US Green Building Council-L.A. Selects S.T.E.A.M.-focused Eco-Tech Maker Space for Kids, Community as Greenbuild
2016 Legacy Project
The U.S. Green Building Council-Los Angeles (USGBC-LA) Chapter selected the S.T.E.A.M.-centric Eco-Tech Maker Spaceas the Legacy Project, which will be unveiled for Greenbuild International Conference & Expo in Los Angeles. The Greenbuild LA Legacy Project is a gift from the national USGBC and USGBC-LA Host Chapter to Los Angeles for hosting the conference, and will be a permanent project providing an enduring means of service, education, and thanks to the local community. The Eco-Tech Maker Space will be built in the city of Gardena, and will initially service five area Title 1 LAUSD schools, before being opened to the general community.
Created by T4T.org (formerly known as Trash for Teaching), the EcoTech Maker Space program will offer the community S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) curricula, handson learning, and environmental stewardship emanating from the reuse of discarded, safe manufacturing materials.
Students—drawn from five Title 1 schools within a 1-mile radius of the project—first will help build out the 500 sq. ft. space’s infrastructure themselves, between April 22nd and Sept. 1st, in order to develop a sense of ownership and empowerment. Once built, the space will provide them the opportunity to consider a problem (e.g., design a futuristic car, or “Eco-Vehicle”), brainstorm ideas, design a solution, build a prototype, and test/retest it. The outcome can be very different from the original idea. The goal is to encourage them to understand the process of creation, which includes trying again and again until they are satisfied with the results.
“Everyone at USGBC-LA and especially on the Legacy committee is very excited about this project!” states Dominique Hargreaves, USGBC-LA Executive Director. “There were a number of valuable submissions that spoke to different criteria of a Legacy project. But the Eco-Tech Maker Space not only brought together all the criteria, it represented our goal of an ongoing project that will help create the next-gen of sustainably-minded problem-solvers who take reuse to heart.”
The Eco-Tech Maker Space is built on the idea of reimagining donated ‘rescued materials’ or trash (e.g., wood scraps, thread spools, packing materials) from local manufacturers to use in the kids’ creation process. Gardena is home to many manufacturers full of resources, but who are spread out geographically. Students will be mentored at the space to build relationships with these manufacturers, and create a digital repository, creating efficiency in the community to organize and collaborate. EcoTech Maker Space will host digital outreach programs related to 3D Design, modeling, coding, and stop motion animation.
With 15 of every 20 new jobs in California requiring S.T.E.A.M. skills (Los Angeles Times 10/31/11), students, parents, and teachers will benefit from integrating technology and projectbased learning.
“We at T4T are thrilled to be selected for the Legacy Project and to get started building it out with the students,” states Isai German, T4T’s S.T.E.A.M. Lab Manager and project lead. “Hands-on learning, open-ended materials, and tool use allow students to examine and explore the engineering design process as a conduit to formulate success. Simultaneously, being a good steward of the environment is key to today’s design process. This combination fits perfectly with the mission of the green building council.”
With the Legacy Project selected, there is still an opportunity to have a Spotlight Idea showcased at Greenbuild 2016. These ideas serve similar goals to the Legacy Project, but may not yet be feasible or deliverable. Spotlight Ideas submitted to the website are intended to encourage people to dream and help foster future projects for Los Angeles. To submit an idea and see criteria and deadlines, please visit https://usgbc-la.wazoku.com/. There is no fee.
Added Hargreaves, “I want to thank Legacy Project co-chairs Coomy Kadribegovic of AECOM and Maya Henderson of Bentley Mills for their incredible work in coordinating their committee and selecting such a perfect project for our Chapter and USGBC National to support. Now the real work begins to have this up and running by September 1st!”
Greenbuild, held in a different city each year, attracts over 20,000 global attendees and includes the largest green building expo, numerous education sessions, workshops and speakers, a Legacy Project, tours, art installations, and adjacent events. There are many opportunities to be involved in Greenbuild for anyone interested in a sustainable built environment. For developing information or to support this and other projects, please visit www.usgbc-la.org, or contact Dominique Hargreaves at firstname.lastname@example.org.