January 31, 2012

The Future of Science Education http://www.futurewecreate.com/

Join a distinguished group of thought leaders as they explore how improvements in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education can generate greater workforce readiness in the United States.

Beginning with a video presentation, and followed by an online chat, The Future of Science Education: STEM and Workforce Readiness will both examine the broad set of issues facing STEM education and hone in on project-based learning models. From transforming graduation rates across the board to fostering engagement and interest in STEM subjects, project-based learning is proving its unique value.

January 27, 2012

Clean, Green and Healthy Schools Webinar Series

Hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 8, the webinars are designed for schools serving tribal communities but are OPEN TO ALL: school administrators, risk managers, educators, health and safety coordinators, school health professionals, environmental protection personnel, parents, communities, and EPA personnel.

Please register to attend. You may attend one or more presentations in the webinar series and there is no cost to attend.
Register at: www.epa.gov/region8/tribalschools
For additional information:  Matthew M. Langenfeld, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8, 1595 Wynkoop Street, 8P-P3T, Denver, CO 80202, 303-312-6284, Langenfeld.matthew@epa.gov
Integrated Pest Management & Green Cleaning in Schools
Mike Daniels, Native Integrated Pest Management Consultant
North Central Integrated Pesticide Management
Marie Zanowick, EPA
2/1/2012 3:30 PM MST, 5:30 PM EST

Recycling, Composting & Gardening in Schools
Virginia Till, EPA
Diane Jourdan, Oneida and Stockbridge Tribe
2/8/2012 3:30 PM MST, 5:30 PM EST

Indoor Air in Schools
Mansel Nelson; Graylynn Jaysue Hudson, Northern Arizona
Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals
2/15/2012 3:30 PM, 5:30 PM EST

Energy & Water Conservation in Schools
Deenise Becenti, Navajo Tribal Utility Authority
2/22/2012 3:30 PM MST, 5:30 PM EST

January 26, 2012

Successful Strategies for Creating a Culture of Laboratory Safety
by Bryan Connors, M.S., C.I.H., H.E.M.

Felony charges have been filed against the University of California and a University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) chemistry professor in connection with a laboratory fire that killed a staff research assistant three years ago. The L.A. County district attorney’s office has filed criminal charges against the chemistry professor responsible for the training and supervision of the research assistant, and the regents of the University of California with three counts each of willfully violating occupational health and safety standards, resulting in the research assistant’s death. 

This tragedy has prompted universities and biotech facilities across the nation to scrutinize their own laboratory safety programs to ensure that they are adequately protecting employees from injury. EH&E manages environmental health and safety (EH&S) programs for several large research institutions in Boston and Cambridge, MA and understands these concerns. Similar incidents reported by the media have driven our staff to conduct internal reviews of our own programs to identify vulnerabilities and make improvements. This article offers insights from our internal reviews and resulting efforts on strategies we’ve found to be successful at improving safety program performance...

Continue reading here

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Environmental Health and Engineering Webinar
Best Practice Strategies for Laboratory Safety Programs 
2/7/12 EST   Pice: $0.00

Learn best practices and proven strategies for implementing, maximizing, and tracking the effectiveness of lab safety management programs. 

Registration Deadline:  2/7/2012 10:00:00 AM 


January 22, 2012

Safety task force will evaluate evacuation plan By Sarah Hite, Staff Writer  shite@timesleader.com   January 22  http://www.timesleader.com/TheDallasPost/news/Safety_task_force_will_evaluate_evacuation_plan_01-22-2012.html
Parents have demanded a specific evacuation plan tailored to a natural gas emergency for the Dallas School District, and district officials recently announced the creation of a safety task force, comprised of local first responders, board members and natural gas experts, to aid in the development of a plan.

