Cooler Communities Update Spring 2024

As we bring another Cooler Communities school event season to a close, we would like to express deep appreciation for all those who made such incredible learning and celebrations possible. We are very excited to share all of the amazing work the students, schools, and towns have done in an effort to create a more sustainable world for all.

With Canadian wildfires, record high temperatures around the world, and many other daunting natural events that have happened so far this year, we would like to take this moment to emphasize connectedness. Together, we will discover and innovate solutions to our ongoing climate crisis, whether that be remediation or prevention. We often find strength and inspiration by watching all the amazing work that climate activists are doing around the world. And at the forefront of this movement are passionate young people eager to do what they can to change this world for the better. We, Cooler Communities, are grateful to give a platform to such engaged and inspirational students across Massachusetts. Take a look at our yearly highlights below.

“For most of history, man has had to fight nature to survive; in this century he is beginning to realize that, in order to survive, he must protect it.”

—Jacques-Yves Cousteau.

In this post, you will find:

  • Town highlights from the 2022/2023 Cooler Communities Program
  • An Action Item that will help you save energy this summer
  • A spotlight on a young environmental activist


In Springfield, we piloted an enrichment course at Kiley Middle School, held an event at the Springfield Museums involving teachers and students across the city, we spread the word about our program to community members at the Earth Day event at the Springfield Museums, and participated in the Susainathon at STCC. If you live in Springfield, you can still help lower the community’s carbon footprint and support the students by taking a pledge!


Agawam has completed its third run of the Cooler Communities program, this time at the Roberta Doering Middle School. The event featured artful superhero projects around energy efficiency, robots from the robotic club, and energy efficient model buildings. If you live in Agawam, please help lower the community’s carbon footprint and support the students by taking a pledge!



Middleborough ran a remarkable Cooler Middleborough event that featured an inflatable whale and many fascinating displays and kids activities by NECWA, a local non-profit protecting ocean life.  Students tallied visitors pledges and calculated the pounds of CO2 saved, then measured them in the weight of whales!



Hatfield ran its first ever Cooler Communities program on May 4th, 2023. This event, organized in close collaboration with the town’s resilience planning committee, featured student projects on climate change, artistic displays, and a musical performance from climate rapper, Tem Blessed. If you live in Hatfield, you can help lower the community’s carbon footprint and support the students by taking a pledge!



Framingham’s 2nd Cooler Communities program featured student projects from 4 schools in Framingham with topics ranging from composting to the waste of fast fashion to marine life pollution. There were also lots of opportunities for residents to take action. You can help lower the community’s carbon footprint and support the students by taking a pledge!


Greater Commonwealth Virtual School

GCVS’ second Cooler Communities event featured even more in depth projects around environmental issues and solutions. Students made PSA websites and shared their work virtually while celebrating their learning with the entire school. You are welcome to help lower the community’s carbon footprint and support the students by taking a pledge!



West Springfield

West Springfield’s event highlighted a “Greener Westside” featuring energy efficient future landscape displays and other projects emphasizing solutions to environmental issues. If you live in West Springfield, you can still help lower the community’s carbon footprint and support the students by taking a pledge! 





In Sherborn, high school students led intergenerational climate conversations. The middle school students participated in a river cleanup and are currently building a water capturing system for their community garden. This was done in addition to climate related projects displayed at a community event.


For more on our events this year, please visit our website here and Facebook.

Action Item: Save Energy This Summer!

It’s time for cleaner, quieter lawn equipment! You can lower your carbon footprint by swapping out your gasoline powered lawn equipment with electric, battery powered ones. They reduce noise pollution too!  Mass Save is here to help you make the switch. Check out their deals here.



People across the globe are finding innovative solutions to address our excess waste. In this particular inspiring instance, 12 year old Alyssa Faith Fallorina Dean has collected chip bags and turned them into blankets. She donates them, along with other toiletries, to organizations that support the homeless in Wales, England and as far away as Ukraine. Read more about it here.











