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Bringing Green to the Classroom

The center provides opportunities for Gateway instructors to use the lab for training to infuse “green” concepts into their curriculum. Students receive hands-on training and work with other students across disciplines, mirroring a real-world business setting where many skill sets are needed to work as a team to complete a project.

One example is a solar panel, which generates power for the building as well as provides a monitoring system for students to gather information and learn about the impact on the building’s energy load.

A second example is the urban gardens established on the grounds to allow Horticulture students the ability to put into practice the growing techniques they learn in the classroom. The garden is organic and its produce is sold locally with proceeds plowed back into the program, or provided to community partners who share the food with people in need.

K-12 teachers and students can use the center and grounds as a resource for environmental education, from reading under an apple tree for small children to providing high-schoolers the opportunity to see how solar energy systems work. 

Please contact Kallie Johnson at 262.564.2196 or johnsonka@gtc.edu to schedule your visit and discuss what we can do for your students!


Program Options

Bees: protecting the pollinators
Visit the Bee Barn at the Center for Sustainable Living to get a closer look at the creatures that play a huge role in our food system. Examine the lifecycle of a honey bee, match up a bee’s anatomy, and discover why bees like some flowers and not others. Do you know what foods you are able to eat because of bee pollination? Do you know how a bee finds its nest or communicates with other bees? Come discover the answers to these questions and many more while learning how to live a more sustainable life at the Center for Sustainable Living Bee Barn.
This program was made possible by a donation from Joe and Kathy Madrigrano.

Customizable based on group size, age, and time frame. Programs run approximately 2 hours. 

Nature Discovery Trail
Students will tour the Center for Sustainable Living building and grounds, which includes an indoor scavenger hunt. Using the educational signs along the trail and activity bags, students will learn the sustainable aspects of solar, birds, insects, litter and pollution, and trees. Older students will spend time identifying specific plants and insects, while younger students will collect natural elements to use in an art project.

Customizable based on group size, age, and time frame. Programs run approximately 2 hours. 

Power and Pollution
Students will tour the Center for Sustainable Living building and grounds and enjoy an indoor scavenger hunt. Students will learn about the Center’s sustainable energy systems, and how those systems differ from big power plants. Using energy monitors, students will discover how to be more sustainable with their energy use at home, and learn ways to reduce their environmental footprint. Using different models, students will simulate pollution scenarios and determine ways to work toward a pollution-free house.

Customizable based on group size, age, and time frame. Programs run approximately 2 hours. 

Green Citizen: consuming and contributing sustainably
The Green Citizen program is great for students who like to think critically and creatively, with activities for active participants. The students will get a tour of the Center for Sustainable Living, learn about greenwashing practices and spot greenwashing in actual advertisements, consider the sustainability of their community, and explore ways sustainability can be a part of many different careers. After learning about sustainability, students can design what they see as the ideal sustainable company. A scavenger hunt around the Center will help keep students engaged. Students will be able to find a place for sustainability in any area of their life and will be aware of what true sustainability is.

Ideal for high school students, available year-round, 2.5-3 hours long.

Following Food: discovering the energy use and environmental impacts of our food
The Following Food program begins with a tour of the Center for Sustainable Living, and focuses on the energy and water inputs in our food system. Students will explore the water used to create different types of food, examine food packaging and consider the pros and cons of each type of package, follow a component of their lunch from production to consumption, learn about seasonal foods through a recipe activity, and tour the gardens. Students will have an appreciation for the food they eat and will leave being able to make more informed food decisions.

Ideal for elementary, middle and high school students, available year-round, 2.5 hours long.

Birds and Beasts: how sustainability impacts the creatures around us
The Birds and Beasts program focuses on outdoor activities, making it great for active and energetic students. After touring the Center for Sustainable Living, students will create a Great Lakes food web and will consider the impacts of pollutants and interferences on different parts of the web, learning about the importance of diversity. A nature walk focusing on birds or an ecosystem activity will get students out into the woods and enjoying nature. Wrapping up with discussion about our impact on ecosystems or a learning session on birds, students will come away with an awareness of how their lives are connected to nature.

Ideal for elementary and middle school students, available May-October, 2.5 hours long. 

All programs are free of charge, and funding to cover transportation is available upon request. Funding is provided through a generous donation from Joe & Kathy Madrigrano.