Partnering With Others
Environmental Lessons in the Classroom
Partnering with Schools on Environmental Education
Photo: Boeing Italy
From Italy to Japan and elsewhere across the globe, Boeing employees are partnering with community-based organizations to help address the challenges facing the world's ecosystem.
Boeing partners with communities to invest in projects related to climate change, alternative energy and recycling that pioneer new technologies and environmentally progressive solutions. One of the ways Boeing reaches communities is through educating young people on initiatives that encourage support for environmental programs. School children in the Province of Taranto in Italy's Puglia region are learning at a young age what it means to protect the environment because of an ongoing partnership between Boeing and industry partner Alenia Aeronautica.
The objective of the program “Natural...mente scuola: educazione ambientale e tecnologia,” is to build children's awareness of the importance of environmental sustainability -- increasing their understanding of how everyday behaviors can have an impact on environmental protection. The program has received support from the offices of the Ministry of Education Regional School Office for Puglia, the Regional Ministry of the Environment Center for Environmental Education, the municipalities of Grottaglie and Monteiasi and from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
"Just as employees mastered 'impossible' challenges like supersonic flight, stealth, space exploration and super-efficient composite airplanes, now we must focus our spirit of innovation and our resources on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions in our products and operations."
Jim McNerney, Chairman, President and CEO, The Boeing Company
Since it was introduced in 2008, the program has reached more than 13,000 students from 38 middle schools. During the first phase, students produced 125 projects in a competition entitled “Sustainable Idea,” in which they were challenged to create a road map that effectively identified and addressed the critical issues confronting the environment.
Recently, students at five schools from the Puglia region were recognized for producing innovative videos as part of a “Let's make ideas fly” competition. The videos illustrated the students' ideas about achieving a sustainable world and were judged on originality, collaboration and potential effectiveness of their ideas. The winners in both competitions participated in a tour of the Alenia Grottaglie Composite plant in Italy, where fuselage sections for the 787 Dreamliner are produced.
“Boeing is proud to foster respect for the environment and encourage positive behaviors that will help protect it,” said Rinaldo Petrignani, president of Boeing Italy. “The students will play a relevant role in raising awareness on environmental issues in their local communities.”
Environmental education programs like this are taking place with Boeing’s help around the world. In Southern California, students and Boeing employees are working together to replace shade structures that were destroyed by a devastating wild fire almost two years ago at the Inside the Outdoors' headquarters in Silverado, Calif. Students are teamed with Boeing employees to create a design, establish a budget and identify building materials for the new shade structures. The project not only benefits the students, but Boeing employees get to develop their leadership skills as mentors and leaders.
“The project builds science, technology, engineering and math skills and inspires students to pursue careers in engineering and science, while empowering them to be leaders through teamwork and volunteerism,” said Jim Herr, Boeing Global Corporate Citizenship manager in California. In addition, as part of a “From Science to Stewardship” grant that Boeing provides, students and their teachers from around Southern California learn firsthand about environmental stewardship in a natural education setting and will benefit from the structures made through this volunteer effort.
In Japan, Boeing employees and others worked alongside school children to plant 180 saplings on the barren mountainsides of Ashio, north of Tokyo. The activity supported a GCC grant to Growing Green, a nonprofit that is dedicated to restoring the area's woodlands.
“Reforestation is only part of what we are all trying to achieve; we are also raising awareness of the importance of good environmental stewardship,” said Mike Denton, president of Boeing Japan.
Across Japan, Boeing employees are involved in other awareness-building projects. Boeing employees and students from an alternative school, that's also a GCC grant recipient, planted a variety of trees in an area that's been devastated by toxic gas emissions from a 19th-century copper mine.
On the Nagoya coast, employees of Boeing Japan and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Boeing's Nagoya-based industrial partner, periodically volunteer to help clean up the Fujimae Tidal flats. Fujimae Higata Mamoru Kai, a local organization dedicated to the protection of the Fujimae Tidal Flats is recognized as internationally important by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and is Japan's biggest stopover for migratory birds.
In Spain, students from Madrid Base School participated in a contest to design a new visitors' guide for the Cabañeros National Park. The project is part of a program called “Overflying Cabañeros,” conducted in partnership with Cooperación Internacional. A team of environmental educators led the winners, ages 10 to 12, on a tour of the park to explore and observe.
In a separate project near Madrid, Boeing partnered with the nonprofit AFANIAS to develop the Botanical Garden and Environmental School in Cobeña that will serve children and young adults with learning disabilities.
“The Botanical Garden offers an ideal platform to organize educational workshops with disabled and non-disabled students in the Madrid region,” said Pedro Argüelles, president of Boeing Spain. “It not only supports the conservation of native plants, but it also promotes a change in the perception of the role played by people with disabilities in our society.”