Sustainability Academy

The Sustainability Academy is a no-cost education and outreach program designed to raise awareness around sustainability and empower San Mateo County community members with the knowledge and skills to promote sustainability.

“Outstanding course to help families learn the process and implementation of backyard composting. Fun, educational and interactive sessions to help you be successful!”

– Fall 2017 Master Compost and Solid Waste Course Participant

Our diverse range of classes is taught by local experts and offer participants access to cutting-edge sustainability information and best practices. This is a great way to get involved with sustainability projects in your community, build leadership skills, and meet new people who share the same interest!

The Sustainability Academy is a County of San Mateo program that is available to our San Mateo County community members – those who live, work, and go to school in San Mateo County.


Master Compost and Solid Waste Course – Fall 2018

The Sustainability Academy’s Master Compost and Solid Waste Course is a no-cost 8-week, in-class course that will provide you with:

  • In-depth knowledge of backyard and vermi (worm) composting;
  • An understanding of soil biodiversity and all the benefits of adding compost to your soil;
  • An overview of solid waste reduction practices; and
  • Communication, leadership, and instruction skills you can use to educate others how to compost

The Goal of This Course

  • Have Fun – Make friends and new connections with a common interest, and join us for Academy volunteer appreciation events!
  • Get Involved Learn cutting-edge composting and recycling techniques and theory from local sustainability experts, and learn what you can do to empower yourself and others to promote these activities.
  • Give Back Educate your friends, neighbors, kids, teachers, and community on the value of composting and turning garbage into gold!

Important Course Elements

  • After the completion of the course, we require that you volunteer 40 hours of your time using the skills that you learned in the class to promote sustainability in your communities. Volunteering can be completed with the Office of Sustainability, with a third-party organization, or with a DIY creative project. All volunteering must be completed in San Mateo County within one year of course completion. 
  • Participants that attend at least seven out of eight get a choice of taking home a backyard or vermicomposting unit at the end of the 8-week course!
  • Once you complete both the course and the required volunteer hours, you will receive a certificate of completion as recognition of your commitment to sustainability and your community.
  • You must be 14 years or older to attend the classes.
  • Priority will be given to San Mateo County community members, specifically those who live, work and go to school in San Mateo County.
  • If you need ADA accommodations, please contact us at least five (5) business days prior to the first class you will be attending.

Course Schedule & Venue

TBD

Interested in Participating in this Master Course?

Contact Academy Coordinator, Avana Andrade at aandrade@smcgov.org or (650) 599-1459


Master Resource Conservation Course – Winter 2018

The Sustainability Academy’s Master Resource Conservation Course is a no-cost 8-week, in-class course that will provide you with in-depth knowledge of the following sustainability topics:

  • Climate change
  • Sea level rise
  • Energy efficiency and conservation
  • Water efficiency and conservation
  • Solid waste management
  • Transportation
  • Other basic sustainability topics
  • Communication, leadership, and instruction skills you can use to teach others about sustainability

THE GOAL OF THIS COURSE

  • HAVE FUN – Make friends and new connections with a common interest, and join us for Academy volunteer appreciation events!
  • GET INVOLVED – Learn cutting-edge resource conservation techniques and theory from local sustainability experts, and learn what you can do to empower yourself and others to promote these activities.
  • GIVE BACK – Educate your friends, neighbors, kids, teachers, and community on the value of conserving resources!

IMPORTANT COURSE ELEMENTS

  • After the completion of the course, we require that you volunteer 40 hours of your time using the skills that you learned in the class to promote sustainability in your communities. Volunteering can be completed with the Office of Sustainability, with a third-party organization, or with a DIY creative project. All volunteering must be completed in San Mateo County within one year of course completion.
  • For those participants that attend and complete at least seven out of eight of the course’s classes, you will each get a “goodie bag” full of fun and useful resource conserving tools that you can use at home and at work, as a congratulatory gift for successfully completing the course!

  • Once you complete both the course and the required volunteer hours, you will receive a certificate of completion as recognition of your commitment to sustainability and your community.
  • You must be 14 years or older to attend the classes.
  • Priority will be given to San Mateo County community members, specifically those who live, work and go to school in San Mateo County.
  • If you need ADA accommodations, please contact us at least five (5) business days prior to the first class you will be attending.

COURSE INSTRUCTORS

The course will be led by Laura McKaughan with Envirolutions Consulting with guest speakers, Jessica Coe with Cascadia and other experts in the industry.

COURSE SCHEDULE

February 8th – March 29th, 2018
Thursdays, 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Exact dates of the classes in beginning 2018 are Thursdays: 2/8, 2/15, 2/22, 3/1, 3/8, 3/15, 3/22, and 3/29/2018.

COURSE VENUE

455 County Center, Room 405, 4th Floor, Redwood City, CA

INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING IN THIS MASTER COURSE?

Please fill out and submit an online application. The Academy’s Coordinator will contact you soon after reviewing your application and eligibility for the course. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MasterRCCourse2018


Sustainability Workshops

The Sustainability Academy’s half-day workshops offer our San Mateo County community members (e.g., residents, folks who work in the County, and students with hands-on learning experience on select subject matters relating to sustainability that they can take back and practice at home and at work.

The Academy is offering multiple workshops this current program year:

Fixit Clinic
Home Compost Workshops
How to Grow and Use Herbs at Home
Going Solar at Home and Volunteer Solar Installation Workshops

Priority to attend the workshops will be given to San Mateo County community members, specifically those who live, work and go to school in San Mateo County. If you need ADA accommodations, please contact us five (5) business days prior to the first class you will be attending.

This educational program is made available through the County of San Mateo.

