Teachers to receive FPL grants for renewable energy projects

By Esther Griego….
Florida Power & Light Company recently announced that three teachers in Miami-Dade County are recipients of its 2010 Renewable Energy Teacher Grants totaling $3,000. Additionally, FPL now is accepting applications, due by Oct. 15, for 2011 grants.
FPL is providing a total of $40,500 to 47 teachers at public, private and charter schools in FPL’s 35-county service territory to fund renewable energy classroom projects. The winning projects are designed to help teach school children about renewable energy and adhere to the Florida State Board of Education’s Sunshine State Standards.
“Renewable energy is a critical component of Florida’s future, and it’s vital that the next generation understands the science behind new technologies such as solar power,” said Manny J. Rodriguez, FPL’s external affairs manager for Miami-Dade County. “We commend these teachers for taking the initiative to create dynamic, inspiring projects that will enhance the science curriculum in their classrooms.”
Miami-Dade County’s winning teachers, schools and projects are:
Cathy Bellinghieri, grades K-5, Gulfstream Elementary in Cutler Bay — The entire student population will work to understand how humans can use alternative energy sources to create positive change in “Understanding Solar Energy, We Can Help Save the Earth.”
Ana Roman, grade 5, St. Agnes Academy in Key Biscayne — In “Finding Alternatives to Fossil Fuels,” the students participate in a science fair that shows various types of renewable energy technologies that are alternatives to fossil fuels. The science fair takes place before the end of the school year.
Dr. Miverva Santerre, grades 4 and 5, Frank C. Martin K-8 International Center in Richmond Heights — In “GEEKS – Goal-Oriented Energy Efficient Kids for Society,” students will become energy detectives and discover opportunities for improving energy efficiency in their homes and community.
Award recipients were selected by the National Education Energy Development project (NEED), a non-profit organization working with energy companies and agencies to bring balanced energy curriculum and training to the nation’s classrooms.
“Energy is at the forefront of discussions all over the country and the world today,” said NEED executive director Mary Spruill. “These projects will expand learning opportunities to students in the Sunshine State, where renewable energy is more important than ever before.”
The awards range from $500 to $2,500 per project, based on the proposed budget and number of students who will benefit. The grants come from the NextEra Energy Foundation, which is funded by shareholders of Florida Power & Light’s parent company, NextEra Energy Inc.
Projects were judged according to stated goals, energy content, creativity and plans for budget and evaluation. Completed projects may be featured on FPL’s Solar Station website at www.FPL.com/solarstations. The website serves as a resource for other teachers around the state.
To apply for the 2011 grants, interested teachers must fill out an application available at www.FPL.com/solarstations. Completed applications should be emailed to teacher.grants@FPL.com no later than Oct. 15.

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