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SustainaFest and AACo. STEM Film-day

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Film director, Andrew Hinton, video chats with students at AACo. STEM film day

SustainaFest joined nearly 700 students from four Anne Arundel County schools at South River High School last week to kick-off a year-long program on sustainability and social innovation. This partnership with students enrolled in the STEM and BioMedical/Allied Health magnet programs is the largest interschool collaboration led by SustainaFest to date. Students from South River, Glen Burnie, and North County High Schools, as well as Lindale Middle, gathered in the South River auditorium for a day of riveting films, enlightening guest speakers, and  group discussion centered around a theme of individual and community action for a more sustainable world. George Chmael, CEO of Council Fire and SustainaFest founder, addressed the students after a showing of Not Business as Usual, a documentary that looks at a new class of entrepreneurs with the mission of using business as a force for good. The conversation highlighted the social change aspirations of the millennial generation and the growing B Corporation movement. Building upon these concepts, the students watched Tashi and the Monk, an award winning film that chronicles the efforts of a former monk, Lobsang Phuntsok, who started a school and community for orphaned or abandoned children in the Indian Himalayas. The inspiring story showcases the power of the individual that decides to give themselves to the service of others. Film director, Andrew Hinton was beamed in via video call to talk about his experience and answer a barrage of questions from the students.

The inaugural film-day was just the beginning for this partnership. SustainaFest will continue to engage the students through guest speakers, classroom activities and film during their Project-based Learning courses throughout the year.

SustainaFest to Sell Student-Built Tiny House for $100 & a Few Thoughtful Words!

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Annapolis, MD – SustainaFest announces the Tiny House Essay Contest, which will make one person’s dream of sustainable living come true.  The winner will assume ownership of a 210-square-foot, hyper-efficient, off-grid home built by Maryland middle and high school students.

Contestants are required to submit $100 and an essay of 350 words or less answering the question, “What are your keys to living a sustainable lifestyle and how would owning the SustainaFest Tiny House help you realize your dream of living that lifestyle?” Submissions must be entered by June 1 and will be evaluated by a panel of academics and celebrity judges. A winner will be announced by June 15.

In 2014, sustainability experts and students from around Maryland engaged in a month-long exploration through SustainaFest’s Student Sustainability Lab.  “The program provided a life-changing opportunity for students, educators, professionals and military veterans to combine forces and build this tiny house – a fully habitable, hi-tech, mobile dwelling,” stated George Chmael, Director of SustainaFest.Since construction was completed, the awarding-winning tiny house, a Minim Homes model, has been on a statewide tour of home shows, green expos, schools and other events to promote SustainaFest and serve as an ambassador for sustainability.

“We now want to share the wonder of this construction marvel with a deserving recipient and spread the word about making more sustainable lifestyle choices,” explained Chmael. “This thought-provoking contest is a far superior alternative to selling to the highest bidder and makes home ownership attainable for one fortunate person regardless of the size of their bank account.”

SustainaFest has now designed its own tiny house models, with an eye towards addressing the challenges faced by our community’s most needy members, including the homeless and struggling military veterans. The organization will continue to build houses with students in 2015 and beyond.  All proceeds from the contest will support these efforts. To learn more about SustainaFest, including complete contest rules and how to submit your essay, please visit www.sustainafest.org or email us at info@sustainafest.org.

View the Complete Press Release Here

Would You Like to Build a Tiny House?

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If you are interested in participating in an amazing eco opportunity to work alongside building experts, Indian Creek School teachers, and the sustainability leaders from SustainaFest to take on the unique and exciting challenge of building a mobile high-tech, hyper-efficient and sustainable “Tiny House” then you should enroll in the Indian Creek School Tiny House Project. This SustainaFest model is a 210 square foot, off-grid construction marvel that demonstrates the latest in sustainable building materials and green technology including solar electricity, rainwater filtration, and innovative interior design to maximize space and efficiency. The project will run from June 15-July 17 and you can participate in one, two, three, or even all five weeks of the building project. The finished house will be donated to a homeless prevention and support shelter.

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Click to Register!

Indian Creek School’s Tiny House Project will run June 15-July 17, 2015
Students entering Seventh-Ninth Grades in the fall of 2015
Cost: $250/week
Lower and Middle School Campus, 680 Evergreen Road, Crownsville, Maryland 21032

Visit www.indiancreekschool.org to learn about this and other Summer Programs

Students Learn Sustainability and Real Life Experiences at SustainaFest

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When a festival rolled into their Crownsville campus on Oct. 24 and 25, there was surely fun to be had by the students of Indian Creek School.

But the films, speakers and exhibits offered a greater impact than a good time. In fact, it was designed to help the students understand the idea of the lasting impact they can leave on the planet. And how that impact could be beneficial or detrimental.

Founded two years ago by George Chmael, SustainaFest already has created a buzz. Last year, it toured two schools. This year, 13 schools are participating.

Read more by Susan Downey at: Capital Gazette

Students, Veterans, Green Builders & Educators Join Forces

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Annapolis, MD – From July 7th – 25th this summer, 50+ middle and high school students from Annapolis, Baltimore and surrounding areas will join forces with military veterans, building experts, educators and the sustainability leaders from SustainaFest to take on the unique and exciting challenge of building a mobile, hi-tech, hyper- efficient, and sustainable “Tiny House”. This 210 square foot, off-grid construction marvel will demonstrate the latest in sustainable building materials and green technology including solar electricity, rainwater filtration, and innovative interior design to maximize space and efficiency. The project will take place over three weeks at The Key School in Annapolis as part of its Summer Camp program. A few slots remain for students in Grade 6 and up to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. After completion, the house will be brought to schools, festivals and events to showcase sustainable shelter and promote SustainaFest’s Student Sustainability Lab program.

Read Press Release 

Join Us at Mountainfilm in May

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A taste of the Mountainfilm experience!

Once again, members of the SustainaFest team will be traveling to Telluride, Colorado to join our world-class creative partners at Mountainfilm as they conduct their 36th annual film festival. While there, we will preview films for our events and connect with filmmakers and other leaders who will later join us in our Lab programming and festivals. Running from May 23 – 26, 2014, there is simply no better way to spend Memorial Day weekend!

Started in 1979, Mountainfilm in Telluride is one of America’s longest-running film festivals. Through the years, the Mountainfilm in Telluride Festival has always been best described by one unchanging word: inspiring. Far more than any other adjective, that’s how festival audiences describe their experience. In addition to screening leading independent documentary films from around the world, the festival includes a full-day symposium on a critical contemporary issue, art and photography exhibits, early morning coffee talks, a book signing party, an ice cream social, student programs and a closing picnic/awards ceremony. Presentations and panels are scheduled throughout the event with a wide diversity of special guests, ranging from artists to adventurers and academics to activists.

Attending Mountainfilm is a great way to become involved with SustainaFest and our movement.

SustainaFest Granted Federal Nonprofit Status

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SustainaFest is proud to announce that we are now officially a public educational charity with tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code. Donations are fully tax-deductible and retroactive to our filing on June 5, 2012. With greater access to resources, we will be expanding our ability to serve students and the general public in the Chesapeake region and beyond.