Northshore Magazine

Northshore September 2015

Northshore magazine showcases the best that the North Shore of Boston, MA has to offer.

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48 | SEPTEMBER 2015 BY KILEY JACQUES Change is Simple makes learning about environmental health fun for elementary school students. Science Lesson Lauren and Patrick Belmonte are shaping young minds. By sharing simple solutions to global issues, they are lighting the way to envi- ronmental stewardship. Lauren, an environmental scientist and certi- fied sustainability manager, and Patrick, COO of Change is Simple— the science-based program the two created over four years ago—are introducing North Shore students to complex ideas, one fun-filled step at a time. "We really get the kids invested in learning about the natural world, and understanding why it's important to learn about it," says Lauren, who came to this work after feeling disgruntled as an envi- ronmental consultant in the private sector, where colleagues didn't al- ways practice what they preached, which is just what Change is Simple aims to do. She was also alarmed to discover that most elementary school curricula are devoid of sci- ence subjects. "In addition to the lack of science in the schools, there was really no talk of environmental science," notes Lauren. So came the birth of Change is Simple. "Ultimately our message is about how every student can impact the environment, positively or nega- tively, and how the environment connects to their own health," explains Lauren. What began as a single program photographs by Elise Sinagra Lauren and Patrick Belmonte founded Change is Simple. for fourth graders in North Beverly Elementary School has blossomed into a full curriculum with dozens of lessons fit for grades two through six. "The response was incredible," says Lauren. "The teachers were asking: 'What else do you have? What more can we do? When can we see you next?'" The initial program was about waste. "We chose it as a topic be- cause it is so tangible for kids—they can touch it, they can smell it, they produce it every day." They focused on the importance of reduction and gave the children ideas for how to change their daily habits; for instance, thinking about how to FAC ES

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