elementary School in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania is
among the 2019 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honorees. Eden Hall Upper Elementary School was nominated by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Students at Eden Hall have an environment rich in learning opportunities, and they regularly participate in activities that are focused on engaging in a healthy and sustainable environment.

Other features include no-mow native grasses on the grounds; heat-reclaiming devices for efficiency; room sensors to monitor and control carbon
dioxide, lighting, and heat; wood paneling to keep the noise down; and a maker roof to reflect heat. Together, these features
allow for excellent learning programs that provide students at EHUES with the knowledge and experiences to have healthy
bodies, healthy minds, and a healthy environment as they learn and grow.

Eden Hall’s wellness committee focuses on identifying and implementing initiatives that benefit the overall health and well-
being of students and staff. Recently, the committee, with support from the parent-teacher organization, has provided
stationary bikes that are available for use by all students and staff in the building.

Gifted classes in all three grades work with Chatham University’s School for Sustainability to explore and participate in a
variety of activities that broaden their awareness of the connections between food, energy, nature, science, and mathematics.
Educators discover how to take those same principles of sustainability into their classrooms and create fun and educational
lessons with broad applicability.

Dr. Joseph Domagala, Assistant Principal at Eden Hall stated “this is a significant honor for our building, and is a true
testament to the work, skill, and talents that our students, faculty, and staff display each and every day. This designation gives
recognition for sustainable efforts and education, health, and wellness initiatives, and reduced environmental impacts that
we focus on as a school community. These efforts directly tie in with our district values of providing diverse learning
opportunities, both in and outside the classroom.” 

Gifted teachers Jennifer Kopach and Joanna Sovek stated “We are honored to be recognized for our initiative of embracing a
more sustainable learning environment at Eden Hall and our Pine-Richland community. It has been an on-going collaborative
effort with our students, faculty, and community members to generate awareness and cultivate a better understanding of how
changing the habits or mindset of one person can trickle down to another.  We are working towards our ultimate goal of
bringing positive changes to our environment and overall well-being as committed members for a greener world.”

Across the country, 35 schools, 14 districts, and four postsecondary institutions are being honored for their innovative efforts
to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education. 
The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 28 states. The selectees include 25 public schools,
including three magnet schools and two charter schools, as well as 10 nonpublic schools. Thirty-six percent of 2019
honorees serve a disadvantaged student body.