Youth CAN: Boston Latin School's Incredible Student Effort To Green The Campus And Beyond

07/07/2010 08:27 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The nation's oldest public school, Boston Latin School, is getting a green makeover.

One of the school's most popular clubs, Youth Climate Action Network, is undertaking an ambitious project that began with the dismayed results of their campus' energy audit. The students started with small steps, like implementing a recycling program for their cafeteria and installing LED lights in their auditorium, but they aren't content with stopping there.

Working with a local architect and BLS parent, Youth CAN has designed a remodeling of the school's roof that will turn it into a hands-on classroom for sustainability, equipped with solar panels, wind turbines, and green gardens to absorb rainwater runoff. The motivated students are even working on a "sustainability curriculum" that other schools could implement, and have already persuaded five local colleges to follow their lead in creating a green roof.

Cate Arnold, an 8th grade history teacher at BLS, started Youth CAN after the overwhelming response she received from her students when she showed them Al Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth. Arnold tells MSNBC that her students are learning much more beyond the impacts of climate change. "It's given them the belief that they can do things that make a real difference," she says.

With high profile alumni like Benjamin Franklin among the ranks at Boston Latin School, it's clear that the new generation of students possess the same sort of innovation and ingenuity.


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