ACE Loves Engaging Students!
By Emily Bee, ACE Program and Administrative Assistant
Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment (ACE), a community nonprofit promoting sustainable lifestyles, is engaging students across the county to be more involved in conserving the environment. Students who get involved in ACE are able to learn about the importance of stewardship to the planet starting close to home!
There are many ways students can get involved with ACE including internships, volunteering, being a student board member, or becoming an Energy Master, a program in which volunteers improve the energy efficiency of the homes of low-income residents after going through a training program. There are senior experience positions available to high school seniors who have a strong interest in environmental issues and want to serve Arlington. By volunteering at various cleanup events, students can get first-hand experience on what it's like to really care for the environment and remove trash and debris from Arlington’s wonderful streams, parks, and neighborhoods. ACE also offers fun activities for elementary students with a focus on energy, recycling, and conservation.
One student who really took his environmental consciousness to the next level is Alex Brown, a Washington-Lee High School graduate. His very first involvement with conserving the environment began when he joined the Energy Masters program at ACE. From there he expanded his volunteer experiences to include build-your-own rain barrel workshops, serving as a student member of the ACE Board of Directors, and outreach in elementary schools as part if his senior experience. Alex is now studying at Virginia Tech College of Natural Resources and Environment and says, “Without ACE, I would never have gotten involved in the environment, and I likely would not be pursuing an environmental career.”
Another student who has become a conservation star is Elizabeth Woolford, a Yorktown High School graduate. She got involved by not only becoming an ACE Energy Master, but noticed her school’s recycling efforts weren’t effective and she decided to do something about it. With ACE’s R4 Action Group (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot) she organized and conducted a waste audit. After noting how much trash could be recycled, recycling and trash bins were moved into places that were more accessible to students. She also created a video on how to engage in proper recycling and packaged her material into a starter kit that other schools could use in their conservation efforts. Elizabeth is now studying at Wesleyan University where environmental science and public policy classes are a good match for her.