Piedmont Neighborhood News

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Posts Tagged ‘green schools’

New Community Group Supporting Local Efforts Towards Environmental Sustainability

Posted by Len Gilbert on April 14, 2010

All Piedmonters, young and old, are invited to the first meeting of Piedmont CONNECT, a new community group dedicated to building a more environmentally sustainable future right here in Piedmont.

Recognizing that there are already many great environmental efforts afoot in our community, the objective of CONNECT is to provide a forum where people can share ideas and find ways to collaborate.  While national, state and city policies are going to be important in shaping how our society takes on the twin challenges of climate change and peak oil (declining oil reserves), the initiatives citizens take on the local level, in our day-to-day lives, are immeasurably important. The goal of CONNECT is to celebrate and encourage these efforts.  Depending on who chooses to participate in this process, groups may coalesce around topics related to food, transportation, energy, waste reduction, health, and other issues–for example, some people may be interested in starting an organic gardeners’ exchange, others in forming a pool of volunteers to monitor waste sorting at major City events, others in sharing information about energy efficiency with other homeowners … there are many possibilities for how citizens can connect with each other and take positive action towards a creating a greener, more resilient community.

Feel free to bring information about projects you or your group are already working on or are interested in.  Everyone with an interest in or curiosity about promoting environmental sustainability on the local level is encouraged to attend.

Date: Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Location: Guild Hall, Piedmont Community Church , 400 Highland Avenue

For more information, contact:
Heather Clapp clappheather@gmail.com, Margaret Ovenden movenden@sbcglobal.net,
Terry Smith terrysmith@pobox.com, Stella Kennedy stellakennedy@hotmail.com or John White babado@comcast.net

Website: http://sites.google.com/site/connectpiedmont/

Posted in City News, Parks, Recreation, School, Youth Sports | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Green Forum on Synthetic Turf – Thur Sept 24th 7:00pm, PMS Mutlipurpose Room

Posted by movenden on September 22, 2009


As many of you know, the School Board is reconsidering what the surface for the playfield at the new Havens School should be.  The plan had been (and currently still is) for a synthetic turf field, but, in light of concerns about the health and environmental safety of the crumb rubber infill in most synthetic turf, as well as neighbors’ concerns about use issues, the School Board is considering the possibility of changing the surface to something else (grass or an infill alternative).

We know this is an issue many of you care about and want to learn more about. This Thursday, Sept  24, 7:00-8:30 p.m., the “Green Forum on Synthetic Turf,” sponsored by the PUSD Green Committee, at the Piedmont Middle School Multipurpose Room (740 Magnolia Ave) provides the opportunity to do so.  The district is hiring a facilitator for this, and there will be breakout groups so we’ll all have the opportunity to engage in discussion and learn more about this very important issue.

At a later date this fall, the School Board will hold a full hearing on the field surface issues for the Havens Playfield and the decision will be made by December when the “change order’ would have to get in to Webcor (the builder).  Now is the time to understand the issue.  Please come to the meeting so you can learn as well as voice your opinion.

The Havens and Beach Green Committees believe this is an important issue from an environmental perspective, involving big questions about whether or not the precautionary principle should apply.  Other school districts and cities across the country are debating these same issues, and some – most prominently, New York City and the Los Angeles Unified School District – have decided to stop installing more fields with crumb rubber infill.

Independent scientists are urging thorough evaluations before more synthetic fields with recycled tire crumb are installed.  For example, the editors of The Journal of Exposure Science and Epidemiology (from the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School ) argue that:

At the present time, we believe that the million dollar + expense to produce and install a synthetic field by communities and athletic facilities demands a much more thorough understanding of the environmental impacts, human exposure and health risk implications associated with all synthetic turf products available on the market.  This calls for a comprehensive evaluation of artificial turf by exposure scientists, and others in environmental science and environmental health sciences.

For your edification, below are a few of the health and environmental issues associated with rubber infill playing fields. We’re also attaching a letter Margaret sent to the School Board earlier this year.  It describes the issues and contains many links to independent studies.  If you only have time to read something shorter, there are links to some informational flyers on the issue at the very end of this message.


