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DVD Review: Eco School House

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Eco School House is a documentary about how a tiny community in the Midwest worked together to build a sustainable future for its children. The DVD commemorates the 101 year anniversary of Grant Elementary School, one of the most progressive schools in America. Not only did the school break ground in 2008 on the first community built certified green, LEED, schoolhouse in the United States, but it incorporated a forward-thinking “green” curriculum.

A fire destroyed a classroom trailer on the grounds of an old elementary school in Columbia, Missouri. The community, guided by a visionary architect, banded together with a dedicated builder and the resolute principal to reconstruct the school according to environmentally friendly standards.

The DVD opens with a Mr. Nies, a fifth grade teacher, sifting through the charred remains of his classroom. The fire marshal has no leads on how the fire was started. A gracious teacher calls the fire “a mistake.” The positive attitude of faculty, administration and community, translated to the students, are evident.

After the principal revealed that the insurance company will only give $5,000 to replace an $80,000 trailer, Nick Peckham, of Peckam & Wright Architects came up with an innovative plan to rebuild the school with eco-friendly, locally produced materials. Peckham is a LEED expert (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design which promotes well-developed, energy-efficient building). The school children stuck the first shovel in the ground and Eco School House was born. Undaunted by excessive rain, the community worked together to rebuild their school.

Missouri-made structurally insulated wall and ceiling panels, corn floor tiles, cutting-edge lighting, heating and cooling systems make the Eco Schoolhouse both energy efficient and environmentally friendly. The students contributed their own ideas to keep their school eco-friendly. They banned the use of Styrofoam products. The second graders tend a garden on the grounds. Older students learn what fruit is edible and what belongs in a compost pile. Teachers instruct on many subjects like how much more electricity incandescent bulbs use than those of modern technology.

Care to emulate this progressive, planet-friendly community? The architectural plans and curriculum are included in the bonus materials for the Eco School House video.

This inspiring DVD is ultimately the story of how one, small community raises awareness about environmentally sound lifestyle alternatives. The 39-minute video can be purchased directly from Microcinema.

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About Holly Weiss