Protect: Air/Indoor Air Quality

Protect: Air / Plants In Every Room

According to Dr. B.C. Wolverton, NASA scientist and author of How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 Houseplants that Purify your Home or Office, 20 percent of American children attend schools with poor indoor air quality. Indoor environments can be up to ten times more polluted than outdoor environments, and in modern times, humans spend up to 90% of their time indoors. NASA studies prove that cultivating plants is a method of improving indoor air quality. Not only that, but plants also enhance the appearance of interior surroundings, making rooms friendly and inviting and providing an uplifting, peaceful effect. Schools must be able to show that they can SUSTAIN the project! Follow these steps to earn a Green Step for Protect: Air

  1. PLANT SEEDS IN SCHOOL MILK CONTAINERS. Try soybean seeds. If you plant soybean seeds, have students research the wonders of this marvelous plant which can be used to make protein-rich foods, cooking oil, crayons, edible candles, printing ink, bio-fuel, and yes…even milk! Older students can study the sustainability advantages of soy products over animal and carbon-based alternatives.
  2. PROPAGATE PLANTS. Reuse glass or plastic bottles as rooting containers for cuttings then pot the plants when they are ready. Some cuttings will thrive in the rooting bottles all school year.
  3. PLACE USED COFFEE FILTERS AT THE BOTTOM OF A POT that you’re planting in so that the water will drain through but not the dirt.
  4. MAKE GREAT POTTING SOIL by thoroughly mixing a 40 lb bag of the cheapest potting soil you can get, one bag of Perlite and a handful of Compote.
  5. REUSE FOAM PACKING “PEANUTS” AT THE BOTTOM OF POTS to provide lightweight drainage.
  6. PLACE FLOWER POTS INSIDE STEEL CAFETERIA CANS painted with Rustoleum and decorated and labeled with common and botanical names and care instructions. Click here for Green Steps plant labels for identifying your plants.
  7. REQUEST THAT FAMILIES, BUSINESSES AND CHURCHES DONATE POINSETTIAS to the school after the holidays. These can become beautiful green classroom plants. The plants that die can be composted. If the plants are not diseased the soil can be reused for potting.
  8. HOLD A PLANT SALE ONCE A YEAR. Encourage students and staff to purchase small plants to give to someone who has “helped them grow” during the first semester.
  9. START A “GREEN CROSS” CLUB of students and staff members who will monitor that each room has a plant that will thrive in the given light conditions, provide information on watering and fertilizing, swap out plants that need “first aid”, nurse plants back to health, plan an annual plant sale and make arrangements for plant care during holidays.

Houseplants can improve indoor air quality and remove pollutants such as VOCs (volatile organic compound) and acetone. Schools can promote healthier learning environments by encouraging plants in every classroom–a fun easy project that is supported by Green Steps Schools.

Check out this research profile  from the State University of New York

Protect: Air Web Resources