The Freight Farm is a repurposed shipping container that currently holds a hydroponics growing system capable of producing the equivalent of more than 1 acre of farmland, or 900 heads of lettuce per week. The Farm was won by YouthCAN as part of the Green Schools Makeover Competition in 2013, but due to increasing popularity and student participation, it is currently managed by the Freight Farm Club. For more information, click on the file below.
Raised Garden Beds
In 2010, for 350.org’s day of action, we built and planted 3 raised beds in front of the school that we operated for several years, allowing us to host special events like a fresh-grown salad party that was popular with many students. We started a summer garden interns program that includes a small stipend for students who work to maintain the garden during the summer. In addition, we have hosted many visiting groups interested in starting their own school garden. Our garden is now maintained by the BLS Garden Club due to its significant popularity.
Water Bottle Filling Stations
Also as part of the Green Schools Makeover Competition in 2013, YouthCAN received 5 Elkay Water Bottle Filling Stations. These are motion-activated devices installed adjacent to traditional water fountains in high-traffic areas such as the first floor main corridor and the gymnasium that make it easier to fill water bottles, thus promoting the increased usage of reusable water bottles. Although the Latin School experienced lead problems with the drinking water in the 2016-2017 school year, forcing the shut-down of these facilities, the stations were restored in the 2017-2018 school year with the resumption of water service. Additionally, 5 new stations were added around the school, making it more accessible to easily use reusable water bottles.
Excel Hand Dryers
In the 2017-2018 school year, YouthCAN was approached by Excel Hand Dryers, Inc. with an offer to provide 10 hand dryers, free of charge, to Boston Latin School. With the advice and help of the Boston Public Schools Sustainability Manager, Katherine Walsh (a BLS alumna), YouthCAN students were able to install 8 of the dryers in the most-used bathrooms within our school, with the 2 remaining hand dryers being donated to another school in the Boston Public Schools District.
Green Wall of Vegetation ("Sage Wall")
The Sage Wall is a hydroponics growing system located in a corner of our Dining Hall. The system can handle various types of plants at once, allowing for the growth of herbs alongside typical indoor plants. In addition to being an aesthetically pleasing fixture for the school, it also lowers the level of carbon dioxide in our building, thus improving air quality. For more details about the Wall, click on the file below.
Trays of Vegetation
Several years ago, YouthCAN students collected funds and donations from BLS families in order to to purchase 350 trays of vegetation. These are now installed and maintained in a high-visibility location in our school's newest addition, the Music Wing. The number 350 is significant because it represents the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that is considered by most scientists to be sustainable (350 parts per million, ppm); however, as of 2017, according to NASA, the level of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere has increased to 407 ppm.
The Lucid Dashboard is one of the features we added to the school with our Green Schools Makeover Grant in 2013. The Lucid Building Dashboard allows us to track our real time energy use at BLS. Various faculty members in the Mathematics and Science Departments have expressed interest in incorporating use of the Dashboard into their classes, since the data collected can be simultaneously accessed by a whole class. The Dashboard also allows us to display information about some of the other green features in the school, along with YouthCAN's latest initiatives. It has the capacity to monitor water consumption too, but it is not set up to do so due to technical difficulties. We participated in the BPS Energy Challenge using our energy dashboard, organizing awareness campaigns like Power Down Fridays and "oops" reminders for classrooms leaving their lights on when unattended, which allowed us to significantly reduce energy use at our school.
We have a 32-panel array of solar panels on the roof of the Boston Latin School.
YouthCAN won a Salad Bar as part of a grant from Whole Foods. In order to implement the salad bar, students met with the BLS Cafeteria Manager and the head of BPS Food and Nutrition Services and proposed a protocol for the salad bar that was accepted and implemented in five other BPS schools that also got salad bars. The salad bar has been difficult to maintain because it is labor intensive for the already overworked cafeteria staff. The salad bar was retired for a while, but during the 2016-17 school year, we met with our cafeteria manager and the headmaster and got their approval to start using it again once a week. However, due to additional staffing constraints as a result of district-wide budget cuts, the salad bar is currently not in regular use.