January 19, 2012

The marker at the site of the 1937 Texas School Explosion.
March 18, 2012 is the 75th anniversary of the 1937 Texas School Explosion, a massive explosion that destroyed the New London Junior Senior High School killing an estimated 296 students and teachers. The subsequent deaths of victims from injuries sustained brought the final death count to 311(*). The explosion was attributed to the odorless gas leak beneath the school building. The memorial to victims of this explosion was erected in 1939. *Due to the mobility of the people in the oil industry and lack of records, we do not know the exact number that died. Today the estimate is 319. (Photo: Ellie Goldberg, 2005)

January 14, 2012

Got gas?

Rampant city gas leaks. 65 million American households use natural gas to heat and cook. And thanks to the mining technique known as hydraulic fracturing, supply is soaring and so is demand. But delivering on natural gas’s promise, and distributing trillions of cubic feet through a maze of millions of miles of pipelines is fraught with many potential problems and real dangers, including contributing to climate change. 
Living On Earth

What to do if you smell gas?
Note from City of Newton website: Natural Gas

Only Your Nose Can Detect a Natural Gas Odor

Natural gas has no scent of its own. The natural gas "odor" is actually added for safety reasons to aid in the detection of a gas leak. The "rotten egg" smell helps you detect even the tiniest gas leak.

A natural gas leak can be extremely dangerous, so use the following advice when you smell natural gas.

Gas Leaks, Odors and Emergencies  (24 hours a day):    911 or 1-800-231-5325

If you smell a faint odor:

Look for the source.
Check pilot lights on your furnace, water heater or stove.
Re-light pilot lights only if you're familiar with the process; otherwise, call us at the number above.
Make sure the burners on your stove are completely turned off.
If you can't find the source of the odor, call the number above.

If you smell a strong odor:

Leave the home or building immediately and leave the door open behind you to allow air to enter.
Call the emergency number above using a neighbor's phone or a cellular phone.
If you detect an odor outdoors, leave the area immediately and call the number.
When leaving a home or building, do not use any electrical devices that might create spark, such as light switches, flashlights, telephones, and computers.


The aftermath of a school explosion

January 13, 2012  Science room mishap prompts HAZMAT response at David Douglas High

August 12, 1985 Science Class...
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close:
The aftermath of a school explosion
NYTIMES Magazine, February 27, 2005. "The Rescue Artist," by Deborah Solomon. Below is an excerpt from an article about Jonathan Safran Foer, Author of Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. 
… "Astoundingly, he insists that his development as a writer was shaped less by his parents and by his genetic endowments, less even by the novelists and poets he loves, than by a single event: the Explosion, as he calls it. ...
[His email] began: “Firstly, let me say that these are, quite literally, the first words I’ve ever written about this. Ever.  Literally not a single world.” Foer told me later that he had composed the message at home, at the desk in his cluttered basement workshop, his thin face streaked with tears. The letter recounted, in some detail, the event that split the idyll of his childhood in two: the years before Aug. 12, 1985, and the years after.
That bright Monday morning began innocently enough. Foer, a boy of 8, was attending a summer program at Murch Elementary, a pubic school not far from his home. The first lesson of the day was a chemistry project, and in an act of  nearly unbelievable carelessness, the teacher laid out bowls of combustible materials.  The goal was to make sparklers...

Includes The Washington Post article: $11 Million Awarded for Boy Burned in School Lab

January 13, 2012

My Boys and Girls Are in There
by Ron Rozelle, Publication Date: March 1, 2012
6 x 9, 184 pp.18 b&w photos. Appendix. Index.

The 1937 New London School Explosion

On March 18, 1937, a spark ignited a vast pool of natural gas that had collected beneath the school building in New London, a tiny community in East Texas. The resulting explosion leveled the four-year-old structure and resulted in a death toll of more than three hundred—most of them children. To this day, it is the worst school disaster in the history of the United States. The tragedy and its aftermath were the first big stories covered by Walter Cronkite, then a young wire service reporter stationed in Dallas. He would later say that no war story he ever covered—during World War II or Vietnam—was as heart-wrenching.

