About Solar 4R Schools
Inspiring a new generation of clean energy leaders
Seven of the ten occupations projected to grow most rapidly over the next decade are in science, technology and engineering fields and yet in 2013 the U.S. was ranked 49th out of 148 countries for quality of science and math education. Unfortunately, there is a conspicuous illiteracy around STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education and energy topics in our nation’s schools. As of 2010, less than one-third of U.S. eighth graders show proficiency in mathematics and science.
“STEM education will determine whether the U.S. will be able to solve immense challenges in such areas as energy, health, environmental protection and national security.”
—PRESIDENT’S COUNCIL ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
When teachers have the right mix of educational tools and engaging classroom activities, they can bring energy topics to life for their students while preparing them for the jobs of the 21st century. Unfortunately, these tools are often expensive and difficult to find, or worse, they are challenging for educators to efficiently integrate into existing science requirements. Cutbacks to education budgets have made it even more difficult for teachers to build STEM curricula that include renewable energy education.
“Perhaps no ecological issue is more urgent than the need to shift away
from our reliance on fossil fuels.”
—ALLEN HERSCHKOWITZ, PH.D., NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL
At BEF, we believe education plays a critical role in securing a clean energy, low-carbon future. And as interest in solar energy development continues to expand, we recognize the potential to turn every solar array into a hands-on, interactive educational tool—and in so doing build a nation of energy literate citizens who understand the science and benefits of renewable energy. With the help of our corporate, foundation and utility partners, our mission is to inspire a new generation of clean energy leaders with the insight and innovative thinking needed to solve the world’s biggest energy challenges.
To get there, we’ve developed one of the most comprehensive, teacher-tested renewable energy education programs available to K-12 teachers nationwide. Our customized teacher trainings, teacher-generated classroom activities, cutting-edge online Energy Exploration Center, and hands-on science kits bridge the gap between a demand for STEM education, teacher skill development and the practical demands of educators to make the integration of these resources into the classroom as seamless as possible.
In addition to directly supporting education and solar energy development, our school projects provide funding partners with an exceptional opportunity to engage students, school administrators, media, community members and other stakeholders. Through a range of engineering challenges, interactive kiosks, and co-branded educational displays, our funding partners authentically connect with local communities of interest, creating an invaluable platform to share their broader sustainability story
At BEF, we believe addressing the planet’s most pressing environmental challenges requires innovation, creative problem solving and discovering a new way of doing business that values the natural resources we depend on.
We are entrepreneurs for the planet. Through a full suite of innovative energy, carbon and water solutions we are helping our partners—from the farmer to the corporation—redefine how business gets done. We help our partners meaningfully balance their environmental impact, invest in clean energy and carbon reduction, educate the next generation of clean energy leaders, and effectively and sustainably restore the health of freshwater resources.
Learn more about BEF at www.b-e-f.org.
Want to learn more about renewable energy? Check out our reading list for good books on solar, wind and other sources.
Green Job Resources
Everyone’s talking about green jobs these days, so how do you get one? Check out our list of higher education programs and job boards to learn more.
More Links & Resources
Solar 4R Schools works with lots of organizations that specialize in renewable energy. Check our list and visit their sites for more information.