Schools Are Not Drive-Thrus project
I am Wayne Michaud, executive director of Green Driving America, Inc., a 501c3 nonprofit organization. My ministry is based on the advocacy I was led to—clean transportation and transportation efficiency—that will benefit people and the planet through carbon emissions reductions, energy conservation, and improving air quality and health. My organization is carrying out this advocacy with Schools Are Not Drive-Thrus (SANDT), a school community project that addresses the issue of the prolonged idling of passenger vehicles that occurs during the school dismissal period as parents/guardians wait to pick up their children.
We have implemented 15 SANDT funded idle-free schools campaigns since 2014, including three in 2023 with participating middle and high schools. These student-led, measured campaigns have reduced idling on school grounds by nearly 50 percent.
WHY IDLE-FREE SCHOOLS CAMPAIGNS?
These campaigns will raise awareness throughout the school community of each participating school. Students, staff, administrators and motorists will learn the compelling benefits in avoiding or lessening idling on school grounds, simply by turning engines off:
• Save money in fuel use and maintenance costs
• Reduce CO2 emissions that contribute to climate change
• Reduce fossil fuel use and energy consumption
• Most importantly: protect kids health:
The U.S. EPA Idle-Free Schools Toolkit for a Healthy School Environment states: "Idling vehicles contribute to air pollution and emit air toxins, which are pollutants known or suspected to cause cancer or other serious health effects. Monitoring at schools has shown elevated levels of benzene, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and other air toxics during the afternoon hour coinciding with parents picking up their children. Children’s lungs are still developing, and when they are exposed to elevated levels of these pollutants, children have an increased risk of developing asthma, respiratory problems and other adverse health effects. Limiting a vehicle’s idling time can dramatically reduce these pollutants and children’s exposure to them."
HOW THE CAMPAIGNS WORK
These campaigns are six to ten week efforts that include four steps.
Step 1: Training session conducted virtually (such as with Zoom) in classroom, by trained college level intern (paid). PowerPoint and videos presentations on what idling means, its impact and how the campaign works. Includes organization provided campaign materials.
Step 2: Students and/or staff unobtrusively conduct three days of initial data collection of idling vehicles during afternoon dismissal.
Step 3: School announces support for idle-free campaign in school community, including a notice in school newsletter and website, and optionally letter and pledge to parents. Install two Green Driving America provided idle free zone signs in strategic areas.
Step 4: Students and/or staff conduct two-day driver contact event. Campaigners create idle-free posters to display at event. All drivers offered the information handouts and anti-idling window cling decals. Event publicized locally and in social media.
Optional Step 5: Only if campaigns begin in a fall school semester, three more days of data collection can be repeated in the spring semester to determine a difference in the amount of idling. Over 14 campaigns that included initial and final data collection, idling has been reduced by nearly 50 percent.
ADDITIONAL CAMPAIGN BENEFITS
• Students learn organizational, analytical and communication skills as they perform data analysis, are empowered by showing drivers the significant benefits in shutting off engines when parked, and take pride in making a positive difference in their school community
• Motorists, learning of the benefits, potentially apply them beyond schools
• Opportunity to sustain these efforts in proceeding years: we provide participating schools a written guideline to help sustain these efforts. Schools are strongly encouraged to remind the school community about the benefits in idle reduction several times each year, and to consider adopting anti-idling measures on school grounds
OUR PREVIOUS IDLE-FREE SCHOOLS PROJECTS
Green Driving America previously implemented projects have included Sacramento County Idle-Free Schools and Vermont Idle-Free Schools. These projects combined to reduce idling at participating schools by nearly 50 percent. SANDT campaigns for 2023: Carlmont High School - Belmont, CA; Eagle Peak Middle School - near Ukiah, CA; Woodstock Union High School and Middle School - Vermont
U.S. EPA GUIDELINE FOR OUR IDLE-FREE SCHOOLS CAMPAIGNS
Green Driving America's basic guideline for our idle-free schools campaigns comes from the U.S. EPA Region 8 Idle-Free Schools Toolkit for a Healthy School Environment.
About Green Driving America
Green Driving America Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit organization* based in Sacramento County, California. Wayne Michaud is the founder and Executive Director of the organization. Green Driving America is served by six Board of Directors members.
*IRS determination letter; California Secretary of State certificate of amendment to articles of incorporation: name change to Green Driving America
Green Driving America is committed to helping drivers make transportation choices in their lives that will benefit the planet and themselves. To achieve this goal, we place emphasis on smart driving practices to improve driving behavior, making the choice to drive a vehicle that consumes less fuel or no fuel at all, for consideration of choosing alternatives to driving, and for reducing the harm and waste of unnecessary vehicle idling.
Please visit the Green Driving America website ABOUT page for more details on the organization's mission, background, and listing of board of directors.
My passion for being a transportation efficiency advocate and educator has led to being presented with two clean air champion awards: from the American Lung Association of Vermont in 2009 and from the East Bay Clean Cities Coalition in California in 2019.
Thank you for your interest!
Support Releasing Ministry Alliance
Donate to help build this awesome website and co-create the human network.