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Notre Dame High School

Notre Dame High School located in Niles, Illinois, was the first school in the state to acquire a solar thermal system – they heat water for the science wing with solar power! The system can currently heat 200 gallons of water/day, and saves approximately 13 tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. Students analyze the data in the classroom, as well. The school is also pursuing grant money for installation of a green roof, and high-efficiency windows have been installed in two wings of the school.

That’s not all. In 2006, AP Biology and Bioethics teacher Ellen Dutton applied for and was awarded a Toyota TAPESTRY grant for science educators that she used to develop a water testing project that is conducted at Osterman Beach in Chicago. Students conduct water tests at the beach, analyzing the effects of E. Coli bacteria on the beach over a 12-month period. The school has adopted Osterman Beach and now does a yearly clean-up.

The list goes on. Notre Dame High School also promotes turning off computers overnight, on weekends, and over holidays. A recent grant through BP Amoco’s A+ for Energy program now allows Notre Dame to incorporate alternative energy education into the physics, chemistry, astronomy, and earth science curriculum. No fertilizer is applied to school athletic fields, just bio-soil. Plastic bottles are also recycled in the school cafeteria. And a student environmental club actively leads many of these green initiatives.