Last week I traveled to Pittsburgh for the Green Schools Conference and Expo. The event brought together green schools thought leaders and champions, including educators, school administrators and elected officials. Not sure what a green school is? Simply put, it's a healthy environment conducive to learning, which also saves energy, resources and money. At USGBC we believe that we can make a tremendous impact on student health and learning, school operational costs and the environment—all through green schools.
When the event was over on Friday, Michael and the boys drove up to meet me, and we spent the weekend exploring Pittsburgh. I didn’t know much about the city, but as it turned out, I was pleasantly surprised. Nestled between hills and intersected by rivers, the charming city has hundreds of bridges, and it is sometimes said to be the city with the most bridges in the world. On Friday night we visited the Andy Warhol Museum. My favorite collection was the work Warhol created with diamond dust; it's sparkly, bold and subtle, all at once. On Saturday we spent the morning at the LEED-certified Children’s Museum. It was packed with children and parents, and the engaging exhibits offered a unique play experience for Ryan. After the museum we walked through the Strip District—and wow, do the people of Pittsburgh love their Steelers. I was amazed by the amount of paraphernalia that was being sold on the streets. After lunch at the Primanti Bros., we headed to the Monongahela Incline, which is a small, historic railway that takes passengers up and down Mount Washington. At the top of the mountain we saw impressive views of the city and the surrounding areas. On Sunday morning, we wrapped up our weekend at the incredible Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. The Spring Flower Show was on display, and as we walked through the greenhouses, we discovered the masterpieces of Van Gogh, Monet and Cassatt brought to life. It's also worth mentioning that Phipps has completed a number of admirable building projects in an effort to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
As we were exploring Phipps, I noticed this message that I'll leave you with today: “Each and every one of us is a part of something much bigger then ourselves. As we open up to these connections we not only begin to better understand our place in nature, and how our daily actions impact pressing environmental issues like climate change, but we also become empowered to make a difference, ensuring that all life can thrive in unity.”