Research Triangle Park

Sister Post: Net Zero Strategies – Partnering to Promote Sustainability

One of our sister blogs, EPA Connect, the official blog of EPA’s leadership, recently shared a post featuring a Net Zero workshop in Research Triangle Park. We’ve included the first few paragraphs here (you can continue reading over on EPA Connect), and we’ve also included a few extra photos for your viewing pleasure. 

By EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe

How can communities reduce their water, waste, and energy footprints? How can they promote sustainable strategies at the local level while simultaneously fostering economic growth and promoting citizen health and well-being? I was recently given the opportunity to consider these questions alongside EPA scientists and community leaders and while observing cutting edge sustainability work.

This week, EPA scientists and community leaders from across the country came together at the Feb. 25-26 workshop “Promoting Sustainability through Net Zero Strategies.”

The workshop builds on the success of EPA’s Net Zero partnership with the U.S. Army. Started in 2011, the partnership aims to develop and demonstrate sustainable technologies and approaches in support of the Army’s ambitious goal to achieve zero energy and water consumption, and create no waste on its installations. Hence, the name: “Net Zero.”

Continue reading on the EPA Connect blog.

Deputy Administrator Perciasepe tours the solar roof of EPA’s current Research Triangle Park building with U.S. Representative David Price, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment Katherine Hammack, Stan Meiburg, and EPA employees Pete Schubert, Greg Eades, and Liz Deloatch.

Deputy Administrator Perciasepe tours the solar roof of EPA’s current Research Triangle Park building with U.S. Representative David Price, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment Katherine Hammack, Stan Meiburg, and EPA employees Pete Schubert, Greg Eades, and Liz Deloatch.

Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe sitting on the Village Green bench. Learn more about Village Green at http://blog.epa.gov/blog/category/village-green-project/

Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe sitting on the Village Green bench. Learn more about Village Green at http://blog.epa.gov/blog/category/village-green-project/

Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe and others listen to briefing on EPA’s new Research Triangle Park building that is incorporating sustainability principles.

Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe and others listen to briefing on EPA’s new Research Triangle Park building that is incorporating sustainability principles.

Read other It All Starts with Science blogs about Net Zero.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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The Village Green Project: An Opportunity for STEM Enrichment (without the Lab Coat)

By Kelly Leovic

FinalLogo_KLThankfully, all hands in the classroom eagerly shot up when I said, “Raise your hand if you are a human.”  I began by explaining to the fifth graders that our job at EPA is to protect human heath and the environment. I then asked if they breathe, eat or drink, or play in water.

As the director of EPA’s STEM (which stands for “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math”) outreach program in Research Triangle Park (RTP), I’m always eager to find ways to engage our scientists, engineers, and other employees in science outreach and education.

We give presentations, share hands-on activities, mentor, and regularly participate in community events. Each year, more than 200 employees (~10 percent of our RTP workforce) participate in at least one outreach event. In 2012, we participated in 171 school events, 100 of them at schools serving low-income populations.

While one of our objectives is to inspire students to gain an interest in science and the environment, one of the challenges is giving them a taste of how much FUN scientists can have doing field work (they don’t just work inside decked out in white lab coats and geeky protective goggles).

One solution: the Village Green Project!

The Village Green Project is a prototype solar-powered air monitor that EPA scientists developed to place in a central location for about one year.

We explored several possible partnerships for the Village Green site and are excited to announce that it will soon be installed at the South Regional Branch of the Durham County Library, whose design theme is conveniently “Air!” This location fits our key criteria, and we are excited to join forces with the library’s existing outreach program to share STEM enrichment opportunities.

Additionally, the library is located across from Lowes Grove Middle School, which will become a STEM magnet school in the fall of 2013. EPA has participated in STEM outreach at Lowes Grove for several years, and we are excited about the opportunity the Village Green Project will offer our scientists who teach after-school Citizen School Apprenticeships.

Instead of talks and showing pictures about what scientists do, we will be able to leave the lab coats and goggles behind and walk outdoors to experience REAL FIELD WORK. It may just be fun enough to inspire some future scientists!

About the author: Kelly Leovic is the director of EPA-RTP’s STEM Outreach Program and has worked for the EPA as an environmental engineer since 1987. She enjoys spending time with her three teenagers (really!) and plans to bring them on a field trip to see the Village Green Project.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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Women in Science: Kelly Leovic, Principal for a Day

Each week we write about the science behind environmental protection. Previous Science Wednesdays.

By Kelly Leovic

EPA employees in Research Triangle Park, NC love sharing their expertise and enthusiasm for the environment and STEM (science, technology, engineering, & math). Last year, nearly 200 of EPA-RTP’s 1,400 employees spent nearly 3,000 hours reaching over 38,000 participants at 203 events, including K-12 classroom presentations, career days, festivals, student mentoring and campus tours.

As part of our community outreach, we participate on the Durham Public Schools Business Advisory Council (BAC), which builds long-term partnerships between businesses and schools. On February 8, the BAC launched its Principal for a Day Program — sending business leaders and elected officials into the schools.

I was excited, yet a bit nervous. Shaneeka Moore-Lawrence, the energetic Principal at Bethesda Elementary handed me her walkie-talkie as we dashed from the car line to our shift at bus arrival. I sensed this was not going to be a shadowing experience, as my gracious host stepped back and left me in charge.

Next were the Pledge and Morning Announcements. If you look at this link, you see me in the pink shirt getting ready – note how much calmer the Principal appears.  After announcements, we visited most of the 31 classrooms at Bethesda. I tried to emulate Shaneeka’s positive behavior and classroom engagement, and my experience grew more rewarding the more involved I became.

Reading The Lorax to a 1st grade class was a highlight because it is my favorite children’s book and, now that my kids are older, I welcome the opportunity to share the sad, yet hopeful story with any audience. My most embarrassing moment was in music when I realized that the kids were going to notice if I lip-synced, so I sang along with the class. I was relieved that this was not included on the video!

I was truly humbled by being Principal for a Day and think that everyone should try it in order to experience the great things happening in our schools and understand the challenges that Principals are faced with, and all of the roles they play in running a successful school with a diverse population. I look forward to returning soon to do science activities and read EPA’s new air quality book, Why is Coco Orange?

I learned some valuable lessons in school on February 8, and encourage all EPA employees to take the initiative to become involved in our schools and inspire the next generation to protect human health and the environment.

About the author: Kelly Leovic manages EPA’s STEM & Environmental Outreach Program in Research Triangle Park and has worked for the EPA as an environmental engineer since 1987. She has three children, two in middle and one in high school, who were all very relieved that she was not assigned to their school.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.


Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.