JERSEY CITY PUBLIC SCHOOLS SUSTAINABILITY STEAM CHALLENGE

2021 STUDENT TEAMS

In 2021, students in Grades 3-12 were challenged to become environmental ambassadors. The 23 submissions from across the district are featured below:

Submissions for Grades 3 ‑ 5

Plastic Eliminators

PS 3

In our community, we have a problem with waste, especially single use plastic. We believe it is one of the largest problems in Jersey City. Waste occurs in our homes, restaurants, and especially in our schools. People throw out countless amounts of food and plastic waste without a second thought of where it will end up. Waste is an environmental threat. A threat that needs to be identified and proper steps should be taken to reduce our “plastic footprint.”

Conservation Kids

PS 6

Children are more aware these days about the importance of conservation both in the world around them and in their own homes. Our team decided that in order for people in their community to understand conservation, they would need to know how they can easily do their part.

Ambassadors for Environmental Education

PS 12

Plastics are overused and there is a lot of misunderstanding about the reality of “reduce, recycle, reuse”. Sadly, many adults still don’t feel climate change is a problem. There is a lack of education about the problems that face our globe and real measures that kids can take now to play a part in their future. The collective effect of simple steps can change habits and the course of our future. It is important to bring awareness to any problem in order to make a change. Children are the best option. If they are aware of problems and steps they can take to change, they can develop behaviors that will develop good habits, others can follow and we can see a change for the future.

Team Green 15

PS 15

We believe there are things we can do in our school that would help improve the environment of our community. The problem we decided to attempt to solve is the problem of food waste in our school during breakfast and lunch time. During lunchtime, a lot of food goes uneaten and plant parts and other foods are wasted. We want to find ways of reducing this unnecessary waste.

Dolphin Defenders

PS 20

*2021 WINNER – CREATIVE PRESENTATION* (Grades 3-5)

We are attempting to solve the problem of plastic pollution in our environment which is impacting us globally. We researched many topics of concern including global warming, and our carbon footprints and decided that the plastic pollution had a global impact that we could see in Jersey City. When we walk around the city, there is garbage all around us. We believe by raising awareness we can contribute to reducing plastic pollution in Jersey City.

The Drastic Plastic Busters

PS 20

The environmental problem our community faces daily is the accumulation of plastic objects and particles. Some of these objects include grocery bags, straws, soda and water bottles, food containers and wrappers, drink lids, and laundry detergent containers. As we walk along the streets of Jersey City we find a great deal of plastic debris scattered throughout our community. In addition, wastewater, wind, rain and floods also carry light weight plastic from land into the oceans. As a result, marine mammals get caught or digest these plastics, causing them to die.

Watters’ Water Watchers (WWW)

PS 24

The “Watters’ Water Watchers” team addressed the problem of water sustainability. Our group chose water sustainability because it is one of our most precious natural resources that is in short supply and we cannot survive without it.

The Voice of Jersey City

PS 25

*2021 WINNER – COMMUNITY OUTREACH* (Grades 3-5)

Have you ever thought about food waste and how it impacts our world? Food waste is a big problem in our communities and it harms us and the environment every day. When food is disposed in a landfill, it rots and emits methane, which can be dangerous to humans and animals if there is too much of it. Methane equivalent to the amount emitted by 39 million vehicles is released into the air when growing and transporting the food that goes to waste! All of the resources that go into growing and transporting this food are wasted. Food waste ends up using and wasting about a quarter of the supply of our water to grow food, and over $220 billion to grow and transport the food!

Going Green Team

PS 27

2021 FINALIST (Grades 3-5)

After discussing our role as environmental ambassadors, as a team we decided it is important to reduce the amount of waste being produced, as well as our carbon footprint at the same time. It is a combination of these things that has an adverse effect on our planet. These things must be addressed to protect our planet, and allow it to provide a place for us to continue to live.

The Challenger’s Purifying Project

PS 28

*2021 WINNER – INNOVATIVE SOLUTION* (Grades 3-5)

We are seeking a safe, inexpensive and organic solutions for removing Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from our environment in schools. With students returning to school in 2021 we will see a large increase of cleaning supplies used around the school. These cleaning supplies may increase the concentration of VOCs in our environment causing health related issues to students. These health issues can be associated with throat/eye irritation, headaches, nausea and asthma.

Defenders of the Sea

PS 30

2021 FINALIST (Grades 3-5)

Defenders of the Sea are addressing the growing issue of marine pollution and how it is affecting local indigenous marine animals and the effects it is having on the climate change crisis. We are researching and investigating how the garbage gets from several different locations and eventually ends up in our oceans. (City, Beach, Direct to Ocean and Wind). The team thought that the issue was particularly important because the macroplastics that end up in the ocean eventually dissolve and break down into microplastics. These microplastics end up in the fish that we consume and therefore affect us directly. Also being a bilingual classroom and our students coming from various Latin backgrounds, they have a strong connection to the beach and the ocean.

Helping Birds from Our Backyard

PS 33

The “Helping Birds from Our Backyard” team looked at what foods were best to feed backyard birds.

