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Clean Air Campaign gets schools involved

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

The Clean Air Campaign recently announced that it has revamped its Clean Air Schools Program to benefit thousands of students statewide.

This year, the program has expanded to include high schools as well as additional elementary and middle schools throughout the state.

The expansion moves the program beyond the metro-Atlanta area to more than 115,000 Georgia students who would learn ways to reduce air pollution, said Lindsay Durfee, spokeswoman for the Clean Air Campaign. "The program will continue to educate students and their parents about how small behavior changes make a big difference when it comes to air quality."

The Clean Air Schools program, modeled after The Clean Air Campaign's employer outreach program, includes air-quality lesson plans and action-oriented projects, like the no-idling campaign and "walking school buses" to create a healthier environment on school grounds and in the community.

"We are thrilled to be able to expand our scope and reach to include more schools this year," said Susan Bacon, director of education for The Clean Air Campaign. "Schools can tailor the program by choosing from a variety of projects that best meets their needs. It also will help students understand the importance of air quality and how they can do their share to clean the air."

One of the major projects available for schools is the "no-idling" campaign to reduce harmful, smog-forming emissions caused by idling vehicles. The no-idling campaign helps eliminate unnecessary idling that wastes gas and pollutes the air, said Durfee.

Vehicle emissions, which account for half of ground-level ozone pollution, are especially harmful to school children since their lungs are still developing and they breathe, on average, 50 percent more air per pound of body weight than adults.

Schools in the 20-county metro Atlanta region that choose the no-idling project are given "no-idling" signage, a start-up tool kit, carpool hangers, and compliance prizes. Schools outside the metro area can download the tool kit from The Clean Air Campaign web site, beginning mid-August. The no-idling program is funded through a $50,000 grant from The UPS Foundation.

An educational musical production that features BAIR, the Better Air Bear geared toward K-5, is only available in metro Atlanta.

Additionally, the campaign has created Georgia Performance Standards, curriculum-based, air-quality lesson plans for third- through-12th- graders.

The Clean Air Campaign also encourages bus ridership for parents and children in its "Ride There! for Clean Air" Program. And for those close to work and school, the campaign encourages walking to reduce the number of vehicles contributing to air pollution.

For more about the Clean Air School Program, visit The Clean Air web site.

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On the net:

The Clean Air Campaign: www.CleanAirCampaign.com