Fixit Clinic: Bike Edition

Sunday, May 6th, 2018
1:00 am – 4:00 pm
Belmont Public Library, 1110 Alameda de Las Pulgas

Get your bike ready for Bike Month in May! Join us for a hands-on bike-themed Fixit Clinic where REI bike technicians and Fixit Coaches can help you assess and troubleshoot broken bicycles, electronics, appliances, toys, fabric items, etc. Learn skills to prolong the life of your belongings and reduce waste.

Fixit Clinics are community-based workshops where neighbors, friends, and families work collectively to learn how to repair broken items. We’ll provide a workspace, specialty tools, small bike parts, REI bike technicians, and volunteer Fixit Coaches to help you troubleshoot and provide routine maintenance to your bike!

What to bring? Bikes for repair and/or maintenance, broken electronics, small household appliances, toys, fabric items, etc.

Register to attend: http://goo.gl/qTzh9J

Register to be a Fixit Coach: http://goo.gl/xS1MRK
Interested in being a Fixit Coach? It’s easy! Provide participants with 1) guidance on tools and 2) encouragement to investigate their broken item. Let them talk about how they used it and how it broke. That often provides valuable hints as to what’s wrong. See how much you can do without actually handling the item. Empower the item’s owner to do the troubleshooting and disassembly. Technical or mechanical expertise not necessary

May is National Bike Month, so bring your bike to the Fixit Clinic to get your wheels riding smoothly! 
May 9th, 2018: Bike to School Day
May 10th, 2018: Bike to Work Day


This event is hosted in partnership between the County of San Mateo’s Office of Sustainability, REI San Carlos, and Fixit Clinic.

Home Compost Workshops

Learn how easy and fun it is to recycle your fruit and vegetable scraps, leaves, and plant cuttings into compost in this no-cost workshop! Compost provides valuable nutrients for your garden soil, helps retain moisture, which saves water, prevents erosion, loosens clay and compacted soils for better drainage, and suppresses weeds. It is rewarding to know you are turning what some consider waste into precious organic material for your garden.

Date:  Saturday, April 21st, 2018
Time: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Venue: South San Francisco Scavenger Company, 500 East Jamie Court, South San Francisco
Register here

Date:  Saturday, May 19th, 2018
Time: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Venue: Belmont Public Library, 1110 Alameda de las Pulgas, Belmont
Register here

Date: Saturday, June 23rd, 2018
Time: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Venue: HEAL Project Farm, 500 Bridgepoint Dr., Half Moon Bay
Register here

How to Grow and Use Herbs at Home

Date: June 2, 2018
Time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Venue: Collective Roots, 1785 Woodland Ave, East Palo Alto, CA
Register here

This 3-hour, hands-on workshop will comprehensively lead community members to be able to grow, harvest and store herbal plants for culinary, household, and body care use. This workshop is additionally dedicated to sustainability and conservation. We will cover how households can grow their own herbs using reuse materials, natural compost and water conservation practices, making it fun, affordable and successful. Snacks and refreshments will be provided. This workshop is hosted in partnership with Collective Roots, Fresh Approach, and the San Mateo County Office of Sustainability.

Going Solar and Volunteer Solar Installation Workshops

Going Solar at Home

Learn about solar photovoltaic (PV) for your home. Understand the basics of solar PV, the economics benefits of going solar, the options you have and purchasing tips. Special focus will be on home owners with low electric bills averaging under $100/month.

Date: July 14th, 2018
Time: 9:00 – 12:00 PM
Venue: Room 202, Building 6, Skyline College, San Bruno CA
Register here

Volunteer Solar Installation Training

SunWork volunteers participate in an orientation session training them in the basics of solar, electricity, and construction. Afterwards, you are eligible to volunteer for solar installations, working together with SunWork’s small staff, attaching racking, running conduit, hanging inverters, and mounting the solar panels. Everything that make a system tick.

This orientation session is indoors in a class room setting.

Date: July 14th, 2018
Time: 12:30 – 2 PM
Venue: Room 202, Building 6, Skyline College, San Bruno CA
Register here

 


Exploring Sustainability Webinars

The Sustainability Academy’s webinars provide participants in San Mateo County with a general knowledge and practical skills for conserving resources in your home and work and promoting sustainability in your communities. Please check back for additional information for upcoming webinars in the near future.

2018 Webinar Schedule:


Virtual Tour of an Energy Efficient Smart Home
January 24th, 2018, 12:00 – 1:00 pm
This Virtual Home Tour will introduce you to trending smart home technologies, clean energy options, and complementary rebate and financing programs that San Mateo County residents can utilize to maximize their home’s performance, save energy, lower utility bills, and increase home comfort and indoor air quality.
Register here:
http://bit.ly/2kcbYGM


Composting Made Easy
February 28th, 2018, 12:00 – 1:00 pm
This webinar will focus on the overall benefits of composting for reducing solid waste that ends up in landfills, for protecting the environment, and for improving soil health. Additionally, the webinar will highlight some very simple steps for how San Mateo County residents can conveniently compost at their home or apartment.
Register here:http://bit.ly/2iF16B0


Water Conservation 101
March 28th, 2018, 12:00 – 1:00 pm
Is CA still in a drought? Why is it important to still conserve water? This webinar will debunk myths about California’s current water conditions, present information on exciting new practices and technologies that make water conservation easier than ever, and show you where to find local water conservation rebates and programs that you can tap into.
Register here:
http://bit.ly/2kFeCJf

Questions?

Contact our Sustainability Academy Coordinator, Avana Andrade at aandrade@smcgov.org or (650) 599-1459


Videos