CAPCOG has partnered with the Clean Air Force and Austin FC|Atlas to provide classrooms with air quality monitors to help educate students about the environment while also collecting data on particulate matter (PM) in the region. The Be Air Smart, Air Quality Sensor Program was created by the Clean Air Force and partially funded by Austin FC|Atlas; CAPCOG’s Air Quality Program is supporting its implementation by helping purchase monitors, conducting outreach and education, and providing technical assistance.
“This program empowers children, one of the most sensitive groups to air pollution, with tools to better learn about science through observation by using a real-time PM monitor to track air quality conditions and learn about their impacts,” said Antwon Burkhaulter, CAPCOG Air Quality Program specialist.
The program provides youth educational organizations, such as schools, libraries, daycares, and after school programs, in the Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown Metropolitan Statistical Area with a PM air quality monitor that shows real-time concentrations of the pollution. It also provides an educational lesson plan prepared by the Clean Air Force about understanding air quality and using data from the sensors. The lesson plan conforms to Common Core and Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills curriculum. Teachers participating in the Be Air Smart program are encouraged to create other projects related to studying PM levels over time that show how to determine if PM levels are improving or deteriorating.
CAPCOG is enrolling interested intuitions into the program and helping them install the monitors. It also will use the data from the monitors to understand how PM is generated, moves across, and impacts the region. The data will be included in the region’s annual air quality analysis. Thirteen schools are already participating. Others can apply at aircentraltexas.org/en/be-air-smart.