LINCOLN, AL (March 3, 2009) – High school teachers across Central Alabama traded their classrooms for the manufacturing floor today in an effort to explore ”green innovations” and what role today’s modern manufacturing systems can play in helping solve environmental issues.
Honda Manufacturing of Alabama Special Events Coordinator Fran Pope, center, works closely with Birmingham math teachers, Delphine B. Thirkill (Parker High School), left, and Tamekia Beverly (Alabama School of Fine Arts) to build a solar powered model car.
“The Green Innovator education outreach program is designed to create a dialogue between teachers and students about their community and school, how these places are designed and the relationships between the built and natural environment,” said Christopher Kennedy, program manager with New York City-based Solar One. Solar One works to educate New Yorkers about environmental issues through education, outreach and arts programming and is New York City’s only Green Energy, Arts and Education Center.
Titled “The Green Innovator,” the one-day program offered 25 area teachers hands-on activities, case studies, research ideas and an up-close look at how the 4,500 associates at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama work aggressively to reduce the environmental impact of its manufacturing activities, including significant efforts to reduce energy, water use, air emissions and waste materials.
“When you consider a car’s impact on the environment, the manufacturing process is sometimes overlooked,” said Mark McNally, environmental manager at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama in
Lincoln . “At Honda, our engineering decisions focus on efficiency and ecologically sound manufacturing processes,” said McNally. “We’re committed to making every effort to recycle materials and conserve resources and energy at every stage of our products’ life cycle – from research, design, production and sales, to service and disposal.
Sponsored by Honda, Solar One and the Japanese Automobile Manufacturer’s Association, The Green Innovator program introduces teachers and students to the concept of “systems thinking” in order to understand the connection between design and use – and its impact to the environment. Teachers also received a $200 grant from Honda to assist in implementing The Green Innovator program in their classrooms.
About 25 teachers from Jefferson, St. Clair, Calhoun, Talladega and Etowah counties participated in the one-day training workshop at Honda’s automotive and engine operation in Lincoln. Each educator received The Green Innovator curriculum and a kit to build a solar-powered model car. Their packets also included a small “Kill-O-Watt Meter,” which gives a real-time digital read-out of electricity use when products are plugged into it.
The teachers were also given a tour of Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, which pointed out key examples of energy reduction, materials usage and “green factory initiatives” Honda employs in the daily production of Odyssey minivans, Pilot sport utility vehicles and Ridgeline pickup trucks at the Lincoln plant. A fuel-efficient 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid sedan was also on display for the teachers to see first-hand Honda’s industry-leading environmental technology at work in the marketplace.
About Solar One:
Solar One is New York City’s only Green Energy, Arts and Education Center, working to educate New Yorkers about environmental issues through education, outreach and arts programming. Started as a project of Community Environmental Center, Solar One has reached tens of thousands of people in just three years and drawn acclaim for its unique and innovative approach. For more information about Solar One: Green Energy, Arts and Education Center visit: www.solar1.org
About the Japan Automobile Manufacturer’s Association:
JAMA is a Tokyo-based trade association representing 14 Japanese car, truck, bus and motorcycle manufacturers. JAMA maintains offices in the United States, Europe and Asia.