(PITTSBURGH) May 30, 2012 Mayor Luke Ravenstahl today announced a new program that gives Pittsburgh’s young residents a “behind the scenes” look at City government’s role in developing a sustainable, green city and teaches them how to live and lead a “green” lifestyle in their homes, schools and communities. The Civic Leaders for an Environmentally Alternate Future (LEAF) Academy educates students about their environmental impact, connects them with City resources and helps them develop leadership skills to better shape their ecological future and “grow up green.”
“Pittsburgh continues to gain international recognition as a leader in sustainability, and we’re making sure that bar pushes forward,” Ravenstahl said. “By educating our young residents on the value of environmental initiatives and connecting them with City resources, we will prepare the next generation of young leaders and ensure that Pittsburgh remains a cleaner, more environmentally-friendly city whose quality of life continues to improve.”
Building off of the success of programs like Civic Leadership Academy and Youth Civic Leadership Academy, whose nearly 100 graduates have undertaken service projects that range from community gardens to recycling campaigns to cleaning war memorials, Civic L.E.A.F. Academy is Ravenstahl’s latest program that invites residents to get a closer look at City government and connect with resources to impact their neighborhoods.
The five-week program is geared toward middle school, high school and college students and consists of four three-hour Wednesday and Saturday afternoon learning sessions including professional lectures, field trips and hands-on activities. The inaugural session’s theme will be urban agriculture. The Academy begins June 18 and continues through July 16. Interested students may apply at PittsburghPa.gov/Green. Applications are due by Monday, June 11.
Up to 16 eighth- through eleventh-grade students will be selected to participate in the Academy. Students must live and attend school in the City of Pittsburgh. Special consideration will be given to applicants who are highly motivated, demonstrate interest in local government and environmental protection, and indicate commitment to using the experience to make a positive difference in their neighborhood and school.
“Through my Green Up Pittsburgh and Love Your Block initiatives, we’ve transformed almost 200 vacant lots into beautiful community spaces,” said Ravenstahl. “Urban gardening is a great tool to improve communities, but its success requires dedicated residents who work with the City to take care of the green spaces. As we gain more community stakeholders, together we will positively impact our environment, one block at a time.”
While the Civic L.E.A.F Academy provides knowledge about green living and encourages peer mentorship, the program is divided into three components. “Sprout” introduces middle school students to urban gardening and green technology; “Cultivate” provides high school students with knowledge about green jobs and future career opportunities; and “Grow” engages college students in the planning of future Academy programming. The college portion of the program is full for this year.
The Mayor remains committed to fostering student involvement in City initiatives relating to sustainability, including climate change. In an effort to protect and preserve our economy and environment, local leaders developed the Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan in 2008, which establishes regional goals to lessen the potentially detrimental impacts of climate-related effects. In addition, The Mayor is proud to support the natural gas industry, which is creating thousands of local jobs, and produces clean-burning domestic energy. The City recently partnered with EQT corporation to purchase new refuse trucks that will run on energy-efficient and clean-burning compressed natural gas.
The Mayor has also implemented other cost-saving and energy-efficient initiatives, including the LED streetlights conversion project, and the future creation of “Green Central,” a one-stop-shop for information on sustainability, located on the City-County building’s sixth floor. Last February, the Mayor and U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu today announced the start of a handful of energy-efficient building improvements to the historic City-County building that will save taxpayers $475,000 a year and create nearly 40 local jobs in the process. The $3.4 million building improvement project is made possible thanks to President Obama’s Recover Act and the Energy Department’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program. An energy and weatherization audit was completed and identified the upgrades that would shave the most off of utility bills.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
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Office of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl
512 City County Building | 414 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
telephone: 412-255-2626 | facsimile: 412-255-2687