The mission of the Chicago Conservation Corps (C3) Student Clubs Program, a program of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum with support from the City of Chicago, is to recruit, train and support a network of teachers and students to improve the quality of life in their schools and neighborhoods through environmental service projects that protect water, clean air, restore land and save energy.
Goals of the C3 Student Clubs program include:
- To make a measurable environmental impact on the school and surrounding community.
- To give students an understanding of how their actions relate to the bigger environmental picture.
- To support and foster student and teacher environmental leaders.
Each first year C3 Student Club conducts audits of their school, investigating how their school can conserve energy and water and increase efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle waste. The clubs then implement three projects over the course of the year – one each for land, air/energy, and water issues – chosen from a menu of potential projects. In addition to providing guidelines for carrying out the audits and projects, C3 staff provide project materials and direct teachers to resources that provide the background and context for club efforts.
For example, C3 Student Clubs might sponsor a “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Re-think!” competition to encourage teachers and students to recycle, create a “What Are You Waiting For?” campaign to encourage bus drivers and parents to reduce vehicle idling, and/or a “Save the Source” campaign to encourage behavioral and institutional changes that will aid in water conservation at their school.
In the 2011-12 school year, 19 schools participated in the New Clubs program.
C3 Club Network
After completing their first year in the C3 Student Clubs Program, Clubs can join the C3 Club Network. Network Clubs are presented with several options for how they might move forward in their conservation action through C3.
- Teachers can participate in four planning, troubleshooting, and networking workshops throughout the year, each of which can provide professional development credits.
- C3 has 17 partner organizations, many of which offer opportunities for C3 Clubs. C3 staff works hard to direct Clubs to these resources.
- In the 2011-2012 school year, Clubs had the opportunity to assist with weatherization education and installation in their communities. Materials and stipends were provided through the City’s Community Weatherization Action Teams (C-WAT).
- Club Network Clubs are eligible to apply for C3 Club Action Project grants. These grants include teacher stipends, project guides, and project supplies. Grants will be provided in the 2012-2013 school year supporting year-long projects with a climate change focus. These projects are made possible through generous support from the Motorola Solutions Foundation.
In the 2011-2012 school year, 55 Clubs participated in the Club Network.
Not a Chicago Public School Teacher, but still interested in starting a club?
Check out the C3 Student Club Project Guides here. All project guides are free and open to the public.