Solar panel plan earns Green Bay school “Green Gifts” grant money

Local News

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — Ambitious plans for solar energy are in the works at Aldo Leopold Community School.

“We would like to totally offset our electrical use via solar energy production,” Ned Dorff, a teacher at the school explained.

School officials plan to install solar panels to help power the school.

“We hope to act as an ambassador for solar power,” Dorff said. “That’s why we’re going to be putting them on the south-facing wall instead of our roof to start with. We’d like the community to know that we are invested in clean technology and invested in a healthier future.”

The idea caught Cellcom’s attention and earned the school one of its Green Gifts Grants.

“They’re making our communities better and our world better by what they’re doing,” Brighid Riodan, Chief Innovation Officer for Cellcom said of the project.

Riodan presented the grant to the school Thursday morning.

She explained the money was derived from recycling old cell phones.

“They actually give us sometimes a few pennies, sometimes a couple of dollars per phone,” Riodan said, “depending on what they can get from it. We decided to turn that into a grant program where we give that right back to the community and those people who are working on those eco-initiatives.”

The school was awarded $3,000 to help kickstart its solar energy program.

Dorff told Local 5 that they hope to install solar panels by Earth Day 2020.

“We want our kids to be environmentally aware from a very young age,” he said, “and we want them to know that we can all make a difference, even if it’s a small difference.”

In all, the Green Gift program gave $37,398 to 32 recipients across Cellcom’s service area.

Other recipients in Northeast Wisconsin include:

  • an additional $4,232 to Bay Beach Restoration.
  • $2,000 to Greater Green Bay YMCA Camp U-Nah-Li-Ya for their environmental education camp.
  • $1,500 to the Lower Fox River Watershed Monitoring Project to collect scientific data on Fox River tributaries and educate students on factors that impact water resources.
  • $750 to Baird Creek Preservation Foundation, Inc. to support its environmental education programs.
  • $750 to Brown County Parks – Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve to update technology in its classroom.

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