ROSES to the third-grade summer school students at Estes Hills Elementary School who are helping make the environment a little bit healthier.The kids studied water conservation and received a presentation from Chapel Hill's stormwater management department about the importance of clean water. Inspired, the students looked around the school to see how they could help. They spotted some problems, including erosion and unmarked storm drains, and presented the school's administrators with a list of possible solutions.With Principal Cheryl Carnahan's encouragement, the students decided to tackle the storm drain issue. They made began a "Drain no waste" project to prevent garbage and toxic chemicals from being dumped into the drains, which lead to streams and lakes.The town stormwater folks heard about the project and volunteered to help.On Thursday, the students and town staff glued placards to each of the school's 13 storm drains to remind everyone to keep waste out of the drains, and out of the lakes and rivers.
ROSES to Carrboro High School, which recently was named the state's first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certified high school.The certification reflects top marks in environmental design. The school was designed by Moseley Architects of Raleigh.Among the green features at Carrboro are three 35,000-gallon cisterns that collect filtered rainwater for toilets with retention ponds to catch overflow for landscape watering, large windows to harvest daylight and efficient fluorescent lights to supplement rainy days and nights.
ROSES to the organizers of the Painted Walls Project, which will breathe fresh life into the Chapel Hill's distinctive downtown murals.It might be easy for those of us who walk by them every day to forget that local artist Michael Brown's murals are an integral part of the character and fabric of Chapel Hill. They are among the things that make this place this place, and they say something about our belief in the importance of art and creativity in keeping a community vibrant.They've been up for a long time; he painted the first one, the blue nighttime scene facing the East Rosemary Street parking lot, in 1989. Over time they've taken some wear from sun and weather. The Preservation Society of Chapel Hill, The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership and the Town of Chapel Hill Public Arts Commission responded by initiating a move to raise awareness about the murals and to raise money for their upkeep. The effort gained a lot of public support, and became the Painted Walls Project.Thanks to that work and support, Brown recently began cleaning and restoring the first of the murals to be spruced up, the giant pencil on Henderson Street.No telling yet how many of the murals will be able to be restored thanks to the project. But the organizers and Brown have made a start.