Cooler Communities Fall Newsletter 2021

Summer has officially ended and was truly one for the records.  Droughts, wildfires, dangerous heat indices, hurricanes, and floods – many of them destructive and deadly.  While none of us want to dwell on these scary issues, we must keep the implications in mind as we navigate this school year.  Together we can help our students, as well as their families and communities, learn and work toward climate change resilience, adaptation, and solutions.

We at Cooler Communities continue to participate in these efforts. Despite the pandemic, we held five virtual events during the 2020-21 school year.  Kudos to all students, teachers, volunteers and administrators in Agawam, Springfield High Schools, Sherborn, Pittsfield, and Greenfield that came through in such a big way. We are applying what we learned in this virtual world to our planning for the 2021-2022 school year and look forward to running our program in eight to ten school districts, expanding our footprint throughout the state and doubling the number of events held last year.  And we’ll continue to share our information and experiences with you. In this newsletter issue we highlight:

  • Western Mass Youth Climate Summit
  • A recent high school graduate’s creation of the CC Student Playbook
  • What to do with seasonal leaf collections
  • Time sensitive events and programs for teachers and students

We wish you all a safe and successful school year!


Cooler Communities Newsletter Summer 2021

Dear Friends of Cooler Communities,

We all made it. Summer is here and gifted with inviting weather (at times!) and nature’s bounty we hope you all get a chance to relax, breathe in the scent of flowers, of moss or of something delicious on the grill, and re-charge your batteries. Especially for those of you who are working or learning in schools, we wish you a deeply restful and rejuvenating break and a much more predictable year ahead. 

We too are taking a break, wrapping up four wonderfully inspiring Cooler Communities events in SpringfieldAgawamGreenfield and Sherborn, our first venture in “the East.” From over 1500 students participating in Springfield and Agawam to a small group of High Schoolers at the Greenfield High School Environmental Club, all participants worked very, very hard to not lose sight of climate change and climate solutions during a very difficult school year. It’s that kind of commitment, focus and creativity that makes this program so rewarding!

And of course our sights are set on next year’s programs. We will be working with even more towns and will hopefully be able to include in-person events again!

Still Going Strong

Michelle Foley's Contribution to the Art ShowYes, Covid has slowed down the people working on Cooler Communities in 7 Berkshire and Pioneer Valley communities – but it’s not stopped them! Have a look at the first virtual Cooler Communities event, set up in partnership with Berkshire Museum and the team organizing the yearly Berkshire Earth Expo.

Close to 30 students participated both in an extraordinary art show as well as other projects, presented in podcasts, from research on the anti-fungal properties of local honey to songs composed in honor of the earth and those protecting her. Other students demonstrated hands-on activities that reduce waste and plastic use – great things to do while at home due to COVID.

For this virtual and regional event, we awarded small grants to the individual projects, rather than one large grant to a specific district. Some of the students were homeschooled, some came from private and others from public schools.

Over 600 people visited the pages related to the event, many of these going to the art show.

And as far as the actions related to students’ work is concerned – we worked with MassEnergize on this platform to which we invited visitors to the Expo to take or pledge action. This aspect of our program still needs improvement, and you can help by visiting the page and adding your own actions. Start here!

Earth Day Ecochallenge

We hope that you are healthy and able to navigate these very trying times surrounded by care and support.

Five towns had scheduled Cooler Communities events or projects for this spring: Springfield, Hadley, Northampton, West-Springfield and Pittsfield in the Berkshires. A lot of wonderful work went into these projects already, and much of it done by student leaders. All events will be re-scheduled for the fall or next spring.

While we are staying safe and at a physical distance from others, we also want to honor the 50th anniversary of Earth Day this April. Our team has joined the Ecochallenge. We are pledging and taking action, along with thousands of people across the country, to help and heal the earth. From saving water to advocating for climate legislation, from planting healthy gardens to installing energy-saving appliances, you can choose from existing actions or create your own. You can join us here and invite your friends and family as well.