In the weeks following the tragedy, a fact-finding committee sought to determine who was to blame. It soon became apparent that the New London school district had, along with almost all local businesses and residents, tapped into pipelines carrying unrefined gas from the plentiful oil fields of the area. It was technically illegal, but natural gas was in abundance in the “Oil Patch.” The jerry-rigged conduits leaked the odorless “green” gas that would destroy the school.

A long-term effect of the disaster was the shared guilt experienced—for the rest of their lives—by most of the survivors. There is, perhaps, no better example than Bill Thompson, who was in his fifth grade English class and “in the mood to flirt” with Billie Sue Hall, who was sitting two seats away. Thompson asked another girl to trade seats with him. She agreed—and was killed in the explosion, while Thompson and Hall both survived and lived long lives, never quite coming to terms with their good fortune.

My Boys and Girls Are in There: The 1937 New London School Explosion is a meticulous, candid account by veteran educator and experienced author Ron Rozelle. Unfolding with the narrative pace of a novel, the story woven by Rozelle—beginning with the title—combines the anguished words of eyewitnesses with telling details from the historical and legal record. Released to coincide with the seventy-fifth anniversary of the New London School disaster, My Boys and Girls Are in There paints an intensely human portrait of this horrific event.

The author of seven previous books, Ron Rozelle is a member of the Texas Institute of Letters.

The New London explosion – Two views of America's worst school ...On March 18, 1937, in East Texas' tiny New London community, a natural gas explosion killed some 300 students, teachers and others at London Junior-Senior ...

January 12, 2012

Gordon College Annual Green Chemistry Lecture

January 06, 2012

Get ready for National Healthy Schools Day

Activity Ideas from the Bourne TX Educational Leadership Forum:  LINK
Virtual School Walkthrough Webinar 2.0:
Effectively Responding to Common IAQ Issues and Concerns
Thursday, January 26, 2012, 1 – 2:30 p.m. EST

This webinar is a follow-on to the Virtual School Walkthrough 1.0 webinar, held in December 2011. This webinar will touch upon the information presented in December, but further delve into how you can effectively respond to IAQ issues and concerns and how to communicate your IAQ assessment findings to your school community.
Attend this webinar to:
·         Discover best practices for addressing IAQ issues raised by teachers, students, staff and other school community members. Learn how to maintain effective communication throughout the issue response and resolution process.
·         Learn tips and techniques on how to properly use common IAQ instruments, including how and when to collect data, interpret it, and effective ways to report your results.
·         Understand the limitations of air sampling for mold and other pollutants, the relative value of a thorough visual inspection, and what can be accomplished without the use of instruments.
·         Hear how to foster a culture of open communication in your district where reports of IAQ concerns are welcomed and encouraged as part of a quality IAQ management plan.

This webinar is offered at no cost to participants. Don’t miss your chance to have your questions answered by the speakers – send your questions by clicking the button below or sending an email to IAQTfSConnector@cadmusgroup.com by January 23, 2012.

January 01, 2012

Gone at 3:17: The Untold Story of the Worst School Disaster in American History 

David M. Brown and Michael Wereschagin

... Gone at 3:17 is a true story of what can happen when school officials make bad decisions. To save money on heating the school building, the trustees had authorized workers to tap into a pipeline carrying “waste” natural gas produced by a gasoline refinery. The explosion led to laws that now require gas companies to add the familiar pungent odor. The knowledge that the tragedy could have been prevented added immeasurably to the heartbreak experienced by the survivors and the victims’ families. The town would never be the same.

Using interviews, testimony from survivors, and archival newspaper files, Gone at 3:17 puts readers inside the shop class to witness the spark that ignited the gas. Many of those interviewed during twenty years of research are no longer living, but their acts of heroism and stories of survival live on in this meticulously documented and extensively illustrated book.

The New London explosion – Two views of America's worst school ...On March 18, 1937, in East Texas' tiny New London community, a natural gas explosion killed some 300 students, teachers and others at London Junior-Senior ...