Posted by Bob Wicks on Dec 05, 2021
At this week’s regular Rotary club meeting, well-known Ipswich High School teacher Lori LaFrance introduced several of her students who are organizing an environmental project focused on electric car charging.  The project, which has the support of the Superintendent of Schools, would add a charging station in the school parking lot on the High Street side. 
The poised and well prepared students explained how they researched and planned this project, and added that they are close to presenting it to the School Committee.  The current estimate for the installation is about $10,000, plus underground wiring.  The students plan to pay for the project by reaching out to local businesses and the community.  PDG Joan Arsenault encouraged the club to look into a District Grant to assist the funding.  The hope is that the installation can be completed in the Spring of 2022.  

Still to be worked out are the fee structure, maintenance details, and reservations procedure.  The plan is to have two charging stations that will be available by reservation only.  Due to its location, daytime priority would be given to faculty and students during the school year.  The public would be invited to make reservations after school hours and on weekends.  Based on their research, the cost to charge is reasonable, about 5-10 hours for a typical all electric vehicle at an estimated rate of 30 cents per hour.  
Ms. LaFrance is both a respected teacher and a well-known environmental advocate.  During her 15 years at Ipswich High School, she has taught her students both to appreciate our environment and to take action that improves and sustains it.  In 2015, Lori was recognized by Mass Audubon as the ‘Massachusetts Conservation Teacher of the Year’.  And just recently, she received a ‘Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators’ from the EPA.  This award ‘recognizes outstanding kindergarten through grade 12 teachers who employ innovative approaches to environmental education and use the environment as a context for learning for their students’.  Some of this award will help fund local sustainable environmental projects.