Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sprouts of Hope: Launching "Energy Lite" at the Cambridge Public Library

Energy Lite + Kill A Watt Meters

By Maya

On Tuesday night, June 22, the Sprouts of Hope had a gathering in the main Cambridge Public Library to announce and celebrate the launch of our book, "Energy Lite" along with Kill A Watt Meters into the library's system. This means that people in Cambridge -- and in surrounding communities that are part of the Minuteman Library system -- are now able to check out these two items together and use them to learn more about their energy use at home.

When we arrived early to set up our display table to showcase our book, we were delighted to discover a bunch of our books. It was really fun to see our words and pictures as a printed book and a bar code on the front; this will be used to keep track of the books when families check them out of the library. Seeing all of this meant that our idea of creating a book that families could use to teach their kids about smart ways to use energy really had happened -- and that felt good.

Next to the books we found specially designed packages, each containing a Kill A Watt meter and ready to be put on the library shelves, too. Each meter is inside of a molded plastic box and there is a lot of information about how to use the meters on the outside and the inside of each case. And it was very cool to find that our name -- The Sprouts of Hope -- is on the meter packaging, too. It also has a similar border design around the rim as the one I drew for the book's cover.

We are so grateful to P3 International -- the company that makes Kill A Meters -- for donating 20 of them to the Cambridge Public Library. Their donation made a big difference in making this project happen at the library; now every copy of our book has a companion Kill A Watt meter that can be checked out at the same time.

We also want to thank New England Roots & Shoots for ALL of its great support of us while we work on this book and for the mini-grant they gave us that enabled 50 copies of "Energy Lite" to be printed in a partnership with the library, which paid for the printing, too. We will use some of these copies as we work with Roots & Shoots and other partners to find ways to get this book into libraries in other communities.

At this event we held a raffle -- with the prize being a Kill A Watt meter that we bought to give away. Guests didn’t buy tickets to enter; they simply filled out a card pledging what they would do differently in their homes to conserve energy -- and they came up with some good ideas. A fellow classmate of ours turned out to be the winner.

Although mostly filled with mingling and refreshments, there were a couple brief speeches. My mom, Melissa, talked about the terrific partners we had that made this possible for us to do, and thanked our friends, John Taguiri, whose photographs of us illustrate the book, and Lois Fiore, who helped design the pages. Sally Sharp-Lehman, who directs the New England Roots & Shoots program spoke about how what we did fits into the spirit of Jane Goodall's vision of what kids can do to make a difference. [And Dr. Jane Goodall wrote words about our book that appear on its back cover, and we are grateful to her for doing that.] Henrietta Davis, the Vice-Mayor of Cambridge, praised our work, as did Sarah Kennedy, an assistant to Mayor David Maher, who could not be with us that evening. Hearing them talk so positively about the value of our project to the community made us feel like we'd done something very worthwhile.

Here's a photograph of all of us together.

Of course, the Sprouts of Hope got a chance to talk, too. Melissa asked each of us question about our work on the book or Kill A Watt meters or thoughts about the project in general, and I think by doing that the people who came to the event learned about why and how we decided to do this project. [Earlier on our blog we wrote how we went about creating Energy Lite, so I hope you'll go back and read that.]

The launching of our book at the library went really well, and now it’s up to people to check out our book about learn about energy conservation.

A story was published in Cambridge Day, an online news site, and you can read it at:

Earlier in the day we had an amazing opportunity to appear on The Callie Crossley Show, a public radio program on WGBH in Boston, to talk about "Energy Lite" and some of the other things we do as the Sprouts of Hope. We were really nervous about doing a live radio show, so we practiced a lot on how to make our answers make sense. When we finally did the show, I think it went well. You can listen by clicking on this link and then listening to the show from June 22. We're the first ones on the show and she talked with us for about 20 minutes.

We are going to be looking for ways that "Energy Lite" can reach even more people. If you have some ideas -- or would like to work with us to see if you can have a copy in your library -- please let us know.