A forwarded school email helped Woodmore teacher Ellen Saffran get a free trip to San Diego.
Saffran, 36, who has been a biology teacher at Woodmore for the past five years, will be in Southern California from July 16-20 attending Honeywell’s Green Boot Camp.
“I’ve been to San Diego once, about four years ago,” said Saffran, a Port Clinton resident. “I worked on a Rose Bowl float. I used to teach floral design with Toledo Public Schools. They (Rose Bowl parade committee) take volunteers all the time.”
Saffran said she learned of the Green Boot Camp through an email that was forwarded to all of the science teachers at Woodmore by school technology director Beth St. John.
“It was information from Honeywell, and I saw it was in San Diego,” Saffran said. “It was definitely something that interested me. I saw where it said, ‘all expenses paid,’ which is definitely a big thing.
“The (boot camp) intinerary was pretty vague. What I’ve read is that there are at least seven or so large ‘green’ energy companies in the San Diego area. We’re going to be touring those, and there’s also a convention center that’s green and we’re going to be doing some activities and workshops. We’re going to aquariums; we’re going all over the place. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Honeywell’s Green Boot Camp, which began in 2009, is a five-day interactive workshop that provides teachers with hands-on learning experience that they can then take back to their students to learn about green energy. The program is made possible through Honeywell’s Hometown Solutions grant.
Saffran taught the natural sciences at the Natural Science Technology Center for seven years prior to teaching at Woodmore. She was one of only 40 primarily middle school science teachers from around the world who were selected to attend this year’s Green Boot Camp.
All of the teachers sent in an application and a cover letter explaining why they should be chosen to participate in this year’s event. San Diego was chosen to host the annual event for several reasons, including the fact that it has more solar installations than in any other city in California.
“In San Diego we’re going to be building turbines and solar panels and doing hands-on stuff,” Saffran said. “Then we can bring it back and, hopefully, do that with my students. I’m a biology teacher, so I’m not sure how I will integrate this into my classroom. But, I know I’ll be able to. I can bring it back to the teachers who do more of the chemical earth kind of stuff. We can talk about light-capturing energy and maybe integrate it into light and solar panels.
“I’m a botanist by trade, so this is a little out of my comfort zone, but I’m sure I’ll figure out a way to bring it back.”
Saffran added that her cover letter to Honeywell stressed the fact that “I try to live as green a lifestyle as I can and I am interested in emerging technologies and relating it to students.”
“I like to relate it to job and career readiness,” she said. “I’m focused on getting kids skills that will make them more marketable and make Woodmore stand out. Hopefully, we can one day put solar panels on the roof or something like that.”
Honeywell, based in Morristown, N.J., has approximately 130,000 employees and produces a variety of commercial and consumer products such as home thermostats.
Ellen Saffran. (Photo courtesy Woodmore Schools)