Congressmen Butterfield and Price Tour Solar and Wind Energy Projects by Fourth Graders

Apr 23, 2014
Press Release

Durham, NCAfter a lesson on how energy is generated the fourth graders taught by Aaron Sebens at the Central Park School for Children decided to take the solutions to global warming into their own hands.

To promote clean energy and limit their carbon pollution, the students fundraised for and installed solar panels that provide the classroom with 100% of the electricity it needs. And the students haven’t stopped there: they are currently assembling a wind turbine that will be installed on the school roof in the coming weeks.

“We wanted to help the environment,” said fourth grade student Margo Russell. “And clean energy is healthier for people and the planet.”

In an event organized by Environment North Carolina, Congressmen G.K Butterfield and David Price stopped by the school on Wednesday to learn more about the class’s clean energy projects and to update the students about their work in Washington, D.C. to limit the impacts of climate change and promote clean energy sources like solar power.

The students led the Congressmen on a tour of their projects, explaining how much power the projects produce and how they help protect North Carolina’s air and water. Both Congressmen came away impressed with the student’s efforts.  

“Every American, every family and every public official has a role to play addressing climate change and finding clean energy solutions that protect the air we breathe and the water we drink,” said Congressman Price. “I am so encouraged to see how students and teachers have confronted these issues head-on. Their project is an impressive reminder that the decisions we make in our schools, homes, businesses and in government directly affect the health of the environment we will pass on to future generations.”

“I applaud these students and teachers for their innovative and entrepreneurial spirits, which has helped to highlight the need for energy solutions,” said Congressman Butterfield. “Through this project and campaign, these young people showed us that using solar energy and finding solutions to meet our country’s energy needs is achievable when communities work together. Renewable energy and energy diversity are critical to our future global competitiveness.”

After hearing about different ways to generate energy, the fourth graders voted make their classroom solar powered and launched a campaign on kickstarter to raise funds to install enough renewable energy to power their classroom. Their goal was $800, and they raised more than $5,800. With help from their teacher and Carolina Solar Energy, students purchased the panels and installed the units themselves on the school’s rooftop. Under the guidance of King Brothers Electric, they’re now in the process of assembling a wind turbine that will sit alongside the solar panels.

Environment North Carolina organized the gathering as part of an effort to highlight how people are already acting across the state to fight global warming.

“I think it’s important to show people across North Carolina how communities are already doing a lot to limit the impacts of climate change,” said David Rogers, field director for Environment North Carolina. “These kids are the ones that will need to live with the future impacts, so it’s inspiring to see them already taking the lead.”