The Mustang STEAM Team – Growing Back to Nature

PS 38

***2021 WINNER – BEST OVERALL*** (Grades 3-5)

We started the project by looking for sustainability and environmental problems in our community. This is when we discovered that Jersey City is considered an urban heat island. After some research and exploration we realized that this was a big problem and we wanted to come up with a solution. The student’s researched and noted that according to epa.gov “Heat islands contribute to higher daytime temperatures, reduced nighttime cooling, and higher air-pollution.”

Submissions for Grades 6 ‑ 8

Wizards Rewilding

MS 4

*2021 WINNER – INNOVATIVE SOLUTION* (Grades 6-8)

This year in science, we have been learning about our planet. Our atmosphere is most vital to our existence. The atmosphere interacts with the biosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere. When one of these spheres is mistreated, all the other spheres are greatly affected. We feel the air but we don’t see it. “Out of sight, out of mind.” Since we don’t see air, we take for granted how important it is. One of the most talked about topics is climate change. Our climate is created by our atmosphere. Jersey City has its own microclimate due to the buildings and concrete ground. Creating indoor wall gardens can improve our indoor air quality. We also hope that our project will influence other schools in our community.

Shockingly Sustainable

PS 5

*2021 WINNER – CREATIVE PRESENTATION* (Grades 6-8)

The SHOCKingly Sustainable team wants to solve the problem of increased energy consumption via use of nonrenewable fossil fuels. This elevated usage is not only having a negative impact on the environment by emitting more greenhouse gases, a major contributor of climate change, but it is also increasing the costs of these utilities in a time where many are struggling just to make ends meet.

Sustainable Sharks

MS 7

In order to meet the challenge of being environmental ambassadors, we want to increase community awareness about how they can be more sustainable and what opportunities are already available nearby that they might not have known about before through an educational outreach program. We also wanted to show how to take some of those steps towards sustainability by engaging in some of the opportunities ourselves to demonstrate that with a positive attitude and small steps we can all make a difference.

Eagle Chargers 17

PS 17

2021 FINALIST (Grades 6-8)

The problem in our neighborhood is we have too many cars in Jersey City and the majority of them are cars that require gas. We want to encourage Jersey City residents to go electric. We decided to design an awesome looking solar power car charging station that will attract the next generation of car buyers to go electric. We are targeting our middle school students.

ACB Squad

PS 24

Our team thinks that the biggest problem in our neighborhood is the cigarette butts because of how they affect our environment and our health. Our community does not have a place to throw them away so many times you’ll see them on the ground. When other people see the cigarette butts they feel like since they are on the ground that they can go and throw more on the ground. Now making more trouble for us and our plants and our environment. Also the people who clean up the cities spend up to 3 million and 16 million dollars on cigarette clean-up.

R.E.M. Team

PS 28

***2021 WINNER – BEST OVERALL*** (Grades 6-8)

The issue we are facing within our community is the risk of flooding and freezing temperatures in the schools pipes with no detection system to alert the staff back at home. The school district has been fully remote since March 2020, meaning it is necessary to monitor the school building in case of something abnormal. Having these detection systems can save schools lots of money from damages that could happen from dropping temperatures and water leakage. Multiple schools have been affected by these leakages, leading to immense flooding. With less people in the school to react to this, it took a while for any course of action to be taken. This led to an ample amount of money having to be spent simply because of late reactions.

Greener Globe Project

Academy 1

Our project is focused around plastic pollution which is a major problem in Jersey City. There is a lot of un-recycled plastic on the streets and this poses a serious problem in terms of climate change and human health. The Hudson River is also littered with plastic and this poses a threat to fish and other organisms living in the river. We thought it was important to address this problem because it is a huge problem in our community and affects all of us in ways we may not even realize. We knew we had to focus our project around the topic, to raise awareness and make a change.

Hydro Busters

Infinity Institute

*2021 WINNER – COMMUNITY OUTREACH* (Grades 6-8)

We noticed Jersey City has a bit of a problem with water pollution. The bodies of water in our areas are littered with trash. We thought this was important because it affects various parts of the world. Our design could help other parts of the world as well as Jersey City.

Submissions for Grades 9 ‑ 12

Sustainability Through Diversity

Innovation High School

*2021 WINNER – COMMUNITY OUTREACH* (Grades 9-12)

*2021 WINNER – CREATIVE PRESENTATION* (Grades 9-12)

As the world is affected by climate change, the people of Jersey City are at risk of losing their cultural heritage in a matter of decades. Our idea was to create a physical and social media campaign utilizing the diversity of Jersey City as the focus.

Early Worm

Liberty High School

***2021 WINNER – BEST OVERALL*** (Grades 9-12)

*2021 WINNER – INNOVATIVE SOLUTION* (Grades 9-12)

Reducing the amount of paper and food waste, starting with our community, can make a huge impact environmentally as well as economically. There are more than 578 landfills in New Jersey. These landfills emit methane into the environment. Solving this problem would reduce methane emissions and lowers your carbon print.