Friday, May 06, 2005

The Press Release

With some help from Sarah and Cara, Kyler wrote this press release. It was send to all the major print and television media in Chittenden County, Vermont.

Press Release May 4, 2005

Students at the Vermont Commons School exceed the 10% Challenge and aim for zero net carbon dioxide emissions by planting 1500 trees on Wednesday, May 11th as part of Commons Co-Op Research & Service class.

Students at the Vermont Commons School in South Burlington have been undertaking an ambitious project inspired by both Vermont’s 10% Challenge and Vermont Commons School’s strong commitment to ecological citizenship. The goal of the 10% Challenge is to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by ten percent.

The Research & Service program combines research methodologies and community service applications in a multi-aged setting that encourages leadership and fosters group skills. Students are given a choice of classes that range from heavily environmentally based projects, e.g., the construction of an artificial wetland, to more community-oriented projects, e.g., the recording of histories of people in a retirement home. This program allows students to use a multidisciplinary approach to effect real change.

This spring, eight students in 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th grades are enrolled in the Commons Co-Op Research & Service class taught by Rob Skiff. Students have been studying energy consumption at the school and comparing it to the previous academic year. Even though the school’s physical plant has expanded in size by several thousand square feet over the previous school year, with the students’ efforts and energy saving initiatives, the school has documented more than 15,000 kilowatt hours and $1000 in energy savings. The class is focused on energy reduction and has made great strides in decreasing usage at the school. “The energy awareness that we have created in our school has been great! It is just one way we feel we can be an environmentally-friendly school,” remarked one of the students enrolled in the class.

After significantly reducing the school’s energy usage by 18.6% overall, the students then created a plan to have a net zero carbon emission for the current year. They researched the energy production in Chittenden County, and the students found the amount of carbon tons released by electricity consumption at the school. The plan calls for planting 1500 trees that over the course of ten years will have absorbed these emissions.

On Wednesday, May 11th, the entire Vermont Commons School community will gather to plant 1500 trees. “Our goal is to make sure people understand we are not planting trees for the sake of planting trees. We are planting trees that will take out the carbon that we are producing,” insisted Kyler Robinson, a junior from Shelburne and student in the Commons Co-Op Research & Service class. Rob Skiff, teacher, added, “We’re making this a fun day as well as an assignment!” The trees will be planted at a location in Charlotte, beginning promptly at 9:00 a.m. The entire Vermont Commons School community will participate.

Vermont Commons School is an independent college preparatory day school for students in grades 7-12 in South Burlington. Known for its innovative curriculum and challenging academic courses, taught by devoted and dedicated faculty, with an average class size of just ten students, Vermont Commons School has a 100% placement record to four year college, for its graduates.

For further information, please contact Rob Skiff, Social Sciences Department Chair, 802-865-8084 or More information is also available at a student-created Blog at


Post a Comment

<< Home