Whole systems, Integrated Site design for Education (WISE) Website: An Interactive Website for Educators and Students

EPA Grant Number: SU832489
Title: Whole systems, Integrated Site design for Education (WISE) Website: An Interactive Website for Educators and Students
Investigators: Parajuli, Pramod , Guthrie, Michelle , Kuen, Candy Lai , Lans, Kristen
Current Investigators: Parajuli, Pramod , Guthrie, Michelle , Hemenway, Toby , Lans, Kristen
Institution: Portland State University
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: September 1, 2005 through August 30, 2006
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2005) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Energy , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability


Technical Challenge to Sustainability: Students who engage with their environment develop values that promote sustainability and perform better on standardized tests [1]. While there are many websites that focus on sustainability education and students, there is no interactive site that employs web-based technology with actual sustainable school site design.

Innovative Design Approach: WISE will be an interactive website for 4th to 8th grade educators and students in Portland Public Schools (PPS) that effectively conveys the principles of whole systems design. Guided by the WISE owl (Appendix I) students learn whole systems principles by: (i) investigating their school and grounds to identify natural resources (i.e., stormwater); (ii) returning to the website to create site-specific maps (downspout locations); and (iii) using a chart to analyze the appropriate technologies for their resources (native plant bioswale). Detailed information about these technologies and their implementation on the school sites will be delivered in the following six dimensions of sustainable design: (i) Energy Sources, (ii) Garden and Food Systems, (iii) Built Elements, (iv) Restoring Native Habitat, (v) Resource Saving Technology, and (vi) Animals. (Appendix II)

Relationship to P3: (i) People - 14,406 multicultural students in PPS [2] will have access to WISE enabling them to become future environmental leaders while meeting state educational benchmark requirements. Not only will students graduate from middle school they will graduate systems-WISE, ecology-WISE, resource-WISE, cooperation-WISE. (ii) Prosperity - learning the principles of whole systems prepares students to understand the interrelated spheres of social, economic and cultural capital. (iii) Planet - through creating more with fewer resources, students will learn they are part of connecting natural systems.

Results, Evaluation and Implementation: The anticipated result is creation of an effective website that is appropriate to each school, relevant as an educational tool, and teaches principles of sustainable systems design. Quantitative and qualitative evaluation will be conducted by community partners and PPS students. In year two of funding, WISE will be used in an 8th grade site design competition.

P3 Concepts as an Educational Tool: PSU's Interdisciplinary Graduate Program PIIECL will ensure the continued effect of the WISE project on people, prosperity, and the planet by disseminating the findings of this study (i) within the PSU teacher and student community, (ii) within the public education system in Oregon, and (iii) as a model for educators internationally.

Supplemental Keywords:

water, soil, land, ecological effects, human health, children, ecosystem, restoration, life cycle analysis, sustainable development, waste reduction, surveys, Northwest,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, TREATMENT/CONTROL, Sustainable Industry/Business, POLLUTION PREVENTION, Sustainable Environment, Energy, Technology, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Technical Assistance, Ecology and Ecosystems, environmental accounting, sustainable development, clean technologies, green design, computer models, education, decision making, environmental sustainability, ecological design, alternative materials, design optimization, interactive web-based education, energy efficiency, computer generated alternatives, environmentally friendly green products, collaborative urban planning, ecosystem assessment tool, Design for Environment, technology transfer, environmental education, sustainable design suite

Relevant Websites:

Phase 2 Abstract

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report
  • P3 Phase II:

    WISE Website – Whole Systems Integrated Sustainable Design for Education: An Interactive Website for Educators and Students