Jill Lindenbaum
Heather Clapp
Havens Green Committee

Margaret Ovenden
Beach Green Committee


What are the health and environmental issues?

TOXICITY: Crumb rubber from waste tires contains toxic chemicals and heavy metals with documented links to harmful health effects.  These include toluene (developmental toxicant), benzene (carcinogen, developmental and reproductive toxicant), styrene (neurotoxic), butadiene (carcinogen), butylated hydroxyanisole (carcinogen).  Tire rubber contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), phthalates, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), as well as zinc, lead, cadmium and other metals.

INHALATION, INGESTION: There is potential for all of these toxins to be inhaled, absorbed through the skin, and even swallowed by children who play on these fields.

MIGRATION: Rubber pellets can be tracked into the classroom, car and home, where exposure continues.

RUN-OFF: A number of the chemicals in crumb rubber are soluble in water and might leach from the fields to contaminate ground water and soil.

HEAT: These fields can get very hot when temperatures are high, posing a risk of heat stress or heat stroke.  Manufacturers readily admit that a synthetic field can run 10-30 degrees F hotter than a grass field.  Synthetic fields contribute to the “urban heat island”effect.

INFECTION: Abrasion injuries (“rug burn”) that occur on synthetic turf create “pathways” for bacterial infections, including MRSA.  Properly maintained synthetic fields require regular disinfection.

INJURIES: Synthetic turf may cause more sports injuries (e.g. “turf toe”) than grass.  The jury is out on this.  Professional sports players prefer grass.

DISPOSAL: Synthetic fields wear out and must be replaced every 8-15 years.  How to dispose of the crumb rubber is especially a problem, because it contains toxins and carcinogens.

Better alternatives:


–          PUSD successfully maintains Witter Baseball and Softball fields as natural grass fields with very little pesticide and herbicide use (and plans to use even less of these in the future).

–          Grass helps decrease CO2, provides a habitat for many living organisms, and cools the surrounding area.

–          Newer varieties of grass exist which require less water and mowing.

–          Soils in grass fields contain bacteria which decompose body fluids, algae and animal and bird droppings.


–          Organic infill made from crushed cork and coconut husks does not have the issues with chemicals that crumb rubber infill has.

–          Does not retain heat the way crumb rubber does; may have a cooling effect.

–          At the end of the lifecycle, the organic infill can be recycled.

What you can do:

ATTEND the September 24 “Green Forum on Synthetic Turf” sponsored by the PUSD Green Initiative (7:00-8:30 p.m., Piedmont Middle School Multipurpose Room, 740 Magnolia Ave) to gain a better understanding of what are the health and environmental issues that need to be considered in making a choice between synthetic turf and grass.

WRITE the Board of Education expressing your opinion.  Attend any Board meetings on the issue.  (Sometime before December, the Board will make a decision.) School Board e-mails: rgadbois@piedmont.k12.ca.us, rtolles@piedmont.k12.ca.us, jmonach@piedmont.k12.ca.us, mjones@piedmont.k12.ca.us, rraushenbush@piedmont.k12.ca.us

DISCUSS this issue with your friends, teammates, others you think would be concerned.

READ UP ON THE ISSUE: Some places to start:

SHORT FLYER: What to Know About Turf Fields? From Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center .


SHORT FLYER: Common Exposures: Synthetic Turf.  From Grassroots Environmental Education.  http://www.grassrootsinfo.org/syntheticturf.html

SHORT FLYER: “Grass playing fields vs. synthetic turf: How will your district decide?” New Jersey Education Association http://www.njea.org/pdfs/HS_GrassTurf_May08.pdf

Synthetic Turf: Health Debate Takes Root,” March 2008 Environmental Health Perspectives, published by the National Institute of Environmental Health  Sciences http://www.ehponline.org/members/2008/116-3/EHP116pa116PDF.PDF

“Artificial Turf: Exposures to Ground-Up Rubber Tires,” 2007 Environment and Human Health, Inc., www.ehhi.org/reports/turf/

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1st PUSD Green Initiative Committee Meeting

Posted by movenden on November 15, 2008

Below is the agenda for our first meeting, as well as a list of the committee members. Please let others at your school know that this is an open meeting and that comments and feedback are welcomed. The main goal for this meeting is to review the charge of the committee, share our visions of how Piedmont schools can become more green, and start developing a common vision. There will also be two short presentations to start orienting us to some of the issues at hand (see below). Committee members, be sure to bring your calendars, as we will be setting meeting times for the rest of the school year. Look forward to seeing you on Thursday!

Agenda for 1st PUSD
Green Initiative Committee Meeting

Thursday November 20, 3:30-5:30 p.m., PUSD Offices, 760 Magnolia St .

  • Introductions
  • Review tasks/charge of committee
    • 3-year Policy and Action Plan to present to School Board by June 09 (with policies for Sustainability in Construction, Waste Reduction, Landscaping and Grounds, Environmental Education)
    • Year 1 (2009-10) Develop policies for Energy Conservation, EPP (Environmentally Preferable Purchasing), Climate Action
    • Years 2-3 (2010-12) Continued implementation and evaluation of action plan and policies
  • Presentation: What is a green school? What are other schools doing? (Presentation by Deborah Moore of the Green Schools Initiative)
  • Visioning process (hear from everyone, summarize) (30 min)
    • Questions: How could you envision our schools being greener 4 years from now?
  • Presentation: Sustainability in Construction: Modernization & Measure “E” (Presentation by John Nelson of Murakami/Nelson)
  • Comments on Sustainability in Construction presentation
  • Set future meeting times
    • January (PUSD Green Progress Report, continue with Sustainability in Construction, start with Waste Reduction and Environmental Education)
    • March (Continue with previous policy areas, Landscaping and Grounds)
    • May (tie it all together, getting ready to present to School Board

Margaret Ovenden

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Shades of Green

Posted by Len Gilbert on September 22, 2008

This Saturday is the Piedmont Goes Green fundraiser party for the Piedmont Elementary tri-school fund, and coming up is another green-themed fundraiser, this one for Crocker Highlands Elementary School.

Shades of Green: A Crocker Highlands Home & Garden Tour

Come enjoy an exclusive opportunity to view seven very special homes and gardens in the charming, tree-lined Crocker Highlands Neighborhood of Oakland. The self-guided walking tour takes place on Sunday, October 5, 2008 from 10 AM to 4 PM.

In addition to the tour, there will be a Green Design Expo, held on the school grounds from 10 am to 3pm, highlighting eco-friendly construction and landscaping techniques and giving the public access to professionals knowledgeable about sustainable products and design. Al fresco dining will be available throughout the day. The Green Design Expo is free and open to the public.

This event is a PTA fundraiser for the benefit of Crocker Highlands Elementary, one of Oakland’s most diverse and successful schools. All proceeds will fund student enrichment programs.

For further questions, or if you are interested in sponsoring the event, please contact us at 510-452-5588 or shadesofgreen@crockerschool.org.

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Green Schools: Presentation and Community Discussion

Posted by movenden on May 8, 2008

Green Building * Recycling * Walking School Buses * No Trash Lunches * School Gardens * Green Cleaning * Composting * Solar Panels * Energy Conservation * Environmental Education * Healthy Lunches * Safe Plastics *

Many exciting “green” initiatives are in the air among parents, teachers, students and staff at the Piedmont schools …

…Come hear more about what’s happening … find a place to make your own contribution … make connections with people from other schools … be inspired …

Presentation and Community Discussion on

Green Schools

Thursday, May 8th – 7:15-8:45 pm

Beach School Auditorium

Presentation by Deborah Moore, Executive Director of the Green Schools Initiative: How have other schools “gone green” and what are some of the best practices for organizing this process?

Community Discussion among parents, teachers, students, community and school leaders from all the Piedmont schools (Beach, Havens, Wildwood, Middle School, High School and Millennium):

  • Each school’s “green” projects or plans (successes and challenges)
  • How can we coordinate our efforts and move forward together?

Sponsored by the Beach Parents’ Organization’s Green Committee. For more information or to let us know that you want to participate, contact Margaret Ovenden at movenden@sbcglobal.net

The Little Green Schoolhouse

(Graphic by the Green Schools Initiative http://www.greenschools.net/)

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