2019 marked an excellent year for Fresh Air for Kids and we couldn’t be more proud!
This fall, 147 students and 8 teaching staff across three schools in Hamilton participated in Fresh Air for Kids to learn all about air quality and what we can do to help #sparetheair! Together we gathered baseline idling data at pick-up time, then workshopped ideas with the students to help get people to break this habit. From key fobs to posters, t-shirts to stickers, morning announcements to sculptures, our Fresh Air for Kids champions rallied their communities to deliver Anti-Idling Campaigns at Strathcona, Bennetto, and Allan A. Greenleaf Elementary Schools. Way to go! After the campaigns, we collected follow-up data to see if our efforts had an impact… however, all of a sudden, winter was here! Although we noticed a 16% increase in idlers after the campaigns, the average outdoor temperature dropped from +11 to -4 degrees Celsius. That’s a significant difference!
So what can we do to stay warm in the winter on those chilly mornings and afternoons? Our cars actually run the most inefficiently while idling, especially in cold weather. In fact, the best way to warm up your car in the winter is to drive it. Modern, computer-controlled engines take less than a couple of minutes to warm up, but the wheel bearings, tires, and suspension system will only warm up while in motion. Try using a block heater on cold winter days! Even at -20, this device, which warms the coolant, can improve fuel economy as much as 10%.
Layering up clothes, wearing a hat, mitts, and winter boots, filling a reusable mug with a hot drink for the road, or even a car blanket can help keep you warm, particularly during those first couple minutes in the car. One student at Strathcona made her parents a beautiful quilt as a reminder to stop idling and to keep her warm in the car on those cold winter days. Even better, choosing to carpool or using public transit will take more vehicles off the roads, saving the atmosphere and sensitive lungs from tail-pipe pollutants and particulate matter from the wear and tear of tire and brake pads.
Check out the pictures below to see some of the amazing work students did this year! And remember, Hamilton is an Idle-Free City! (Bi-law #07-160)
Thank you to our Technical Partners: Dr. Denis Corr of Corr Research and Air Quality Scientists at the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks; and to our Funding Partners: Clean Air Hamilton and the Ontario Trillium Foundation for your ongoing support!
Want to do your own part in caring for our air? Join us by taking the Fresh Air for Kids Family Pledge at home! Whether you choose to walk or roll to work or school, carpool with friends, take the bus, or plant a tree, together we can all do our part to help Spare the Air!
Share an image of your pledge on social media with the hashtag, #freshairforkids
To learn more or bring Fresh Air for Kids to your school, visit: www.greenventure.ca/fresh-air-for-kids