Environmental Programs Designed by Valerie Gardner

The following are descriptions of some of the environmental education and engagement programs conceived, developed and implemented by Valerie Gardner between 2005 and 2017.  What is represented here is a sampling of the scope and design work created by Ms. Gardner.

GHREEN (2005)

The Gideon Hausner Recycling & Environmental Education Network (GHREEN), a parent/teacher/student run school activity group

The Gideon Hausner Recycling & Environmental Education Network was founded and managed by Valerie Gardner in 2005 to engage students and parents in the elementary/middle school in learning more about their environmental impacts.  GHREEN developed a number of programs for the school community, which instituted recycling of all waste streams at the school, including composting food waste.  GHREEN goals included:

  1. Teach Students More about Environmental Issues in Age-Appropriate Ways. Although many classes currently discuss the environment and touch on various environmental subjects and facts (like the Rainforest, Baylands and loss of animal species), we hope to address the subject of the impact man is having on the environment more broadly and touch on many of the topics that pertain to everyday life, including trash, composting, recycling, closing the recycling loop, water conservation, waste reduction, storm water run-off, local endangered species, and other subjects. Through these weekly topics, we will more directly teach students about how their choices impact the environment.
  2. Reinforce Existing Instincts for Good Earth Stewardship and Provide Opportunities for Students to Solve Problems Themselves. Through various activities and programs (described below) like the environmental bulletins, the Earth Day Celebration, and special contests and awards, students will have opportunities for increasing their understanding and then working together to solve the challenges facing the school and their communities. They will be asked to figure out how to improve on the existing processes—and thus they will have opportunities to think creatively and act pro-actively about addressing some of the problems (and be supported in their endeavors).
  3. Improve the School’s Recycling, Waste & Energy Conservation Performance and Reduce Overall Costs. Starting with an assessment of how the school is performing, we will strive to improve the performance of the school community with respect to its level of recycling, its creation of garbage, and its use of energy, which will bring down the costs of such activities to the community. Rather than merely handing students new rules, however, students will be instrumental in helping to problem solve around each of these areas (with adult guidance). Thus, a major goal is the total overhaul of how we “do” garbage at the school—but the actual design of the new recycling program will come from the students involved in Ghreen, with help from the adults.
  4. Greater Environmental Awareness in School Planning Processes. Bringing environmental awareness to all the school’s planning activities—whether designing the new buildings, adapting curriculum or planning parent coffees, environmental awareness will help produce better results overall and take Hausner from a position being “behind the curve” to one of being “ahead of the curve.”


A series of monthly educational posters designed for the GHREEN program, to provide engaging environmental education in the school’s hallways

These posters and others were designed and printed to provide additional information to students moving around the school to inform and inspire them with broader awareness of environmental issues.

Environmental Programs Committee Website (2006-2012)

Built and hosted the primary website for the Environmental Programs Committee (athertongreen.net), which was a companion site for the AthertonGreen Yahoo Group, the first discussion group for Silicon Valley residents seeking to learn more about environmental issues.


The first Earth Day celebration for Atherton, which included nearly a full week of community events

The Atherton Earth Action Week included:

  1. Recruitment drive for AthertonGreen YahooGroup list where conversations about environment happened
  2. Green Expo Showcase of Environmental Organization and Service Providers
  3. Eco-Fashion Show & Dance (with organic food vendors)
  4. Community Challenge (a full week of daily challenges for residents)
  5. Student Environmental Art Contest (with prizes)
  6. Tesla Prototype Test Drives around the park
  7. Review of Electric and Plugin Hybrid models, with Felix Kramer

GREENStart Community Challenge (2008)


Thinking Green Think Tank (2009)

GREENStart Challenge (2009)

National Conversation on Climate Change (2009)

LiveGREEN Expo (2009)

ATHERTON 2020 (2010)

Earth Action Fair (2015)

Pandora’s Promise Screening (2016)


The New Fire Screening (2018)

A film exploring the state of innovation in 4th generation advanced nuclear

A Climate Conundrum for Jan Pepper (Jan, 2020)

A presentation given to Jan Pepper, president of Peninsula Clean Energy, to encourage PCE to accept the free nuclear power allocation from PG&E.