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Ogmius Newsletter

Green Suits in Action: Students Photographing Sustainability in Boulder Valley School District

by Beth Osnes

Green Suits BVSD is a participatory photography project in which Boulder Vally School District students donned green suits to be photographed enacting sustainable practices associated with food, energy, waste, transportation, or nature. This was inspired by an Inside the Greenhouse project I began in 2016 while touring a show in Europe in conjunction with the Rockefeller Foundation 100 Resilient Cities Initiative. In London I first had the idea to wear a green suit outside near the Thames to make literal the greening of the city and to document that through photography. Next, I tucked my green suit in my backpack and donned it for a photograph in Paris near the Eiffel Tower and in Barcelona at the Gaudi museum. Not only was it fun, but it prompted unlikely conversations about environmental issues. I continued to gather photos by myself and others and have curated them into a Green Cities collection hosted on the Inside the Greenhouse website.

During the fall semester of 2018, six BVSD secondary schools participated in this Green Suits BVSD project created through a partnership between BVSD Office of Sustainability, EcoArts Connections, the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) Center for Science Education, and Inside the Greenhouse-CU. Participating students photographed scenes of sustainability in action including one or more students dressed in a green suit. Each school selected up to 20 of its students’ best photographs. A jury of local arts, science, and sustainability professionals chose the top photos to be exhibited. The winning photo was chosen by local celebrated photographer, James Balog. On April 6, there was a reception and awards ceremony honoring youth and teacher participants in an exhibit of photographs from Boulder, Centaurus, Fairview, and Monarch High Schools and Casey and Manhattan Middle Schools. The photos will be exhibited for six months at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR): 1850 Table Mesa Drive, Boulder, CO.

Beth OsnesBeth Osnes
CSTPR Faculty Affiliate and Associate Professor of Theatre and Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado