The CivicSpark Diaries - September 2016

A critical element of the CivicSpark and AmeriCorps experience involves engaging local volunteers in addressing climate issues that directly affect the community. For this component of my service, I’ve been working with other members of the Napa Valley Clean Air Coalition to implement the Bay Area-wide Idle Free campaign here in Napa County. 

Margo Stert_1

The Coalition has decided to focus initially on reducing idling at elementary schools because the resulting exhaust is harmful to human health, especially to children. Parents often leave their cars on while waiting in drop off and pick up zones, but young students have developing lungs that are extra-susceptible to those pollutants. In addition to these heath concerns, idling also pollutes the air, can actually harm your vehicle, and wastes gas.
The Idle Free campaign educates drivers on the negative effects of idling and encourages them to turn off their cars if they’ll be sitting for more than 30 seconds. The program been very successful in other communities but hasn’t taken off yet here in Napa County, so I’m excited to introduce it!
So far, I’ve been meeting with staff and presenting Idle Free information at various elementary schools. We’re looking to educate drivers and engage enthusiastic volunteers by distributing educational materials and getting parents to pledge to be idle free while tabling at school events, by walking with or posting Idle Free signs in pick up zones, and/or by having classroom competitions and prizes for gathering the most pledges to be idle free.

You can pledge to be idle free and be entered to win a prize online, and if you’re interested in volunteering to reduce idling at your school or in your community, please don’t hesitate to email me!

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